Brett.Ullman

Category - media

13 Reasons Why… Some thoughts

13 Reasons Why.

The New York Times best seller by young adult novel writer Jay Asher that came out way back in 2007 has sold over 3 million copies to date.

I read this book a few years ago and found it … I find it hard to find the correct word: riveting, eye opening, scary, sad, hopeless and yet necessary in bringing out a conversation we seem to refuse to want to talk about as a culture.

Since reading the book I have heard very little on this topic. No conversation on social media about it. No growth in conversations on the problems of suicide in our culture today. Then suddenly 13 Reasons Why is released on Netflix and presently I have had over 500 messages, emails and conversations from parents all over asking the simple question: “Should I let me kid watch this?” or “Should I watch this with my teenager?”

As a 45 year old I have watched thousands of hours of TV in my life. This would rank as the most powerful show I have ever watched. I have watched countless hours of mindless entertainment in those 45 years and this show WAS different.

It was different because it touched on so many topics: sex, drugs, alcohol, relationships, peer pressure, divorce, bullying, self-harm, isolation, loneliness, disconnection from adults, lack of supports and of course suicide.

If I had to give you a very quick review of this series I would say:


Everything Affects Everything

You are responsible for yourself

You are responsible for your actions

You are responsible when you do nothing

We need to start talking about all the stuff no-one wants to talk about

This show starts us talking….


“You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything.”
― Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

In almost every review I have read comments that this show is triggering. It shows too much for students, glamorizes suicide, over sexualized, too much language, and deals with too many issues. I would say that the show is a great conversation starter for people of all ages. It is raw and tough to watch.  The suicide scene was brutal and one of the hardest things I have ever watched on TV. Maybe the fact is that suicide is brutal for everyone and this scene is meant to bring that home.

I do find it hypocritical that people are upset at some of these topics in this show. I don’t see most people talking about triggering when there is self harm (including suicide) in music videos, TV shows, movies and much of todays music is laced with sex. Yet the scenes in this show are too much? Are teens not triggered daily by just being a teen in our modern day culture?

If we are going to say this is too much for students I don’t seem to see many people offering any better way to talk about these tough issues.

I wonder when is the right time?

What is the right way?

I find that this is one of the first things I have seen that has people (especially teens) talking about suicide amongst other issues. We cannot just go back to ignoring this conversation especially the conversation around suicide.

There is no place that is immune to this.

So here is the tough question.

How do you talk about a tough conversation without triggering people and increasing the risk of a suicide contagion and copycat behaviour?

I think we need to be honest where we presently sit as a society with this conversation. I think people are already triggered by this topic with or without this TV show. Do a quick google search:

Canadian Stats:

  • 22% of teens thought of suicide this year  (Click here for the article)

Myth: Young people rarely think about suicide.
Reality: Teens and suicide are more closely linked than adults might expect. In a survey of 15,000 grade 7 to 12 students in British Columbia, 34% knew of someone who had attempted or died by suicide; 16% had seriously considered suicide; 14% had made a suicide plan; 7% had made an attempt and 2% had required medical attention due to an attempt.
Canadian Mental Health Association (Click here for the article)

U.S. Stats

  • Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24. (2015 CDC WISQARS)
  • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.
  • Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 5,240 attempts by young people grades 7-12.
  • http://jasonfoundation.com/prp/facts/youth-suicide-statistics/

Parents are asking if we should watch this show with our kids but I cannot answer this for you. Will I be watching this with my Grade 9 daughter or my Grade 8 son? If they are interested – Yes. I will also NOT be showing either of them the suicide scene in the last episode. With that being said is this the first conversation I will have had with my children on conversations on these topics … no. These are conversations we have been having for years in our home. If the first time you talk about suicide, mental health issues, sex, drugs, bullying etc is this TV show then I would not suggest watching this show before you have conversations in your home about these tough topics.

You might need to check as a parent and see if they have already watched the show. Many parents who have emailed me have said my kid already watched the show what do I do now. If this is you then I would sit down and talk to them about the show. Ask their thoughts and feelings.

What did they like about the show?
Do they think that the show fairly represented current teen culture in High School?
What did they dislike about the show? If they have watched it I would highly suggest watching the 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons which is on Netflix as well. It is the cast & creators with conversation on all aspects of the movie and why they did the certain scenes like they did.

Be very direct with your kids and let them know that there is nothing in the world that could change how you love them. You want them to know that if they are ever struggling with these topics in this show that you hope they could come and talk to you. And then together you would look at getting supports in place for them (doctors, counselling etc).

