Sometimes I worry that the more teen books I write, like Speak Love, the more people are going to expect me to know things.
How do we help a girl like Miley?
How do I keep from my daughter being like that?
What is this world coming to?
All valid questions, but I’m not sure I know how to answer them.
[If you aren't sure what I am talking about, google Miley's VMA performance last night. Don't watch it with kids around. I won't post it here.]
Last night, before I went to bed in the lovely town of Houston, Texas – yes, I’m in Houston- I watched the performance. To be fair, I actually only googled the VMA performances because I care about the fact that NSYNC reunited. See, before we were an internet family, way back in 2000, I was an NSYNC super fan and I feel no shame about it.
But you couldn’t have been on the internet for any length of time last night and not heard people talking about Miley.
Right? I mean, bless that girl’s heart. Something is broken. Somehow her compass has come unhinged and her true north no longer exists.
My wise friend Ben Backus tweeted this last night:
And he’s right. While I immediately trashed my Monday blog post about how much I love rental cars [riveting stuff, y'all] so I could write about Miley, I don’t want to vent about her. Honestly, I’m not mad at her. I want to be her friend and let her come home to Nashville and rest out of the spotlight for a few months. Because she is a wounded bird to be sure. Can you see that? Can you hear that? She is wounded and fluttering around screaming for help.
And she needs your help. And my help.
So how do we help Miley? Get ready. You should have seen this coming a mile away.
We speak love to her.
I know, I know. You’re mad that your teen sister or young daughter was exposed to that behavior! and where is culture going? and am I defending her? and aren’t I grossed out by what I saw? and isn’t she crazy? and why am I not expressing pure outrage because I’m a teen Christian author?
But in my heart, I don’t feel outrage. I’m very sad for her. When that performance was over, and she left the stage, the internet blew up with hatred and disgust [and I am not saying the internet shouldn't feel that way]. Miley still washed her face last night and climbed into bed at some point and in that most honest moment right before she fell asleep, I wonder if she was sad. Or embarrassed. Or if she is so deep in the rabbit hole of this whole thing that she felt nothing.
I want to yell down that rabbit hole and tell her to come back.
While today’s headlines are tearing her to shreds, we as Christians HAVE to sound different than the world. We HAVE to yell a different chant in her direction about how God made her on purpose and how she is valuable because of WHO she is, not WHAT she does. I’m not saying we ignore the influence she is having, but if we want to help her [and that is the question titling this post after all], then we have to look at her with eyes of compassion and have our words sound from there.
If the title of this post was “how should we REACT to Miley?” or “How do we talk to our daughters about Miley?,” well sisters, that’s a whole different thing.
But if we want to help her? We have to speak love.