MOVIE-BASED DISCUSSION GUIDE LEADER S GUIDE Radio A story about how one young man changed a town.

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1 ! MOVIE-BASED DISCUSSION GUIDE LEADER S GUIDE Radio A story about how one young man changed a town. Radio is based on the true story of a high school football coach (Ed Harris) and his relationship with a developmentally challenged young man named Radio (Cuba Gooding Jr.). This movie dramatically demonstrates the power of one life, even a life that is not considered valuable by some. Use this discussion guide to explore the spiritual themes of the movie. What lessons can we learn about forgiveness and making amends? How is generosity illustrated? How can we better understand kindness? Based on: Radio (Columbia Pictures, 2003), directed by Michael Tollin, screenplay by Mike Rich, rated PG for mild language and thematic elements.

2 Movie Summary As the film opens, a high school football coach (Ed Harris) watches a young man (Cuba Gooding Jr.) push a shopping cart, with a few treasures tucked inside, around the perimeter of the football field. The football team decides to have some fun with this mentally challenged young man, so they lock him in a sports shed. When Coach Jones discovers the frightened young man, he reprimands his team by having them work out until they are physically exhausted. In addition, he takes the man, Radio, under his wing and into his life. We watch the characters grow as the school year progresses. Each football game finds Radio on the sidelines cheering the team on. His obvious enthusiasm, while heartfelt, is not shared by all, and soon there are objections to his being at the games. While his own family misses him, the coach continues to pour his life into Radio. When the football season ends, Coach decides to enlarge Radio s knowledge about sports and invites him to attend all the basketball practices and games as well. Radio is ultimately a story about a community coming together to help one individual overcome his difficulties. For more coverage of Radio, visit Rated PG This film is rated PG for mild language and thematic events. Discussing the Scenes Select one or more of these themes to discuss: 1. Forgiveness 2. Kindness 3. Generosity 4. Making Amends 1. Forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32; Romans 12:21; Matthew 18:21 35) Scenes to watch: Wrong committed and an apology made. (Elapsed time: 00:08:00 00:10:01 and 00:12:34 00:13:40) In the first scene we watch as Radio is treated harshly by a group of people. Radio could have closed up and been angry with the perpetrators, but instead, he remained open. In the second scene, although Coach Jones had nothing to do with the crime, he apologizes to Radio for the team. [Q] Watching these scenes, do you think the guilty were sorry for what they had done? Support your answer.

3 [Q] What evidence do you see in the movie that Coach Jones had forgiven the boys? [Q] Why did the coach apologize for the team instead of having them apologize to Radio? [Q] If you had been the coach, how would you have handled the situation? Read Ephesians 4:32. God tells us we are to forgive one another as he forgives us. Read Romans 12:21. Not only does God want us to forgive one another, but he also wants us to withhold evil when someone has treated us unjustly. We are to go even further and treat the person who wronged us with kindness. Finally, read Matthew 18: When asked how many times we should forgive those who have wronged us, Jesus gives an unbelievable answer. Not a few times, but seventy times seven times. God wants us to continually be forgiving. Thankfully, when this is difficult for us, God will empower us to do it. [Q] Why do you think we have such a hard time with forgiveness when we have been totally forgiven by God? [Q] If you were Radio, what would have been hard for you to forgive? [Q] How does Radio exemplify the kind of forgiveness we read about in our Bible passages? [Q] What is the hardest thing you ve had to forgive someone for? How did you go about it? What fears do you think we have about forgiving someone who has wronged us? [Q] Some say, I can forgive what they did; I just can t forget it. Do you think true forgiveness forgets the wrong? Why or why not? Scene to watch: No grudges held. (Elapsed time: 01:14:04 01:14:25) In this scene Radio was not to blame for what he did, but he did not want Coach to get mad at Bobby, the guilty one. So he sat there and did not incriminate him. [Q] Even though Radio was set up and ultimately did the wrong thing, how can you explain his lack of anger or bitterness toward those who wronged him? [Q] What are some practical things you can do when you struggle with forgiving someone? [Q] Name someone else in the movie who showed forgiveness. Was the forgiveness received? How do you know?

