Where The Wrecking Ball Lands

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A lot can happen in 10 years can’t it?

It doesn’t seem that long ago that everybody was excited to see what would become of little Destiny Hope Cyrus.

Tish and Billy Ray’s little girl was such a joyful prodigy that she eventually adopted the family nickname “sMiley” as her stage name. The exuberance that shone through in her precocious singing and dancing brought her to the attention of friendly agents and starmakers.

At 11 she auditioned for what would eventually become Disney’s “Hannah Montana”, a television series about a school girl with a secret life as a pop star. While everybody imagined that she would use her talents to entertain for a time, very few were banking on her becoming a worldwide celebrity.

If it’s hard to get famous, it’s even harder to stay famous.

What nobody imagined (a disposable Disney show going bigger than it’s time slot) happened faster than most people thought it could.

Back then the vocalized concerns over Miley’s astronomical rise were usually squelched by folks who assured us that her dad had “been a star before” and could “keep his eye on her”. The plan seemed to be that she would do what Dad told her to do.

Nobody seemed to point out that Dad hadn’t exactly kept it together when he was famous, and within a few years he would admit that his chief failing would be being a “friend” to his daughter, neglecting his duties as a parent:

“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.”

What no one seemed to anticipate, or prepare against, was Miley’s decision to create a her own path to stardom. It was one that would quickly lead away from promise rings and church choirs and spill out into the strange, bong-smoked haze that was 2013.

At some point during her Disney grooming, Miley stopped doing what was planned for her and started doing what she felt like.

“Things came out that happened ā€“ like, you know, bong videos ā€“ when I was on Disney,” she said. “But I never wanted to do that to Disney. When I was no longer employed by anyone, that’s when I was like, ‘Ok, Iā€™m going to do my own thing.’ But I waited until I felt like I had respectfully finished out what I was supposed to do, you know?”

By her own admission, trouble started for Miley when there were still people around who were responsible for making sure that she was being cared for.

Whether or not her parents were keeping an eye on her, a pot video on the internet is definitely a red flag to an entire industry that your teen idol is drowning in their own success. Unfortunately, nobody in charge stopped production on the singing and dancing because it was a cash machine that no one was willing to step away from.

It’s a lot like being on the teacups at Disneyland and raising your hand because you’re feeling sick, but the ride operator speeds it up because they need the people in line to see how fun the ride is.

While it is easy, and mostly appropriate, to blame Miley for making dangerous choices, it’s important keep in mind that we all leave established paths when we lose faith in their ability to deliver us safely to our desired destination.

When we fail to see how following a path will get us what we hope for, or we lose faith in the people who set the path for us, don’t we break rank and set out on our own? What assurance should Miley have had that the people responsible for her were more concerned for her well-being than their own bottom line?

Doesn’t the human instinct for self-preservation, working in conjunction with the rejective consequences of betrayal, virtually guarantee the type of behavior we see not only in Miley Cyrus but in most embittered child stars?

Whether you think she’s exploiting a system that exploits her, or agree with her outrageous take on liberated young adulthood, you can’t look at a picture of Miley Cyrus today and see the excited anticipation of a hope-filled 11 year-old anymore.

You can see fun.

You can see defiance.

You can see enthusiasm.

You just can’t see joy or peace.

When we begin using kids to meet our needs or fulfill our dreams we actually leave them exposed to their own whims, and the exploitation of others.

Adults have a moral imperative to work for the well-being of children. This goes far beyond providing, or being nice, and extends into protecting and guiding them into what what’s best for THEM. This means that we don’t simply think in terms of what we offer children, but also in terms of limiting exposure and removing the things from their life that lead to corruption.

Ten years ago everybody was excited to see what would become of little Destiny Hope Cyrus.

It seems she became someone known as Miley, the pop star with a secret life as a broken-hearted schoolgirl.

2013 wasn’t the year that Miley came through like a “Wrecking Ball”, it was the sad year that a kid with their hand in air finally barfed…

…and our whirling media machine made sure it covered all of Fantasyland.

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” -Matthew 18:6

2 Responses to “Where The Wrecking Ball Lands”

  1. Sharon O January 10, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    You are so right on.
    She is a sad soul, I saw part of her presentation and it sickened me that a) it was acceptable b) my grand daughters could think it would be ok c) she degraded herself and maybe even didn’t know it or care.
    I am sorry her parents failed her. I am also sorry the system failed her in the name of ‘money’.
    We do hold responsibility if we allow that to be the ‘normal behavior’ of the 20 something standards.
    The media should be ashamed.

    • Jon January 10, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

      It’s a sad and heartbreaking reality that the failure happened on so many levels… unfortunately the fact that it was televised says as much about us as it does the systems we tune into;(

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