Billy Ray Cyrus and You

From Dr. Meg Meeker’s blog:

Billy Ray Cyrus has recently cried out to the country that he made some serious mistakes as a Dad. As tempting as it is to shake our heads and mumble ‘I could have told him so,’ let’s not be so quick to point fingers. After all, many of us parents are riding the same train.

Billy Ray’s major mistake was very simple. He saw that his daughter had an opportunity to fulfill her fifteen year old dream and he helped her achieve it. What loving father wouldn’t want to give his daughter what she really wanted? Perhaps, he, like so many of us parents (especially fathers) see our kids want to excel, and we allow our children’s wishes to trump our better sense as adults. From the outside looking in, it’s easy to see where he went wrong. Shouldn’t he have seen that he was leading her by the hand into a life of misery? We could see it, why couldn’t he?

The answer is easy. He did what most other parents around the US are doing today: we allow our kids’ desires and “needs” to come first in the family. We dance for our kids, contriving ways to better their lives and make them have more star power- whether that is on the tennis court, in the classroom or the football field. We are driven to make our kids stars because, well, if they shine, then we feel like better parents.

The problem is, for us and Billy Ray- this insidious behavior always comes to bite us in the back. Our kids lose, and we lose them. So what can we learn from this poor father’s mistakes? A few very important lessons to learn.

First- no childshould ever be the central focus of the family. Parents should not orbit around their kids because they simply can’t handle the power. If we are honest, we all do this because that’s what we see other parents doing. We need to realize that we were in the family first, and healthy children come from families where parents maintain the power, not the kids. Second, fathers need to hold onto to theirauthority, not give it up for unnecessary friendships with their kids. In wanting to keep Miley “connected” to him, Billy Ray allowed his relationship with his daughter to morph into a friendship. When dads do this, daughters feel insecure and unsafe. Daughters want fathers to protect them, not coddle them. This makes them crazy. Finally, we should always be aware of how peer pressure changesour parenting. We indulge our kids only because we see our friends doing it. The real root of the problem may be the fact that wanting to fit in as parents causes us to turn our backs on our very healthy and real parental instincts. Lest we end up with teens holding bongs and having beer parties at 18, we must reject the pressure every one of us feels to be accommodating friends to our kids.


Snowmageddon Reading

  1. Photo of the Book of Isaiah page of the Bible

    Isaiah. Preaching on this Sunday, Feb 6. Come out to Garnett Church of Christ to hear 66 chapters in 25 minutes. OK, I’m not going to cover all the chapters but overview and main themes, which are very powerful and instructive even for us 2,700 years later.

  2. With Vice President Dick Cheney looking on, Pr...

    Decision Points. This autobiography is very well put together, revealing of major and minor decisions. On the decision to run for president in 2000, he wrote about talking to his twin daughters. They said, “Why do you want to ruin our lives. You are not as cool as you think you are.” I’m learning more to dispel or confirm some of my perceptions of George W. Bush. For example, he deals directly with the perception that Dick Cheney ran the White House and describes their working and personal relationship very clearly showing Bush made final calls on everything from personnel to global decisions. About his decision to only commute Scooter Libby‘s sentence, not fully pardon, he tells how Cheney said, “I can’t believe you’re going to leave a soldier on the battlefield.” Bush worries he made the wrong decision, that his relationship with Cheney would suffer, but he shows examples of how Cheney’s loyalty to Bush does not waver.

  3. Writer’s Digest Magazine. I read The Writer and Writer’s Digest a couple times a year. Ashley and I made a run to Barnes and Noble Monday night before the storm to use gift card and get a little reading material for the storm. This was one of my choices, along with number 4.
  4. Spirituality and Health. This magazine caught my attention a few years ago, and I read it once or twice a year when I get a copy. Here is where I first read about Kathleen Norris’s Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life. From Publisher’s Weekly, “In this penetrating theological memoir, Norris (The Cloister Walk) details her relationship with acedia, a slothful, soul-weary indifference long recognized by monastics. Norris is careful to distinguish acedia from its cousin, depression, noting that acedia is a failure of the will and can be dispelled by embracing faith and life, whereas depression is not a choice and often requires medical treatment.”
  5. Cover of

    Cover via Amazon

    Kindle version of Tulsa World. For the first time in more than 100 years, the Tulsa World did not print a newspaper. They opted for e-editions, web, and Kindle, and that has been extended from Wednesday to Thursday and Friday as well. So we’ve been reading all three versions, trying out the Kindle version, which is regularly $9/mo. but has no ads, just stories read as a book one after another.

  6. Facebook. Of course like you I’m reading Facebook entries from people coping with the snow around the country and checking in with Garnett staff and members this week to be sure everyone has what they need and no one is taking unnecessary risks getting out on the roads before they are cleared.
  7. Leadership Journal. I’ve been reading this excellent journal since grad school in 1990, and I really respect Marshall Shelley and ongoing effort to bring challenging wisdom to bear on church leadership.

Finally, I thought about writing a book during Snowmageddon, but I decided to make igloos with the kids instead. I figured that’s the most productive thing I can do. I still need to write a sermon for Sunday, though, so I’d better go.