Miley has been making some not-so-good decisions lately. Among those bad decisions are taking racy pics of herself and the infamous bong video. While watching the news yesterday (or maybe the day before), it was reported that Miley and her dad haven't spoken since the bong video was released on the internet. In an interview with GQ magazine, Billy Ray Cyrus said that he was scared for her daughter. He was also reported as saying things like "the (Hannah Montana) show ruined my family's life" and "I didn't know the ball was out of bounds until it was up in the stands somewhere".
That ball he's referring to would be the way he's raised her. I guess this story hits close to home because I'm raising my daughter now. And my wife & I agree that she is a people person. She lights up every time she's around people...especially children her own age. Now we're nowhere near that Billy Ray/Miley status. I can only imagine the pressure. However, I do know that the danger still exists to neglect what's really important (my family) in order to pursue career goals. Actually it's a temptation that every parent has to deal with. I think it's even more of a temptation for ministers. Sometimes we expect our families to be happy about sacrificing quality time because we're doing "the Lord's work". For me, I have to constantly remind myself that the Lord's work is first and foremost the salvation and discipleship of my family. It really does require a Romans 12 mind change.
Besides the application that this story has to parents who are ministers/career oriented, I think the broader application it has on everyday parents is what really sticks out to me. Parents have this thing for keeping their kids super busy. And the general mindset is that as long as they are busy doing something productive (or something they like to do), then everything will work itself out. Who knows? They may be pursuing a "calling"? "Who are we as parents to hinder their dreams?" "My kid could be the next..." So tons of time, energy, money and emotions are spent chasing kids around as they pursue whatever it is they want to pursue at the time. All the while, the child's character is never dealt with. I imagine that this temptaion would be greater for single parents...like Billy Ray.
Being a decent and moral parent is hard work. Being a godly parent is harder. It's not something that you can just accidentally accomplish. It takes strategy and work. I will be the first to tell you that sometimes I feel like I can't do it. I don't feel like being emotionally drained. I don't feel like spanking my daughter. I don't like battling the thoughts that come afterwards. Thoughts like "Is she still gonna love me?" ( I know what the bible says but those thoughts run through my head sometimes.) It would be so much easier to just involve her in activities from now until she's 18 while I go and preach to the world out of my longing for acceptance and feelings of accomplishment. But would it be worth it? What would I do 17 years later when I find out that I've gone everywhere to preach the gospel, but my outgoing little 16month old girl has turned into one of the people I've tried to rescue: a self-worshipping teenager who cares nothing about God. (Hannah proves that she's exactly this by her lifestyle.) Imagine the horror that Billy Ray now has to live as he watches his little girl spiral downhill. And it's a horror that the majority of parents live every single day. Success in the world can be failure to God. If you're reading this, take a minute to pray for the Cyrus family. Also, pray for me and for you. Pray that we don't make the same mistake.