I found myself feeling very conflicted this morning when I woke up to the news that Justin Bieber had been arrested in Miami for allegedly drag racing and failing a field sobriety test.
The parent in me wants to grab the Biebs and give him a hug. I feel terrible that he has lost his way and doesn't appear to have anyone in his life that can help him find his way back.
He showed us that he has no regard for other people when he relieved himself into a mop bucket. His understanding of the real world appears to be non-existent, as shown by his alleged illegal spray-painting escapade in Rio. This last screw up, allegedly drag racing on what is being described as a "residential street" while drunk -- c'mon, Justin.
Parents of young children may find Justin's behavior to be not so different from what they see in their own home. He doesn't know where to pee, writes on the walls with his crayons and lacks the mental sophistication to be concerned for his own welfare. In short, Justin needs a diaper, a timeout and a parent to put those foam bumpers on the sharp corners in his life. He is a mess, and his decisions seem to get worse every time I look up and see his name on my Twitter feed.
To be fair, Justin was dropped at a young age into a world few would be prepared to live in. He has wealth and power far beyond what most people could handle with grace. I imagine that he has seen and done things that would curl your toes, and I'm not sure that any person his age could navigate waters like the ones he's seen. He is a real-life cautionary tale for our children, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude. Common wisdom tells us that role models show the way, that their example leads positively. I think that there are some people whose example is so over-the-top ridiculous that they actually show us who we don't want to be. Justin is merely another poor soul ravaged by fame and excess. His life, whatever path it may take until he hopefully finds balance, is a living, breathing how-not-to manual for our kids.
Shortly after Justin's alleged egg-throwing incident, I found that my daughter's Justin poster had been defaced with a black marker. When I asked my 9-year-old what happened, she simply said that she didn't like him anymore because he was always getting into trouble. Then she asked me if it was OK to throw the poster away.
Here's where I get conflicted. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't grinning from ear to ear as we shoved that poster into our recycling bin. My mind raced with happy thoughts. I couldn't wait to reintroduce my little girl to real music; I was overwhelmed by the thought that she had enough personal strength to get rid of negative influences in her life. I tried to imagine when I could tell her the truth about why the music at the Justin Bieber concert was so loud, loud to the point where she couldn't hear Justin. That part of me is so genuinely happy that Justin Bieber's 15 minutes of fame is coming to a close. I just wish that the parent in me could get out of the way so I could enjoy this a little more, but I know that when I finally see Justin's mug shot later today, it's going to break my heart.
I think that it may be your inclination to try and hide Justin's problems from your children. I know that you are concerned that they will find these stories exciting and want to emulate them, but I think you can, with very little effort, teach your children compassion for others and give them a firm grasp of what kind of a person they want to be when they grow up by speaking honestly about Justin to them. Kids are smarter than we sometimes like to think. I say tell them the truth. Maybe if we had as many details about our favorite bands when we were growing up, the whispered stories of trashed hotel rooms wouldn't have sounded so glamorous.