I would also suggest you be really careful if your son/daughter is struggling with suicidal thoughts, depression, bullying etc. This show could act (I am not saying will) as something that might make suicide look like a good way out for their struggles they are having. If you were going to watch it I would suggest watching it with them.

If as a parents you are thinking “I have failed in these conversations” you can start having them now. Just to mention some of the main themes in the show again:

  1. Sex
  2. Multiple rape scenes
  3. Drug & Alcohol use and abuse
  4. Dating relationships
  5. Peer pressure
  6. Divorce
  7. Bullying
  8. Self-harm
  9. Isolation
  10. Loneliness
  11. Disconnection from adults
  12. Lack of supports
  13. and of course suicide

These are conversations that you need to be having in your home, school, and church environments.

Are there some things I wish this show had done better. Yes, for sure:

  1. I wish there was more shown on how to help people if they are struggling. What do you actually do if you are struggling (Talk to an adult you trust, medical doctor, counsellor etc) We need to talk about where we can turn for help. In my mental health talk called The Walking Wounded I talk about addressing tough issues like this from 3 fronts: Body (Doctor), Mind(Counsellor), and Soul. Each of these areas can be pursued simultaneously.
  2. They showed such a disconnected youth culture from parents, teachers and other adults. This is not always the case.

    In tone and style, it resembles a more serious, grimmer cousin of Freeform (formerly ABC Family) series like “Pretty Little Liars” and “Twisted.” Like them, it literalizes the idea that teenage life is a mystery, one that adults can’t hope to solve. (New York Times article)

  3. I did not like that they showed the physical scars from people struggling with Self Harm. As someone who speaks on this we do know that this is triggering for people who struggle.
  4. I don’t like the fact that with this story it seems that you can sort of reach out from the grave after suicide and take revenge on people. It did a good job of showing the destruction that suicide leaves with the friends and family who are left after a suicide.
  5. I wish that with all the pain they also showed that there is hope. There is always hope. You might not see it, but that also does not mean it is not there.
  6. I wish they had not been so graphic with the suicide. I think it is unnecessary and is the one major scene that might make people NOT watch a show that could have been for a larger audience if not for the graphic scene. I also realize that the brutality of the suicide was done for a reason to show … to show how brutal suicide is.

In my talks a line I use when speaking about suicide is:


Suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem.


If you are having suicidal thoughts I beg you to do a few things

  1. Go tell an adult immediately. If that adult does not listen then tell another. Get parents and teachers and doctors and counsellors and any other people you trust surrounding you as you walk through these tough times
  2. Hold on.
    Dr. Dan Siegel says “We need to help children understand that the clouds 
of their emotions can (and will) roll on by.”
    What you are going through is a season … and seasons change.
    Please hold on.

In the last episode Clay Jensen (one of the main characters) says “We can all do better.” I agree.
So how can you do better?

I end with the simple summary I gave at the beginning

Everything Affects Everything

You are responsible for yourself

You are responsible for your actions

You are responsible when you do nothing

We need to start talking about all the stuff no-one wants to talk about.

This show starts us talking….

Love to hear what you thought of the TV show if you watched it? Did it help? Did it hurt?
Love to hear your thoughts on this.
Love to hear any great resources for people who are struggling.


13 Reasons Why Official Website
http://www.thirteenreasonswhy.com/

Other articles on 13 Reasons Why:

  1. http://www.altpress.com/news/entry/twlohas_founder_pens_blog_in_response_to_13_reasons_why
  2. https://cpyu.org/2017/04/17/13-reasons-why-looking-for-true-north/
  3. https://cpyu.org/resource/episode-36-13-reasons-why-a-discussion-with-amy-flavin-and-kara-twining/
  4. https://themighty.com/2017/04/should-i-watch-13-reasons-why-review-suicide/
  5. http://www.vox.com/culture/2017/4/18/15275846/13-reasons-why-male-gaze-voyeurism-rape-suicide-contagion
  6. http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/25/health/13-reasons-why-teen-suicide-debate-explainer/index.html
  7. https://www.nasponline.org/
  8. http://www.cmha.ca/news/cmha-national-statement-responding-netflix-series-13-reasons/#.WQPswUFE2Ef
  9. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/30/arts/television/netflix-13-reasons-why-tv-review.html
  10. http://www.pluggedin.ca/tv-reviews/13-reasons-why
  11. http://www.cbc.ca/news/entertainment/13-reasons-why-criticism-1.4091960
  12. http://www.averageyouthministry.com/average-youth-ministry/13-reasons-why-youth-workers-must-be-at-the-top-of-their-game
  13. https://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/Differences-Between-13-Reasons-Why-Book-TV-Show-43404725

Prince William And Lady Gaga FaceTime To Talk About Mental Health

Great article and video. Check it out!

