Psy Got It from His Daddy

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The video for Psy’s new song, “Daddy,” recently dropped and it’s already raking in the views on YouTube. The song is catchy and easy to dance to. It’s going to be everywhere – from our students’ headphones, to their cars, to rocking at all the school dances. 

If you haven’t watched the music video, it’s worth taking a look at. Throughout the video, Psy’s head is interposed on top of males of all ages, representing the generations of “awesomeness” that Psy believes he now represents. 

Women in the video repeatedly ask Psy, “Hey, where’d you get that body from?” His reply: “I got it from my daddy.” The video then busts into a montage of baby Psy, Daddy Psy, or Grampa Psy showing off their charm and dance skills. He “got it from his daddy.”

As the National Study on Youth & Religion reveals (as have other similar studies), the influence of parents in the lives of their kids is hard to overestimate. 

My own kids are only seven and five, and yet my wife and I can pretty easily identify the ways our kids reflect our personalities (sometimes in ways we’d rather not confess!). When I watch my son play soccer, I almost feel the need to apologize to him. He runs like me. He has slow reaction time like me. I am to blame for his mediocre-at-best soccer skills. He got his soccer skills from his daddy. (Sorry buddy!)

If Psy got his swanky charm and his dance skills from his daddy, I wonder what else he got from his daddy? 

“Daddy” is actually a hysterical (or is it just weird?) parody of will.i.am’s 2007 hit, “I Got It from My Mama.” will.i.am’s music video is filled with sexy women in bikini’s being asked, “Where’d you get that body from?” Their answer is pretty obvious. They got it from their mamas. Both songs have the same beat, the same hook, and nearly identical lyrics. Psy’s is a goofy and catchy spoof of the original song. 

What Do Successful Parents Accomplish?

Psy’s cover is pretty simple. There’s not much content here that needs to be analyzed. His parody basically says, “I’m awesome because I got it from my daddy.” While we need to realize this song is a spoof, there are still some tongue-in-cheek truths we can discuss with students and parents that are relevant in both videos.

The greatest concern parents and youth workers should have with the original video (and to some degree in Psy’s) is how women are portrayed. To be clear: this concern is present in nearly every music video over the last two decades. The truth is, this pimpin’ attitude is so widely accepted that it typically goes unquestioned – and if you do question it, then you’re usually viewed as some sexually repressed conservative who is simply out of touch with today’s world. I wonder if Psy got it right… sometimes the best way to respond is through humor and parody that clearly shows the silliness and shallowness of the original offense. 

A Word for Students

Yeah, it’s a fun song and it’s crazy catchy. I get it. So far as songs today go, Psy’s is pretty “clean.” But be aware that the way both his and will.i.am’s video portray women is decidedly not Christian. Women are created in the image of God (every bit as much as a man) and they should be treated with the same respect, compassion, and sacrificial love. They are far more than just sexual pursuits to be claimed. 

I try to teach my students to swim against the unfortunate norm that everyone else seems to have accepted. To treat women with dignity and kindness – not because they’re looking for anything from them, but simply because that’s how God wants us to treat one another. If they get mocked for being weird, then so be it. 

A Word for Parents

As parents, we need to honestly consider what we are intentionally passing down to our kids. Am I the type of man I want my son to become, the type of man I want my daughter to marry? Are we willing to have an ongoing conversation about sexuality rather than settling for “the talk?” It’s healthy for us to talk with our teens about what type of guy/girl we hope they marry. These are the other sort of things our kids can get from their daddies: valuable and intentional conversation. Obviously we mustn’t pressure our kids into dating by talking about it too often (that would just be weird), but our kids will benefit from talking about these things with us and seeing the examples we set about how to treat the opposite sex. 

Finally, while I assume Psy wasn’t trying to “make a point” (but rather saw a funny opportunity to capitalize on will.i.am’s song), we can still take a lesson from his approach. When you see something ugly and warped in youth culture, ask yourself if responding with a critical lecture is always the best way to show your teen its ugliness. Perhaps you could help them see how warped and twisted that particular song/movie/etc is by flipping it on its head through sarcasm or satire. Humor is an extremely powerful teaching tool that Christians don’t often utilize. 

Do They Get the Gospel from Their Daddy?

Ironically, many theologically Reformed families seem to forget that salvation is always a work of grace. As parents, we need to be faithful shepherds at home, but we also need to remember that our kids’ salvation doesn’t rest on our faithfulness. Salvation is always a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit who draws sinners to himself. While we are not able to save our kids, we are called to faithfully demonstrate the joyful and transforming power of the gospel and to invite them to grow in the grace of God. The gospel is the greatest legacy that any of our kids could explain, “I got it from my daddy.” 

The teen years are a wonderful opportunity for grace: for parents to give it, and for students to learn how to receive it. My prayer for your family is that grace would abound. When you treat sin seriously, while responding with love and forgiveness, then you are faithfully reflecting God’s own attitude towards dealing with offenses. As we cultivate the habit of grace-giving and grace-receiving in our families, we will be passing on to our children the utmost legacy: saving faith and love for their heavenly daddy. 

To learn more about gospel centered youth ministry, check out more articles from Rooted’s youth ministry blog. 

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