Yes, I’m chiming in on the Cyrus news. Why? Partly because it’s the only news I’ve read this week, partly because I am a parent, and partly because Miley Cyrus has become my muse, replacing Britney Spears, while I rewrite my first script – the one about the teenage pop star who abandons her tour to rediscover why she first started singing.
So, the Cyrus news: Billy Ray is regretting his choices of the past because his wife is divorcing him and his daughter is apparently losing it. I can’t speak personally about the divorce or Miley’s behavior, other than what’s in the news and tabloids – or rather, the cover of the tabloids (unless you’ve busted me reading one in the checkout line) – but let me say first, Mr. Cyrus, regret does not equal repentance, nor does it bring change. Regret holds us in bondage to the past. Embrace your mistake, lay it at the foot of the cross, and press on.
Next, parenting in Hollywood requires the same Biblical principles as parenting in Madrid, Cleveland, Singapore, etc. Solid, Biblical parenting is no respecter of the culture or geographical location – truth is truth, and it does not change for people, places, or things. Your responsibility as a parent is not a debatable point that you have the freedom to interpret. It is what it is, and without it, you lay a child to ruin.
Before I go too far, offending rather than simply sharing as one parent to another, I would like to say that your parenting mistakes are shared by the Hollywood-parent and the non-Hollywood-parent alike. We all fail our children, selfishly turning to our desires and self-promotion, fighting not to be left with nothing when our kids are gone. All parents face hard choices, discipline choices, and we all want our kids to like us. Please don’t read this as a bashing, lashing, or any other -ing, but simply as a loving, parenting nudge. OK, maybe a parenting pinch, but not meant to bruise, only to redirect.
Back to the point. Parenting is leaving a legacy. Parenting is instilling principles leading to Godly character – character that will change the world. Why change the world? Because everything we do changes the lives around us, therein changing the world. Everyone changes something, someone, some bit of living for others. The idea, however, is that the change we each create will be change that opens the eyes of the blind, feeds the hunger, raises the dead, gives hope to the hopeless – that, my friend, is what parents everywhere shoulder. We are the doorway through which our children will enter the world. It is the authority that Christ gives to us as teacher, disciplinarian, and friend that causes us to shutter – and regret. When we fail, we fail mankind, we fail God. Ah, but the beauty of the Cross, the forgiveness undeserved. Surrender to the Father’s authority is picking up your authority as a parent.
Don’t quit, Billy Ray – don’t quit being the parent that loves unconditionally and disciplines (obviously within the age structure of the relationship). Don’t cease to support direction to Christ, fathering even the broken and lost child. You may have failed in the past, and undoubtedly you will fail in the future, but don’t slow down. Miley will always need her dad, whether she sees it now, or sees only her immortality. Press on.