The video — a partnership with Heads Together — shows the prince and singer FaceTiming with each other — he in his study at Kensington Palace, she in her kitchen in Los Angeles — as they discuss the importance of being able to have conversations about mental health, an issue they are both passionate about.

“There’s a lot of shame attached to mental illness. You feel like something it’s wrong with you,” Lady Gaga said to William.

“I should be so happy, but you can’t help it when in the morning you wake up, you are so tired, you are so sad, you are so full of anxiety and the shakes that you can’t barely think,” she continued.

Prince William replied, “It’s OK to have this conversation. It’s really important to have this conversation. You won’t be judged. It’s so important to break open that fear and that taboo which is only gonna lead to more problems down the line.”

Click here for the entire article.

Another article from the Toronto Star can be found here.

Parents and Screentime. . . A Surprising Infographic . . .

So often we as parents are talking to out kids about their time spent on screens while taking little time to examine our own screen time. Great blog from Walt Mueller.

Then, I took the next step. It’s a step that hushes the parental gasps. In case you’re wondering where our kids learn this stuff, we need to look no further than ourselves. Late last year, the folks at Common Sense Media  released the data on parents. . . and it’s 9 hours and 22 minutes.

Click here for the entire blog. This is another blog I would highly challenge parents and youth workers to sign up for. Amazing content sent to your inbox for free each week.

 

Theft is Theft is Theft. No excuses.

Ever have one of those weird conversations?

Last week I am having dinner with my family and the waitress asked if we had a Scene points card (movie rewards). We talked briefly as she scanned my card and she said we could also use the points for food. She then went on to say “Why would you pay for a movie anyway” and explained how she has one of those Android boxes at home and just streams movies for free. She said she just watched Lego Batman (which is still in the theatres) and then went on to talk about how much she loved Fifty Shades Darker (again still in theatres).

It seem everywhere I look I see people getting these Android boxes (and other versions of the same thing). Now people might not like my opinion on this but I want to ask …

When did downright theft become normal?

I have asked people who have these boxes how they justify NOT paying for current movies, TV etc. There responses are all very similar:

  1. People complain about how much the cable companies are making or that they are being forced to pay for channels they don’t want
  2. People tell me that they are not downloading movies (which is illegal in Canada) but streaming them
  3. People tell me that movies are too expensive
  4. People tell me that everyone is doing it
  5. People tell me that they just don’t care

None of these comments change the fact that you are NOT paying for something that people have created.

I love Marvel superhero movies. If you are a Marvel fan you know that if you want until all the credits are completed there will be a small bonus scene. Each time I wait for the end of the credits I am amazed at the hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of people who created the movie I just watched. The job these people have is to do something to support the creation of the movie you just watched.

In a quick search online I found this list (click here for the entire article):

It is a weird expectation that I see many people have today.
They want to see amazing movies with great affects but not pay for it.
They want great music but will not pay for an album or subscribe to a streaming service (Apple Music, Spotify etc)

When we just stream a movie and no money goes back to the people who created the movie what we will start to see is less movies being made. It is the same with music. If everyone just downloads free music and no money goes to the musicians then we can expect to see more artists leaving music. As someone who loves seeing what people create (movies, music, video games etc) I am happy to pay for their services.

We all need to work and make money to support our families.
Why do people in the entertainment industry matter less to us?

Upcoming Tour Dates in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Manitoba

Saskatchewan

Date: Friday, Feb 10th (World Vision Sponsored Event)
Location: Regina Apostolic Church (808 Assiniboine Avenue E. Regina, SK)
Equipping Conference (http://equipping.ca)
Evening Parents night – 7pm (Parents 101)
This evening talk is not part of the Equipping Conference and all Parents are welcome.

Date: Saturday, Feb 11th (World Vision Sponsored Event)
Location: Regina Apostolic Church (808 Assiniboine Avenue E. Regina, SK)
Equipping Conference (http://equipping.ca)
Speaking in the afternoon of the equipping conference (Walking Wounded)

Date: Saturday, Feb 11th/Sunday Feb 12th (World Vision Sponsored Event)
Location: Regina Apostolic Church (808 Assiniboine Avenue E. Regina, SK)
Church Services (all 3) Saturday 7PM, Sunday 9AM & 11AM (Walking Wounded)

Date: Sunday Feb 12th
Location: Cornerstone Christian School (43 Iroquois St. E, Moose Jaw, SK)
7pm (Walking Wounded Talk)

