Tuesday, August 27, 2013

10 Things To Tell Your Child After the VMA's

This post is written as a response to the overwhelming support I've received on Facebook.  I've placed that below, in case you missed it.

1.  If you desire the eyes of people around you, walk around almost naked.  Seriously, people will flock to you if you give them a reason to.  However, just know that your fame is finitely temporal: somebody else will wear less clothing, or do something more obnoxiously attention grabbing.  Honestly, it is not crime to want attention.  But it is pathetic to want attention for only mere moments.  Seek positive attention in the right places from the right people.

2.  Sex sells.  It always has, and always will.  However, the price it sells at is irreplaceable: your self-respect, confidence, and innocence are things that disappear quickly.  The list of stars who have walked down Miley Cyrus' path of innocence to destruction is not short.  Choose to hold on to yourself and you will make a choice that you never regret. I promise.

3.  Sticking your tongue out at people is rude. Not sexy.  God put it on the inside of your face for a reason. Leave it there.

4.  Culture proclaims a message that is a lie.  Be thinner. Wear more makeup. Buy away your problems.  Smoke to fit in.  Drink to have fun.  Skip class because its not really important. Disobey your parents because they don't know their right from their left.  One night stands really have no strings attached...I could go on, and on, and on. If you are not smart enough to see through the lies, or are feeling pressured to believe them, consider this your call to "wake up!"

5.  Your hair is fine.  Seriously. Stop spending two hours in the bathroom trying to make it "perfect."  It will be fine.  That boy is never going to look at you and wonder how you got that much volume out of that mop.  Spend your time investing in things that actually matter.

6.  Promise your child you will be the best parent you can be, and keep the promise.  I can only wonder what was going through Billy Ray Cyrus' head as his 20 year old daughter ruined foam fingers at the ball game for all of us. Forever.  I wonder if Billy Ray had any regrets in that moment, or if he was proud of his little angel?  I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the best Youth Pastor a child can ever have is their own parents.  Don't leave the dirty work of teaching your child core values to somebody else.  Statistically speaking, the bad guys win that one.

7.  There is hope.  Nobody is a lost cause.  Nobody is too far gone, that they are beyond rescue.  And nobody is worth giving up on.  As a Christ-follower, and a leader within that cause, that is my mantra.  We can't look at people as disposable.  People area always a work in progress.  So when you go to school tomorrow and little Jimmy says something to you that really boils your blood, take a step back and remember that not everybody is as amazing as you.  And by that, I mean to say that you can (probably) be a creep too some of the time.

8. Surround yourself with the type of people you want to be like.  A friend of mine taught me a phrase, and it is a universal truth: it is easier to pull a person off of a ladder than it is to pull somebody up that same ladder.  The idea is that if you are a "good" person, but you hang around the wrong crowd, you're going to see them influence you far more than you will influence them.  Be careful of the people who influence you.  It will make you who you are yet to become eventually.

9.  Modesty is hottest.  While Gaga and Miley make headlines for how amazing they were, actual people look at that garbage and wonder where the barf bags are.  Cover your body, and let somebody actually like you for who you are on the inside.  Oh, and the people that give you attention when you live a modest lifestyle are the ones you probably want in your life anyways (see #8).

10.  All things can be made new.  I believe in a God who makes beauty out of ashes.  I believe in a God who loves people as they are, but loves them enough to not be satisfied if they stay that way.  I believe in grace: that people can make mistakes, and be given chance after chance to make it right again.  I believe that our value doesn't come from the songs we sing, the dollars we earn, or the (lack of) clothes we wear.  Our value comes from the fact that the same God who makes the whole earth spin and float created you and loves you beyond your wildest imagination.


  1. Though I do agree that the world does not "need" Miley Cyrus, and I agree with much of what you say, after seeing her clip from the VMA's, I was not disgusted, nor did I feel reason to add to the shame (I feel the world, especially the Christian world, is attempting to heap on her)... I felt a sense of compassion well up in me, because in the end I feel like she at the core is just like us, human, in need of love and compassion, and I fear that we can forget celebrities such as her, are human, just like us...

    I hope in some way, shape, or form, someone's able to extend to her the same compassion, grace, and mercy that I feel Christ has extended to me...

  2. This list highlights another subtlety: debriefing events with children is very, very important! In the spirit of talking with children about something like the VMAs, it's important to acknowledge that this is something we should grieve, too. (Or ask the question in the first place: why are you letting a child watch the VMAs when it's notorious for over-the-top, pushing-the-envelope displays of sex?). It's really, really sad that Miley Cyrus felt that in order to prove she's an adult, that she chose to resort to an overt and disgusting performance.

    We should lament the state of our culture, and that should lead us to ask God to give us His heart for his little lost lambs. It should grieve us and move us to compassionate prayer for someone like Miley Cyrus. She is a "sheep without a shepherd." I think about how many times Jesus wept over the state of Jerusalem, the people covenanted to Him. The sin of the earth should move us to great grief that the world is not as it should be. What if, instead of another critic writing her off as a hopeless basket case, there was a voice of hope that she doesn't have to live this way? That she can be a legitimate musician and performer without trapping herself in the garments of sex?

    I write this because I hope this would frame the conversation such that the child walks away with a desire to have empathy for the lost rather than judgment/an attitude of writing off sinners as hopeless, lost causes. This doesn't mean that the child is indifferent towards sin or integrity. Even asking the child "Why do you think Miley Cyrus chose those dance moves/props/costumes" could provoke a thoughtful conversation.

    Just another facet of this same conversation.

    Liz amalgamate.wordpress.com