Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Lessons from watching the stars...and their babies

It is "all the buz" today: Tom and his wife had their baby! Neat!
honestly, I had not idea the scope to which some people paid attention to the tabloids. I had this idea that it was really just for supermarket line entertainment. (I have to admit I glance that way in the never-ending lines). It wasn't until I spent some time with an old friend from high school that I realized how much the lives of the stars occupy the conversations of us who don't shine so brightly. My friend (and her middle-school aged sister) had stacks of tabloids and discussed in detail their personal lives. What put me over the edge was this:
"Paris is going on vacation" the elder replied
"Is she taking her Pookie" (Or whatever her little dog's name is) in a serious questioning tone from the young sister.
" says she is leaving her with 'so and so'."
"Are you serious? Oh, I wouldn't trust her with the dog!"
The conversation continued, interspersed with mentions of how cute (or how horrid) the outfits and trends of certain loved celebrities were. WOW!

So, does this star-gazing fade out with the passing of time? Do these youths get their heads out of the clouds when their time comes to grow up, get married, have a family and "put off childish things?" Unfortunately, by the articles gracing the media, the answer is a resounding "no."

So, what do these young (and old) mom's hope to learn from their obsession with the stars and their starlets? I don't know, but here are questions that can be answered by the tabloids:

1. What is the best stroller?
2. What stroller will make me and my baby look the best?
3. How should I dress my baby/ my toddler/ my school-aged child
4. How should a mom dress?
5. What is cool for a mom to do with her time?

Of course, the list goes on and on in this way. This is what some moms are looking to for direction in child-rearing. Forget sound wisdom, training of children, addressing issues of character, attitude, or other items of virtue...those aren't really important.

unfortunately, the answers received from these questions are different for mother than they are for child. Here is how the child may be answered...

1. Mom is proud to show me off...push me around in this great stroller.
Would she be as proud of me if our stroller was ugly?
2. My clothes are cuter than that kid! My mom really cares how I look.
Would she still love me if I looked as frumpy as he does?
3. My mom is the best dressed mom in town...
I wish she wouldn't worry about her clothes for a while...just so she could play on the floor or paint a picture with me.
4. My mom is involved and she makes sure to take time for herself.
This is what I hear: Mommy has to leave...She has to go to work. Then she has to go have time to herself. Then she has to have time with her friends. Then she has to put us to bed because she just needs some peace and quiet. I wish she would be with me. But she's too cool for that.

Those who shine brightly in this world are reflections of the world in which they shine. Take a look at what they shine forth: fame, possessions, wealth, shallow happiness; a fleeting beauty that, despite the best attempts money can buy, will fade and burn out as quickly as a star in the perspective of eternity. Is this how you want your children to see you?

These children will grow up to become like you. But (for you Christians) will they have the discernment to know what is safe to imitate? Or will they only know that mom looks to the stars, so it must be okay to imitate them in all they do? Hmm...Tom Cruise is a Scientologist. That sounds trenty...maybe I will try it!

I hope to keep my eyes fixed on the eternal Light, mirroring Him and shining forth as a star which will not fade with time. I hope to project the undying virtues of love, honor, faith, and grace to my children so that they may realize that although this earth and it's wealth will pass away, God has given them eternity in their hearts.

Lord give me the grace to accomplish this!

ps. I don't fault the stars for this: it isn't their fault people are crazy enough to pay attention to their every decision!

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