Music Discussions

Dear Younger Me

Dynamic ImageMain Point: For good or bad, the decisions we make today forge who we become in the future. So, what advice would an older version of you give to you right now?

The Discussion Starter: Dear Younger Me
In this music video, viewers see several people holding cardboard signs set to the music of MercyMe’s song “Dear Younger Me.” Essentially, the video focuses on what these people would say to a younger version of themselves if that were possible.

The genesis of this song goes back to singer Bart Millard’s very troubled life as a kid. The lyrics stem from him dealing with abuse as a child, how it affected him for so long, and what he wished he knew way back then.

This is a very powerful song, and the imagery in the video is also quite powerful. In fact, it would benefit your group to read through the lyrics BEFORE actually watching the music video. That way, students can absorb each element individually.

The Song’s Lyrics:

Dear younger me
Where do I start
If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far
Then you could be
One step ahead
Of all the painful memories still running thru my head
I wonder how much different things would be
Dear younger me, dear younger me

Dear younger me
I cannot decide
Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life
Or do I go deep
And try to change
The choices that you’ll make cuz they’re choices that made me
Even though I love this crazy life
Sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride
Dear younger me, dear younger me

If I knew then what I know now
Condemnation would’ve had no power
My joy my pain would’ve never been my worth
If I knew then what I know now
Would’ve not been hard to figure out
What I would’ve changed if I had heard

Dear younger me
It’s not your fault
You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross
Dear younger me

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed

Every mountain every valley
Thru each heartache you will see
Every moment brings you closer
To who you were meant to be
Dear younger me, dear younger me

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed [x3]

The Music Video:
The video is available here:

Transitional Statement:
I like how this music video gave random people on the street an opportunity to write a message to a younger version of themselves. In short, they were able to write down what they wish they knew when they were younger. No doubt there are tons of stories, upsets, and heartbreaks hidden in those cardboard signs. Those people are who they are today because of the decisions they’ve made through this point in their lives. For good or bad, the decisions you make today will forge who you become in the future, too. That’s why it’s so important to make good decisions today. Let’s talk about that some more.

Divide into Small Groups:
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.

Discussion Questions:

  1. AROUND THE CIRLCE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our favorite song at the moment.

  2. ASK A FEW: What’s one piece of advice you’ve been given in your life so far. What happened as a result?

  3. ASK A FEW: How would you sum up the message in the song’s lyrics we just heard?

  4. ASK A FEW: Look back over the lyrics if need be. What piece of advice or counsel from the song do you think is most important? Why?

  5. ASK A FEW: In the song, the singer exclaimed, “If I knew then what I know now, condemnation would’ve had no power.” What does he mean by that? Do you think it could be true for you, too?

  6. ASK A FEW: What were some of the cardboard messages that stuck out to you?

  7. ASK A FEW: I know that most of us are just teenagers, and so you’re fairly young. But, is there something you would like to say to your younger self? If so, what and why?

  8. Read the following passage:

      Proverbs 2:1-15 (NIV)

      My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, 2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, 3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, 4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. 9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair– every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. 12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, 13 who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, 14 who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, 15 whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.

  9. ASK A FEW: Overall, what is this father trying to communicate to his son?

  10. ASK A FEW: According to verses 1-4, what (all) does the father want his son to do?

  11. ASK A FEW: What are some of the benefits the father says will come if the son listens to his counsel? (HINT: Look at verses 5-8 and verses 10-15.)

  12. ASK A FEW: Of all the benefits of finding wisdom and obeying wise counsel that we just talked about in the last question, which do you find most appealing and why?

  13. ASK A FEW: How would your life be different if you lived your life the way this father told his son to live his life?

  14. ASK A FEW: How would your life be different if you could go back and tell your younger self something?

  15. AROUND THE CIRCLE: What are you willing to do differently starting this week that will change your life and help you avoid the pain that was spoken about in the song?

Wrap Up:
During our time together, we heard a song about what a singer would say to himself if he could go back in time and speak with a younger version of himself. He poetically shared what he would want to do different, and how he’d want his life to be. It’s an interesting concept…and an impossible one.

We can’t go back and tell our younger selves anything. Translation: unless we’re very careful, we’re going to have scars and bruises on our hearts and minds. We might even leave scars and bruises in other people’s hearts!

So, what can we do? Must we just learn by trudging though a bunch of mistakes? Do we just have to fall down, get up, fall down, get up, fall down, and get up over and over again?

I don’t think so.

I want you to do something. I want you to ask yourself who you want to be in 10 years. Deeply think about where you’ll be, who you’ll be with, what you’ll have, what you’ll be doing, and anything else that comes to mind. Take a moment if need be. Everybody got it?

Now, I want you to think about what that older version of yourself has to say to you RIGHT NOW. What would he or she say is most important for you to do, or to avoid, or to accomplish, or even to cut from your life?

Can I ask you to do one more thing…for yourself? You don’t have to, but I strongly suggest it. In fact, you’ll be really, really glad you did if you actually do this. Ready?

Tell someone what the older version of you said. That’s right. Sometime later today – or even tonight – tell someone what you think you need to do or change about your life to get where you want to be, to please God, or to have healthy relationships with others. That way, they can help you get there. They can keep you accountable. They can make sure you stay on track.

We’re going to close in prayer in a moment. If you want to tell one of our adult leaders what that was, you’re welcome to do so. Just grab one of us and chat.

Close in Prayer

Written by David R Smith


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

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