Justin Bieber’s wild ride- an open letter to celebrity moms

It’s Fun Friday!

I love lots of pop culture things and considered many topics for today (like the fact that both Survivor and Amazing Race started recently!) but I read this article the other day and knew what I wanted to ruminate on:

“Justin Bieber’s mother has teen on same scary course as Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus and LiLo”

Pretty interesting stuff in there if you ask me. My kids have a rather serious case of Bieber Fever (along with the rest of the female population between the ages of 10-16) so I have a vested interest in this young man – and what kind of person he will become while my daughters are watching.

I remember seeing a freckle-faced Lindsay Lohan in the updated Parent Trap movie and thinking how talented the kid was and I enjoyed watching her grow up…until I became appalled. DUI’s, rehab, charges of theft, battery and more jail time looming…what happened to this poor girl? Who will rescue her from herself?

The downfall of Miley Cyrus wasn’t much different. Fresh faced Disney star who grew up in a “Christian” home and before long she was posing for provocative photos (Vanity Fair 2008) dancing on a pole at the 2009 Teen Choice awards show, videotaped taking a bong hit and is dressing in ways that well, would draw the wrong kind of attention. And her video “Can’t Be Tamed”? Yikes. Billy Ray, Miley’s dad, admitted recently in a GQ interview that got lots of people in an uproar, that:

“I would even read other parents might say, ‘You don’t need to be a friend, you need to be a parent.’ Well, I’m the first guy to say to them right now: You were right. I should have been a better parent. I should have said, ‘Enough is enough—it’s getting dangerous and somebody’s going to get hurt.’ I should have, but I didn’t. Honestly, I didn’t know the ball was out of bounds until it was way up in the stands somewhere.”

Billy Ray Cyrus goes on to say:

“Somewhere along this journey,” he says, “both mine and Miley’s faith has been shaken. That saddens me the most.”

Me too, Billy Ray. And while some may not like the idea of parenting advice from someone like Billy Ray Cyrus, you can’t argue with the fact that he’s been down the celebrity kid superstardom road and learned some tough lessons along the way.

I wonder if Justin Bieber’s mom has read that article. Justin has been outspoken about his faith – which is great – but that faith is already being sorely tested in ways that they might not even be able to see right now. I hope he stays grounded – but despite the fact that I am more of a Pollyanna than a cynic – I am worried. Worried about a kid who takes luxury vacations, is surrounded by people who are at his beck and call, has a girlfriend that is two years his senior and is surrounded by legions of fans exhibiting what amounts to idol worship. That’s a lot for anyone to navigate. But a 16 year old kid? I’m just saying the cards are stacked against him – because more than likely, the people surrounding him and guiding him are people who care more about his career than 16 year old Justin. Fame is a dangerous, dangerous sport. The playing field is littered with casualties.

I think parents of celebrities (especially ones who say that they know God) should remember Eve. If Eve could live in that perfect garden where she walked with God, and still fall into temptation, then we need to know that we can too. We have to expect that not all “good things” are good, and that we have an enemy who actively plots our downfall. And it must be hard to keep perspective when even the moms are probably surrounded with lots of people giving very earnest, but very skewed, advice.

Some parents seem to navigate their celebrity kids better than others. Not every kid ends up in the tabloids. So what’s the difference? My (completely unsolicited) advice to Justin Bieber’s mom? If I could urge her to do one thing? Seek out those parents who did it right – those that managed to raise bright, healthy, law-abiding citizens who exhibit compassion and an other-centered heart. Find out what they did. Then follow their example…

I’m rooting for you. And praying that you and Justin can navigate the minefield and come through the other side with your faith and witness intact.

So which celebrity kids’ parents got it right? In your opinion?
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