Date: Sunday Feb 12th
Location: Cornerstone Christian School (43 Iroquois St. E, Moose Jaw, SK)
8:45: Students talk on media.faith.culture

New Brunswick

Date: Wednesday, Feb 15th
Location – Grace Church (41 Girouardville Road, Bouctouche, NB)
6:30 (Walking Wounded Talk)

Date: Thursday, Feb 16th
Location – Grace Church (41 Girouardville Road, Bouctouche, NB)
6:30 (media.faith.culture talk)

Date: Friday Feb 17th
Location: The Journey Church (Allison Campus, 1539 Salisbury Road, Moncton, NB)
6:30 media.faith.culture (students and parents)

Date: Sunday Feb 19th (World Vision Sponsored Event)
Location: Smythe Street Catherdral (913 Smythe Street, Fredericton, NB)
Both Sunday Services: 9am and 11am: Walking Wounded Talk

Date: Sunday Feb 19th
Location: The Journey Church (Allison Campus, 1539 Salisbury Road, Moncton, NB)
6:30 (Walking Wounded Talk)

Manitoba

Date: Wednesday, Feb 22nd
Location – Victory Family Church (127 4 Ave NE, Altona, MB)
7:00 (media.faith.culture talk) students and parents

Date: Thursday, Feb 23rd
Location – Grace Mennonite Church (1350 Pembina Avenue, Winkler, MB)
7:00pm (media.faith.culture talk) Parents/Leaders

Date: Friday Feb 24th (World Vision Sponsored Event))
Location: Zion Apostolic Church (305 Machray Avenue, Winnipeg, MB)
Equipping Conference (http://equipping.ca)
Equipping Conference: Evening Parents night – 7pm (Parents 101)
All parents / leaders welcome – no costs.

Date: Saturday, Feb 25th (World Vision Sponsored Event))
Location: Zion Apostolic Church (305 Machray Avenue, Winnipeg, MB)
Equipping Conference (http://equipping.ca)
Speaking in the afternoon of the equipping conference (Walking Wounded talk)

Date: Sunday Feb 26th (World Vision Sponsored Event))
Location: Zion Apostolic Church (305 Machray Avenue, Winnipeg, MB)
Speaking in the afternoon of the equipping conference (Walking Wounded talk)

Date: Sunday Feb 26th
Location: Calvary Temple (400 Hargrave Street, Winnipeg, MB )
media.faith.culture talk 6pm (Buntain Chapel)

If you are around please come out to these events. If you have any questions please just send me an email or a message.

Great Music Video: NF: How Could You Leave Us

Powerful music video. Check it out.

 

“How Could You Leave Us” Lyrics

How could you leave us so unexpected?
We waited, we waited.
For you but you just left us
We needed you, I needed you

Yo, I don’t know what it’s like to be addicted to pills
But I do know what it’s like to be a witness it kills
Mama told me she love me, I’m thinking this isn’t real
I think of you when I get a whiff of that cigarette smell, yeah
Welcome to the bottom of hell
They say pain is a prison, let me out of my cell
You say you proud of me, but you don’t know me that well
Sit in my room, tears running down my face and I yell
Into my pillowcases, you say you coming to get us
Then call a minute later just to tell us you not, I’m humiliated
I’m in a room with a parent that I don’t barely know
Some lady in the corner watching us, while she taking notes
I don’t get it mom, don’t you want to watch your babies grow?
I guess pills are more important, all you have to say is no
But you won’t do it will you? You gon’ keep popping ’til them pills kill you
I know you gone but I can still feel you

Why would you leave us? Why would you leave us here?
How could you leave us here?
How could you leave us? Why would you leave us?
Oh, Hey

I got this picture in my room and it kills me
But I don’t need a picture of my mom, I need the real thing
Now a relationship is something we will never have
Why do I feel like I lost something that I never had?
You shoulda been there when I graduated
Told me you love me and congratulations
Instead you left us at the window waiting
Where you at mom? We’re too young to understand where you at huh?
Yeah, I know those drugs got you held captive
I can see it in your eyes, they got your mind captured
Some say it’s fun to get the high but I am not laughing
What you don’t realise and what you not grasping
That I was nothing but a kid who couldn’t understand
I ain’t gon’ say that I forgive you cause it hasn’t happened
I thought that maybe I feel better as time passes
If you really cared for me, then where you at then?