4 2. Kindness (2 Samuel 9:1 13; Colossians 3:12 13) Scene to watch: A cup of water. (Elapsed time: 00:21:35 00:26:05) When Coach Jones looks over the gate, Radio is there. He has compassion on him and asks his assistant coach to offer water to the thirsty boy. [Q] Is this the first thing Radio was offered? If not, what was? [Q] What was Radio s immediate response when the water was offered to him? [Q] In what other ways does Coach Jones show Radio kindness? [Q] What acts of kindness do you see Radio do? Read 2 Samuel 9:1 13. Because David loved Jonathan, he extended kindness to Jonathan s son. Read Colossians 3: God tells us to put on kindness, showing us it is a choice we can make. He also tells us to bear with one another, which he will give us the ability to do. Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), which means that God doesn t expect us to be able to be kind on our own, but gives us his Holy Spirit to produce kindness in us. As we admit our inability to be kind and ask God for his kindness, we will experience his transforming power. [Q] When David extended kindness to Jonathan s son, how did he go about it? Describe a time someone showed you great kindness. Was it expected, or a complete surprise? Explain. [Q] Share a time when you bore with another person. What did that look like? What are some of the things that keep us from doing this with one another? How can you let the Holy Spirit produce kindness in you when you are struggling with someone? 3. Generosity (Matthew 26:6 13; Luke 6:38; Romans 8:32) Scene to watch: Christmas is for giving. (Elapsed time 00:57:02 01:00:55) People shower Coach with gifts for Radio. Radio s enthusiasm is endearing as he sees each brightly colored present and wonders what is inside. [Q] Coach Jones s daughter misunderstands why people are giving presents to Radio. What does she think? [Q] How does this scene make you feel? What does it make you want to do for others? Do you think generosity is seen more clearly during the holidays? Should it be? Why or why not? Scene to watch: Radio is a giver. (Elapsed time 01:03:50 01:04:39) From an overflowing heart, Radio gives.

5 [Q] What is revealed about Radio s character when he gives away almost all his Christmas presents? [Q] When Radio s generosity is misunderstood by the new police officer, Radio is presented with yet another opportunity to become angry. What happened? What was good about his response? Read Matthew 26:6 13. When the woman opened the alabaster jar and poured the perfume on Jesus, she was met with much opposition. The money could have been spent on the poor, the disciples told Jesus, and yet Jesus admired the fact that the woman gave wholeheartedly. Read Luke 6:38 and Romans 8:32. God makes a comparison with how we give and how we will receive. God did not spare the most precious thing he had, Jesus Christ; nothing he gives us could ever compare to that. We are encouraged to ask God for what we need and to be lavish in our giving. God is not a withholder; he is a giver. [Q] Imagine you were there when the woman with the alabaster jar of very expensive perfume poured it out on Jesus. Do you think you would have been thrilled with her action, or would you have been more in agreement with the disciples? Explain your answer. [Q] How is the woman with the alabaster jar similar to Radio? How is she different? [Q] Name a person from the Bible who was generous. Do you think what we have determines how generous we can be? Why or why not? [Q] What are your obstacles to giving generously? Between your time and your resources, which is harder for you to give? [Q] If you have children, what are some practical ways you can encourage them to be givers? [Q] Sometimes when we give, there are hidden strings attached. Share a time God enabled you to freely give, without any expectation of a return or a response. What did that feel like? 4. Making Amends (Luke 19:1 9; James 1:22 25) Scene to watch: A mistake not repeated. (Elapsed time: 01:21:40 01:24:05) Touched by Radio s mother s death, Coach opened his heart to his daughter, sharing for the first time what had moved him to want to help Radio. Though it had been many years earlier, he shares his story of regret and the desire not to repeat his former mistake. [Q] In the last scene Coach makes a decision to step down as head coach. What amends was he attempting to make? [Q] What other character made amends with someone? What was involved?

6 [Q] Do you think regret can be an effective motivator? Why or why not? Share a regret you had that prompted you to do something. Read Luke 19:1 9. Zacchaeus was a tax collector who had taken advantage of people all his life. When he came face to face with Jesus, he changed. It wasn t enough that he was sorry for what he had done; his heart was moved to make amends. He paid back four times what he had taken. Read James 1: James tells us who are followers of Christ to not merely listen to the Word, but to do what it says. Knowing what God s Word says should change us. We need to read it and apply it to our lives. [Q] When we are convicted by the Holy Spirit of something we ve done, God sometimes requires that we make amends. Share a time when you made amends. [Q] Do you think there is ever a time when making amends is not possible? Share a time when you were not able to make amends. [Q] Is it enough to simply feel sorry for the wrongs we have committed against others? Why or why not? [Q] In what ways do you struggle with being a doer? Share an area in which you have applied God s Word instead of just reading it. Share an area in which you need to apply it. As the Credits Roll We watched a young man circle a football field, remaining outside while looking in. We saw another man s compassion offering that thirsty soul some water. We watched as the gate opened, and Radio took little steps, eventually making his way into the hearts of the whole town. He started out being taught but ended up teaching everyone he met. When Coach Jones was questioning whether he had made a mistake in trying to help Radio, his wife responded, It s never a mistake to care for someone. This movie continually illustrates that truth. [Q] Name some of the things Radio taught the town. [Q] Share the most difficult scene in the movie for you to watch, and why. [Q] Did you learn something about yourself from this movie? What was it? [Q] What did you find most endearing about Radio? Study prepared by Anne Peterson, poet, speaker, and regular contributor to CHRISTIANBIBLESTUDIES.COM.

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