This funny scene from The Pacifier
can jumpstart a discussion about displaying self control in the face of peer pressure, bullying, or temptation to shoot off one’s mouth or show off one’s “skills”.
Navy SEAL Shane Wolf (Vin Diesel) is assigned to protect the five kids of another agent.
Movie Clip: The Pacifier,
about 5 minutes into Scene 5, School Day
. Lt. Shane Wolfe has just brought the Plummer kids to school. The arrogant Vice Principal Murney, “The Murninator,” has established his dominance as well as his disdain for these students. Lt. Wolfe is observing them at a distance in the school yard when he sees the oldest boy, Seth, getting pushed around by some jocks. Start the scene here.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been picked on. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been tempted to shoot off your mouth to the person who was picking on you. Keep it up if you actually did
shoot off your mouth!
SHOW CLIP HERE
– Introduce the clip and then say something like, “In this scene, Lt. Wolfe intervenes when he sees Seth getting picked on. Let’s pick it up there and observe how he responds to ‘The Murninator’s’ taunts.”
Divide into Small Groups:
Jocks: Yeah, you little punk! Where’s your babysitter now, huh?
(Lt. Wolfe pulls Seth out of the way. )
Lt. Wolfe: Enough.
Vice Principal Murney: All right, you heard the lady. Let’s break it up, guys. Come on. Hmm?
(To Wolfe) Relax, Popeye. Boys will be boys, huh? Anyway, it’s kinda good for the Creeper (referring to Seth). Gives him a chance to punk up. Learn to defend himself.
Wolfe: Six against one?
Murney: Well, ya know, the odds are never pretty. But look at it as, like, a preparation for him…you know, the naked streets of Bethesda can be so dark and dangerous. Right, Creeper?
(Wolfe holds Seth back.)
Murney: You’re pretty quick there, frogman. I, myself, happen to be a black belt. That’s why they wanted me to be the coach of the wrestling team (strikes a karate wannabe pose, yells, and snorts). Sensei. You know what that’s called, homeboy? Total control. You alright? Hmm? Tell you what, maybe sometime you can pop by the wrestling class and, uh, show the boys how a couple of pros do it. What do you think? I’ll go easy on you.
Wolfe: I’m on duty.
Murney: You’re on duty. Oh, that’s right, you’re a babysitter. So it’s kinda like “doo-doo” duty. Don’t worry about it. We’ll do it on a day when you’re not washing your hair. (To Seth) And I’ll see you in class. (back to Wolfe) At ease. (Walks away smugly.)
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
Large Group Wrap-up:
- ASK A FEW: How did Vice Principal Murney act?
- ASK A FEW: Who have you known who acts like that?
- ASK A FEW: Why do people act that way?
- ASK ONE OR TWO: What did you notice about how Lt. Wolfe acted the entire time “The Murninator” was talking trash?
- ASK A FEW: Have you ever known someone to remain calm and cool in the face of teasing or bullying like that? Describe the scene (without naming names if it would embarrass anyone we know).
- ASK SOMEONE: Look up and read aloud:
ASK A FEW: As long as you deal with people in your neighborhood or school, you may face situations like that from time to time. What does it take to maintain that kind of self-control in a similar situation? (In other words, how can you stay in control when someone gets up in your grill?)
A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. (NIV)
- Look up and read aloud:
Proverbs 26:4, Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. (NIV)
ASK ONE OR TWO: According to this verse, if we answer people with the same attitude they confront us with, what effect does that have on us?
(Leaders: Turn on a worship CD conducive to prayer and reflection for your wrap-up.)
Say something like: The Bible says that self control is a “fruit of the Spirit,” that is, a result of surrendering our character and behavior to God’s Spirit to influence us. Turn to someone near you (preferably same sex or a leader) and answer this question for each other: “How do I respond when I think I’m being disrespected?” I’ll give you two minutes – go.
After two minutes have someone who’s willing to be honest share their struggle with not responding well. Be ready with your own story of not responding well – it can be funny or serious. Then have someone share how they respond well to disrespect. Have your own “mouth-control” story to share. Affirm the students who shared for being honest and willing to grow in this area.
Then have students turn to that same partner and give them two minutes to pray for one another. You close in a prayer for help in this area and encouragement from God’s Spirit.
Another option is to have your students pray specifically for the people in their lives who most often rub them the wrong way. Caution them not to name names if everyone knows their “holiness helper!” But encourage them that it’ so powerful and in a way, defangs Satan, when someone is willing to pray for someone who hasn’t been nice to them.
Written by Danette Matty