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When Kids Go Wild - A Path Paved With "Just this once"

by Kay Wills Wyma
Friday, 06 September 2013
Miley Cyrus poses for photographers on the red carpet before her performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards (Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri)Kay Wills Wyma has been a guest blogger in the past.  She writes a blog that is filled with practical wisdom for parents and grandparents.  This is Kay's blog post responsding to the horrible display Miley Cyrus made at the MTV awards.  Forward this to anyone you know who is raising kids and doing battle with the culture.  It is a war zone out there and Kay gives us a great battle strategy.

When and why do kids go wild? I don't know. But the wild doesn't just happen overnight. It's often a long road traveled by small steps that seem insignificant in the moment. A road paved with words like, "just this once."

I'm sorry, but I'm sad about the Miley Cyrus incident at the MTV Video Music Awards. My kids and I, since I'm a teeny-bopper at heart, adored Hannah Montana. From the first show until the last. I remember Billy Ray when Achy-Brakey Heart topped the charts. He disappeared for a while then showed up as doctor on TNT. I'm not sure I saw the show, but I remember being glad for him. Not many people get more than one shot at fame. It seemed he was grounded and he wasn't a quitter. Good for him.

Fast forward to another media outlet. The Disney Channel with his daughter. Welcome meteoric rise to fame for his young daughter. They seemed to wear it well – even prudently. But in the midst of apparently strict boundaries in their home, some "just-this-once"s began to cross their path. Some weren't small. One was a precursor to the young lady's VMA performance.

I'll never forget watching her on the Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards in 2009. (Granted, I had to go back to see what year. But it wasn't hard to find. I googled Miley Cyrus ice cream cart) My young daughters coerced me into changing the station to watch Miley perform. It didn't take much. She was so cute. An inspiration to so many. Apparently, she had won some ginormous award. But, rather than come up on the stage and accept, the show had her sing her new single – Party in the USA. Catchy fun song.

She pops out of a Airstream trailer with back-up dancers and starts to sing. Modestly dressed, she does a few moves I didn't want my daughters imitating. Then, I scolded myself as a bit of a prude. I can't help it. As a mother I see everything differently. I see with their eyes instead of mine. And not with their rational. But with rational eyes that know what's on the other side of those moves when you get just a few years older. Anyway, within a minute, she's making her way down the stage stairs when an ice cream cart is wheeled her way.

Miley Cyrus performs, dances on an ice cream cart at the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday August 9, 2009 in Universal City, California (Credit: Fox Broadcasting Nework)

A strange ice cream cart. One with a stripper pole in the middle. I remember thinking … please don't. Then she did.

Miley Cyrus performs, dances on a pole at the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday August 9, 2009 in Universal City, California (Credit: AP/Chris Pizzello)

I can't begin to think how anyone involved in that show justified a 16-year-old dancing on a pole in front of who knows how many viewers. In disbelief I watched. I gasped. I felt ill. I wished my kids hadn't seen it. I couldn't believe that anyone on any production team could see in any way shape or form how such an unnecessary move could be danced in front of a teenage crowd while hanging on to a pole like it was every day normal. Her doing it made it normal. In fact, after that incident I actually stepped in to change direction of a tween friend who was over jumping on our trampoline. Party in the USA came on the radio. Mimicking began – because that's what kids do. Then she grabbed one of the poles holding the net and started copying Miley. I adore that child, so I told her exactly what I had told my girls and wanted my girls to hear again.

"Please don't ever do that on a pole. Dance moves like that communicate more than you realize. It brings images into the minds of people that aren't at all equal to who you are. I know it might seem fun and harmless in the moment, but it sends a message that demeans you. And your are worth so much more than that. You are precious. You are priceless. Please don't forget that. Come find me, I'll remind you."

Thinking about that awards show still makes me sick. But not as sick as this did at the time:

Miley Cyrus' parents  Letitia Jean

Hard to imagine they could fathom that in four short years, their daughter would flaunt herself in a disturbing sexual scene on a different awards show.

At the end of her Nickelodeon song, Miley thanked her fans, her producer and "my God in heaven who got me here." To which my girls proclaimed to each other, "See?!!! She loves God." I hope she still does. I hope deep down, somewhere she remembers/knows she has worth. That she's precious. Priceless. Because I think that message has gotten lost somewhere along the way.

Here's the deal: baby steps lead in a direction. For the Cyrus clan – maybe it began with a seemingly harmless ice cream cart. It crossed a barrier that made it easier to cross again – and again – and again. To the point of a display that shocked everyone.

Before judging, it might be worth stopping and assessing where we might be taking baby steps in the name of "just this once." Do we say the same thing? One underage beer. It's just a drink. All the kids are doing it. He'll be prudent – just this once.. .. It's cute dress. Maybe it's a tiny bit short and form fitting. She never wears anything suggestive – just this once. … Co-ed sleepover? The boys and girls will be in separate rooms. Nothing will happen. Just this once… I've got to get an A. I can plagiarize a little. Just this once.

Except it just might shade gray some boundaries and make it easier to take an another step next time that leads to doors better left closed.

Seemingly harmless baby steps. Barriers crossed. Which may or may not lead down an undesirable path. For Miley, her worth has gotten lost somewhere in the midst of all those steps. Whatever accolades, inclusion in the popular group, acceptance, … fill in the blank -  it's not worth it.

So, here's to traveling these roads with our eyes open, heralding a very loud message along the way. "You have great worth. You are precious. You are better than a questionable decision. You are priceless." So much so, the "God who got (you) there" gave his life for you. Lest any of us forget. At any stage of our lives.

