“How did Miley Cyrus go so horribly wrong?”
I hope that’s the question every sane person is asking today.
Last night I was one of millions of people who did NOT tune in to watch the VMA’s. I think that makes a solid 20 year streak. But checking in on my Facebook and Twitter feeds, it didn’t take long to gather that some Grade A skankiness was happening.
And who was in the middle of it? Sweet Miley Cyrus.
Wait. She was sweet and innocent just a few years ago, when my older daughters loved watching her play Hannah Montana. Now she models naked and performs mock sex acts on stage. Nice.
Oh, how far we’ve fallen.
Yet she’s more “popular” than ever. And richer. And more famous with a broader audience. It looks like she’s successfully bridged the gap between child prodigy and full-fledged star. I feel like I’m watching a train wreck in slow motion.
Miley’s descent is not a solo ride. She’s part of a whole generation of young women twerking their way further and further away from purity (did you chuckle at this old-fashioned word?) and closer and closer to utter disrespect of themselves.
Whether it’s Miley wagging her tongue on the world stage or your average teenager making those stupid duck-faced, down-the-shirt pictures on Instagram, I have two knee-jerk reactions to seeing any girl act this way:
- Why should such a beautiful, talented young woman debase herself so thoroughly?
- Doesn’t she know she’s devaluing herself?
- What is so broken inside of her that she thinks this is ok?
- What is lacking within her that she thinks this is necessary?
- What the freak?
- Who was asleep at the switch?
- Who is standing by and letting this happen?
This “sex-kitten” was a precious little girl just a few years ago. And by the way, she’s still someone’s daughter. Where’s her Dad? I don’t know. Cheering on from the sidelines, I guess.
If that was my daughter, and someone told me they wanted her to do that, I’d be throwing fists. Literally.
As my wife said this morning, “The people who are letting her do this are not her friends.”
We have 4 daughters. I take my role as a Dad seriously.
My girls will never be rich and famous. But I understand well the climate in which they’re growing up. And every step of the way my wife and I have partnered to ensure that our girls understand a few things.
What Dads need to teach their daughters:
“I don’t care what everyone else is doing / wearing / watching.”
The easiest, and laziest, form of parenting is to just go with the flow. Just let your kids do what everybody else does, believe what everybody else believes. Put yourself on autopilot and let the world wash your kids downstream. Lots of people do it. How could it be wrong? That’s normal, right?
Normal is anything but modest. Normal is showing off what you’ve got instead of saving it. Normal is having sex long before marriage. Normal is trying to sell us booty shorts for my six year-old.
Normal is broken. Normal is sick in the head.
I’m raising my girls to have uncommon standards.
- Does that mean my wife has to shop at several different stores to find appropriate clothes for our girls? Yes.
- Does that mean my girls might be made fun of for not showing quite as much skin at the pool? Yes.
- Is it worth it to communicate to our daughters that they’re not a slab of meat to be served up to everyone’s eyes? Yep.
I cannot expect anyone else to establish standards for my daughters other than me. I will.
“I am not your friend. I am your father.”
I love my daughters deeply, and therefore do not care whether they think I’m cool or not.
A friend of ours, whose son is the same age as our oldest daughter, told me a great story. Her son recently said, “Joe is Cassie’s Dad. And he kind of scares me.”
My daughter knows that I will not be a tyrant when it comes to who she dates. But I will be involved. I will have a voice because I have a relationship that I work hard to maintain with her. I show her respect, and look for it in return.
“I will always protect you.”
God designed fathers to protect their children, to provide a covering for them. When this covering is removed, either by absence or abdication, great violence is done to the child, both figuratively and literally.
I have promised my girls that I will always be there to fight for them, to shield and protect them.
Some would say, “You can’t protect them forever.” Watch me.
Sure, some day I’ll walk them down the aisle, handing them off to the man who will then shelter and protect them. But it will only be after 20+ years of learning what a man does for his girls. And it will not mean the end of my influence through relationship.
“I value you, and you should value yourself.”
- When I squeeze my teenage daughter and kiss her on the forehead, I am communicating love.
- When I ask her to hand over her cell phone for a random check of all messages, I am communicating that her integrity is important.
- When I let her go somewhere with her friends, I teach her that I respect her freedom and development as a young woman.
- When I teach her how to make wise choices, I am preparing her for life.
It’s a father’s job to shelter and protect his daughter. If he doesn’t, then no one else will, including her.
Dads, pay attention. Don’t be passive. Don’t fall asleep at the switch. Your daughters are depending on you.