Why would you leave us? Why would you leave us?
How could you leave us here?
How could you leave us? Why would you leave us?
Oh, hey

Our last conversation, you and I sat in the living room
Talking ’bout my music and I brought you some to listen to
You started crying, telling me this isn’t you
Couple weeks later, guess you were singing a different tune
You took them pills for the last time, didn’t you?
They took you from us once, guess they came back to finish you
Crying my eyes out in the studio is difficult
Music is the only place that I can go to speak to you
Took me everything inside of me to not scream at your funeral
Sitting in my chair, that person talking was pitiful
I wish you were here mama but every time I picture you
All I feel is pain, I hate the way I remember you
They found you on the floor, I could tell you felt hollow
Gave everything you had plus your life to them pill bottles
You gave everything you had plus your life to them pill bottles
Don’t know if you hear me or not, but if you still watching why?

Why would you leave us? Why would you leave us?
How could you leave us here?
How could you leave us? Why would you leave us?
Oh, hey

[Sobbing] Sometimes I think about like, sometimes I think about things like, you know, when I have kids, you won’t be there, you know? You won’t be there for any of that, I’ll never get to see you again, sometimes I wish I would have just called you, I wish I would have just picked up the phone, wish you were here, I mean you should of been there for us, you should have been here, those pills got you, right? Them pills got you, right? I wish you were here

Guest Blog: Kingdom Bound Music Festival

Thanks to Brett for letting me take a quick minute to share with you about Kingdom Bound 2017 – Western NY’s largest and longest running Christian music festival. We’re thrilled to have Brett returning to the festival this year! We (along with thousands of others) have been so blessed by his ministry.

Have you ever been to Kingdom Bound? For those of you who have never been please read on so I can share just a little taste of what this festival is all about.

We believe that Kingdom Bound is for EVERYONE!  We think of this festival as a full-family experience.  Anyone/everyone infancy to senior adulthood enjoys these 4 jam-packed days at Kingdom Bound.  We have large youth groups from churches and charity organizations with us each day (and overnight) as well as families that choose Kingdom Bound as their event/vacation of the summer.

So what is Kingdom Bound? We’re a 4-day Christian Music and Arts Festival at Darien Lake Amusement Park in Darien Center, NY. This year’s dates are July 26-29th.  Darien Lake is a full-experience park complete with thrill rides (6 great Roller Coasters) and a very large water park.  We also “take over” all of Darien Lake’s accommodations, which include a 160-room hotel, dozens of cabins and rentable RV’s and a campsite that features over 400 water & electric sites.  It’s a HUGE undertaking that features over 60 bands and speakers at multiple stages across the park, including a 25,000 capacity Live Nation venue.  Over 40 thousand tickets are sold annually to this event over the 4 days.

In addition to all the great music and speakers one of the things that most excites me about the festival is our special offerings for teens and families. AWAKEN, our new youth program geared to high school and college students launched last year at Kingdom Bound to great success with 100s of students participating. We’re expecting 2017 to be even bigger and better. The morning will begin with breakfast (on-grounds guests only), followed by worship and a morning keynote message. Interactive games will follow and the morning will close with break-out sessions for students and leadership. This was a transformative experience for many students last year and we fully expect God to be at work in this year’s group as well.

In addition to this we have a Kids Tent each day for kids 4-8, and our AMPED TENT for tweens 9-13. These are great places for families with younger children to let their kids experience the excitement of Kingdom Bound in a special (secure) environment created just for them.

Kingdom Bound has so much to offer for everyone and ultimately that’s our goal. We believe that these 4 days have the potential to be life transforming for so many of those who attend. Year after year we hear stories of the way that God has worked through the festival. Broken families healed, suicides averted, addictions overcome, churches united, meeting needs of dozens of ministries, and so much more! Please join us this year and together let’s discover all that God has for us!

For more information, please visit www.KingdomBound.org or connect with us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/kingdomboundministry

A lawyer rewrote Instagram’s terms of use ‘in plain English’ so kids would know their privacy rights

Great article I read this morning. I think it needs to be explained to not just kids but to people of ALL ages.

Other complex paragraphs were similarly condensed to sentences that were easier to digest:

  • “Don’t bully anyone or post anything horrible about people.”
  • “Officially you own any original pictures and videos you post, but we are allowed to use them, and we can let others use them as well, anywhere around the world. Other people might pay us to use them and we will not pay you for that.”
  • “Although you are responsible for the information you put on Instagram, we may keep, use and share your personal information with companies connected with Instagram. This information includes your name, email address, school, where you live, pictures, phone number, your likes and dislikes, where you go, who your friends are, how often you use Instagram, and any other personal information we find such as your birthday or who you are chatting with, including in private messages (DMs).”

To read this entire article please click here.