Faith or Fame for your tween? Beware the Disney parable…

Watching Miley Cyrus saturday host SNL 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 primetime 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 pre-teens 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, its 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 pre-teen 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 our kids and we 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.

Peace out,

brad.

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11 thoughts on “Faith or Fame for your tween? Beware the Disney parable…

  1. This is a great post. It’s very sobering to see families come apart, especially in the public eye. Our prayers are with their family – and also our own. May God help us to keep our focus on Him, and on our kids.

  2. Hello dear this is my first time on this site am real impressed for your passion concerning families, and the life of people. Your love for God to do his work to brining people to positive life, making them to turn to their God and live the real life he prepared for them Jeremiah 1:4-7

    I pray for her and her family may the mercy of God restore them back in the name of Jesus.

    God bless you

  3. Hey Brad, I have been mulling this stuff over so much lately. It seems the odds aren’t good and so many once strong get sucked in when put it in this position. I have read Lynne Spears book and the regrets she has, I have read Billy-Rays comments… still other parents are silent that once (or may still?) know Jesus, the Simpsons? the Hudsons (katy perry)? I don’t know. It would seem to take such a unique strong parent to resist not only the lure of flattery and fame…but the intense manipulation and fine print the experts in this biz get the big bucks for. You can get distracted with the fun things and sign away important things. You have much more of an inside look at these things than I do, but I would love to see what happens and how it happens… as a parent living in the music city where so much talent is literally bred (and a blessing all that talent is!) my heart wants answers. Seems hard to NOT throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to teenage fame. Obviously, in every arena of life as christ-centered parents we need to choose paths after prayer and abide in His words of life. I just wonder if the pull of fame is too strong for most. I say this with no intent of knocking these people… as joyful mommy points out… I just think it is important to learn. So many child stars seem to have at one point come from believing homes. That a pretty interesting phenomenon.

    • Elizabeth thanks for your comments. It IS weird how many child stars are from Christian homes. I’m sure a well rounded Christian Psycholigist could give us greater insight, but it does seem to be a “timing” issue. Working with hundreds of genuine Christian artists and labels over the years, i’ve found that we culturally seem to “invite” God to bless our ambitions after the fact, rather than truly waiting to get an answer or for a sense of His leading and His timing for us to fully step into our hopes and dreams. So later, when things don’t work out the way we want… many if not most turn away and get bitter or angry with God and his people and wonder why He didn’t come through for them. The imbalance of perspective is quite obvious for those viewing it from a distance, but if it’s your own family we’re often completely blindsided.

  4. You ‘grieve’ for Miley? False compassion is unbecoming of Believers. If Christians spent the same effort on their face interceding for families like they Cyrus’ as they do smugly snickering at their topple from the pedestal, perhaps there would be fewer casualties in the Kingdom. When will we stop shooting our own wounded?

    • Joyfulmommy, ouch painful point. But true. My intent with this blog wasn’t to shoot our wounded, but to remind us all to make sure we include God in our decision making process for our kids and to be diligent to filter our own ambitions and preferences out of the process as much as we can. I do grieve for them… sincerely. It almost happened to me a decade ago. Painfully close to home so to speak. With genuine concern. Brad.

    • Brad, I totally understand your “grief” for others when we see them stumble. And, yes, joyfulmommy, it is possible to grieve for those people and to see it as an example for our own walk. Just because we recognize when a brother or sister falters, does not mean that we are “smugly snickering.” I did not sense that at all in Brad’s exhortation. Brad, you are right in saying that we as parents must recognize our responsibility to put God first in our own lives. We must make time to turn the TV off and read the Word of God and pray for our families. Your words are so timely and well spoken. It is truly, Godly advise.

      • Revo, my thanks for your kind words. You all should know my perspective on this blog comes directly from my past failure at managing these very issues in my own family. Hard won wisdom so to speak. Blessings to you and your family.

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