Thanks for walking the road with me.


Kay Wills Wyma, mother to five aspiring children and wife to one patient husband, writes Her new book, Cleaning House—A Mom's 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement (published by Waterbrook Multnomah/Random House), walks readers through the good, the bad, the ugly and the frequent hilarity of their sometimes-inspiring journey.


-11 # Joy 2013-09-06 07:52
I just don't get it, Janet, we are not supposed to put objectionable content on our comments, but I find your posts with pictures very offensive and objectionable. Very disappointed.
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+8 # pr 2013-09-06 16:14
If you check out the original post from the guest blogger, you will see that the content here is a copy of the original, including the photos (except for the first one).

How would you suggest that the writers illustrate the topic that they are discussing while still using photos to advance the story?

I'm sure that both authors would be open to suggestions on ways that they can write about offensive events, incidents, actions without offending their readers while still using photos to support the story.
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0 # Sharon 2013-10-19 23:35
I think your shock and awe is being directed toward the wrong place. Miley created the pictures Janet is posting them in order for those of us who are not as "up on the latest trends" as we should be to be informed so that we may have a counter balance to this negative influence that is affecting our children's moral compass. I did not see Miley's ice cream cart meltdown or watch her rockin' it out on a wrecking ball...but thousands of kids have (probably even yours). I'm glad someone has the courage to try and keep parents as informed as our kids are!!! The enemy is busy and we can't fight him in ignorance.
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+11 # Dee Derrick 2013-09-06 10:51
My Mother always said 'would you do this in front of the Lord'? And 'it's better to go to heaven alone than to go to hell with the crowd.'
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+4 # Carol 2013-09-06 10:52
Janet, thank you for sending. Just this once has led many astray, how that grieves our Lord, i am thankful he is my God, let's get this message to our young girls and boys and their parents.
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+6 # Aileen 2013-09-06 14:03
I agree with Kay's article and thank you for choosing the least offensive photos of Miley in her recent misadventure. I would like to say that in the photo of Billy Ray and wife, those parents do not look pleased. Their lips are barely smiling and their eyes are pained. Parenting has taught me a lot about how far God will let me go and still accept me back.
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+5 # Pam 2013-09-06 18:55
I, too, agree with Kay's message. Thanks so much,
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-1 # Paul 2013-09-06 21:20
Every young pe.rson goes through a stage of rebellion where they test authority and push against the rules of society. This is a normal stage of growing up and part of how a person discovers their identity. Every one of us went through a time when we were just as big a brat as Miley. Including the writer of this blog. However, we also had parents, whose job it was to set guidelines and enforce discipline while we were going through this period. You cannot put an old head on young shoulders and God, in His wisdom, gives young people guardians to think for them and watch over them while they are growing up. The real question here should be, why Miley's parents did not voice any objection to her behavior? Why they supported it? I can excuse stupidity and bad taste in youth easier than I can in adulthood.
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+1 # Dan Bush 2013-09-07 10:33
For any who may be bewildered by the biblical Christian response to the behavior of our young people today...It's simply that we know why it's occurring...we've been told...
2Ti 3:1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.
2Ti 3:2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.
2Ti 3:3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.
2Ti 3:4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.
2Ti 3:5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.
Thanks Kay, for your input...check out "They Sold Their Souls for Rock and Roll"- Dan(TX)
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0 # Amelia Macias 2013-10-03 12:24
Janet, thank you for this article I in lncluding the posting of the pictures. Why cover the sin? We need to expose Satan's tactics and pray even more diligently for the souls of these young people. And for America, the land that was built once upon a time, in the trust of God. Now it seems we have taken Him out of the picture and America is doing its own thing without regard for God. Pray, pray, pray for His mercy.
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0 # Ken McVey 2013-10-03 12:53
I work with 40 kids in our Awana Group every week and I pray that they are learning the right ways and what God expects on this earth.

I do not really believe that her parents are totally happy about how she is presenting herself to the world. God gave her many great abilities, but she choose how to use them, and I am sure this is not the way he meant them to be used.
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-1 # A Johnson 2013-10-04 22:30
I may seem a bit out of sync, my being a 67 year old grandmother, but I'm totally unable to bear any of the secular awards shows. I simply refuse to let the images as well as the words make a permanent impression in my brain. Anymore, I have trouble watching a News program on TV, feeling as though I've just sat through a pornographic display with the female anchors. Leaves me feeling sick and I'm not a prude. The guidelines I use now days before thinking about viewing a movie is this: Would I feel comfortable enough with the subject matter, the way actors are dressed, the language, enough so, that I'd ask my Lord and Savior over for a snack and a movie some evening? If not, then I'd better pass up the idea of inviting Jesus over for a little get together. I hope that when Jesus returns for me that I'm doing something that He'd approve of. Only the purest of everything will be found in heaven. Okay, so I'm a prude, but my motives are pure.
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0 # Liz 2013-10-07 15:56
Would someone please tell me what Miley's Father or Mother did to set her off.One day we were looking at Hannah Montana, and then a story popped up about some disagreement and then Miley got a boyfriend, and then all hell broke loose in her life. Why is she so angry? Everything she does and sing and even wear or say seems like she is acting out in a retaliatory fashion. Even her father answers questions about her tensely on talk shows. I saw him on Arsenio, and I honestly thought the man would break down and cry. Evidently we need to pray for the family, and pray for the young girls seeing her and accepting what she is doing as right. The way the author of the blog wrote about Miley actually reminded me of the frog in the pot of water on the burner. We and our children are the frogs, 'cause this ain't Hannah no more!
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