Faith or Fame for Your Tween? Beware the Disney Parable
Watching Miley Cyrus host Saturday Night Live sobered me a bit as I realized how much she really has changed. In just over six years she had gone from a fun and energetic, wholesome child star to a jaded and worn young woman.
From the grocery store checkout rag’s to the prime time interviews... Miley’s family has been the focus of countless millions as they have been literally torn apart by her quote “successes”.
What happened? It appears that somewhere in all of the success and stardom her values shifted dramatically. Her youthful innocence was replaced with something much different. Something darker and more destructive has touched her family, ironic as it seems... this destruction of family is one of the common denominators with most if not all child TV pop stars.
Why did it happen? Somewhere along the way... her parents lost their ability to influence her more than the environment she was allowed to live in. Miley’s parents were affected by her success as much or more than she was... and it destroyed their home. The roots of their values, beliefs and faith were not deep enough to withstand the tsunami of her exploding popularity, wealth, influence and stardom.
What can we do to prevent similar loss in our families? Stay close to God’s word, and to each other. Simple, but profound. By staying close to God’s word, we stay close to “reality” and in doing so, maintain perspective on who we are and how much life is not about us.
When we skip that step, we start to immediately drift into another reality. One dominated by the influence of media, popular culture and the despair of a self-absorbed life. When we stay close to God, our roots of faith grow deep and wide... preparing us and our families for whatever may come.
Where do we go from here as a generation? As parents of faith, our first duty is to be intentional about our faith and guard our own hearts and mind. Time with God is irreplaceable and powerful. It restores our hearts and minds and prevents us from the presumption and deception of living lives without the influence of the Holy Spirit. When we model our faith in our homes, we’re leading our kids to find a source of life and purpose much deeper than ourselves.
Our kids, our preteens need us to maintain our connection with our faith and our values. When we falter, we open them up to being influenced by someone else, for purposes that will ultimately destroy our lives. I Peter 5 describes the Devil as a ravenous lion, it's true. He has plans to steal, kill and destroy us and our kids. The first line of defense comes on our knees and in the word of God.
I grieve for Miley, her family has been swallowed up by the very thing they so desperately wanted. Fame. As parents, we need to exercise some caution in our life choices... no matter how awesome the opportunity. When we pause and pray before acting... we include God in our choices and in doing so we avoid the devastation of our very lives. I’m confident the opportunity to star as Hannah Montana seemed perfectly harmless on the front side, but in the end it led to a path full of pain and loss.
For all of us its the same… we are in need of a savior, and in accepting His help, we must learn to accept His will. When we choose to let God pick... we’re protecting our families in ways we will never truly appreciate until eternity.
As a media executive in the preteen and teen world of music and television, I've seen this mediacentric scenario many times before. But it’s not exclusive to media... many parents want to live out their hopes and dreams through their kids and never hesitate to encourage them to pursue their desires to the fullest.
From the performance pressures of little league to dance class to those pushing for academic scholarships... we as parents are risking the same outcome as the Cyrus family when we don’t offer a healthy life perspective, one full of faith, balanced in activities and content with whatever God provides.
God protect us from getting our own way! Here’s to encourage us all to carefully steer our kids through their tween years knowing that we must model our faith and hope in something more than ourselves... Keeping it on the road and in-between the lines of life.
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