A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In


August 30, 2013

Father or "Friend"?

     I'm sure you have at least a passing knowledge of Miley Cyrus's embarrassing and sad national display on the MTV Video Awards.  Miley was once a young and seemingly virtuous Disney protegĂ© who starred in her own hugely successful TV show.  She was even seen as a Christian role model for young girls.  But no more!  Her raunchy performance this past week left no doubt that she no longer wishes to be seen as squeaky clean.
     Her performance was disturbing on so many levels, and so visually unsettling that I cannot post a single image.  (Images abound on the internet if you want to see what the hubbub is all about).  But suffice it to say that she appeared in a skimpy outfit and interacted with her much older co-star, singer Robin Thicke, in a manner that can only be described as pornographic.
Miley and her father in the
"wholesome" Disney years
     So what makes young girls (and Miley, despite her desire to appear "grown up", is still only 20) want to act out in this manner?  Well, a good clue would be a 2007 interview with her father, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus.  He admitted that he could never discipline Miley, preferring to be her "best friend"; someone she could always talk to and come to if she had a problem.  Well, she obviously has a problem now, and I wonder if she asked her dad's advice before deciding to degrade herself in such a public way?
     I know that all those under 25 would probably think that I am too old-fashioned; too uptight .... the very things that I thought my father was when he wouldn't allow me to do everything I wanted.  Unlike Miley's dad, my father didn't think his role was to be my "friend".  His role was to love me and guide me, and to tell me "No" when I began to follow a path that would harm me.  And that included a spanking or two until I quickly learned what behavior was unacceptable.  In our household, my father was the authority, and the word "discipline" was not a bad word.  It was a tool that provided boundaries for us kids; taught us respect for others and for ourselves.  Clearly, Miley has no boundaries.  And she certainly has no respect for herself; choosing to portray herself as a cheap, sexual object.  Is that what you wanted for your daughter, Billy Ray?  As her "friend", would you (or could you) have enough input to influence this sad cry for attention?
     Unfortunately, there will be far too many impressionable young girls who will probably mimic these actions the next time they are at a school dance or party.  How many fathers, who are aware of this stunt, will sit down with their daughters and explain that this kind of display is shameful and shows a loss of dignity for oneself?  Are "shame" and "dignity" even part of our culture's vocabulary anymore?
     As I grew older, spankings became unnecessary.  The worst punishment that my dad could employ was to let me know that I had disappointed him.  Talk about taking the air out of my sails!  My selfish desire to act out on my own wasn't worth it, if I was diminished in his eyes.  There was always that invisible line that I could not cross.  Oh, I flirted with it quite a few times, but the thought of what my father would think always kept me in check.  I never wanted to see that hurt in his eyes.
     In reality, the behavior of Miley Cyrus mimics our world here in America.  We have removed God from the Father role, and made Him a "friend"; someone who simply loves us and wants us to be happy.  (Even our pastors tell us so!  Think Joel Osteen).  We don't fear His discipline or respect the rules He has provided us.  We don't want the kind of life He prescribes.  We don't want to hear "No"; and disappointing Him doesn't affect us.  He is no longer the Authority or the Focus in our national life, and so we pursue whatever shines the spotlight on ourselves.... and with no regard to the hurt we might see in His eyes.
     Miley Cyrus is not the first, nor will she be the last, young woman who is led down a false path of exploitation and self-degradation.  But if her actions can be used as a tool to open up a dialogue between girls and their fathers, then God will use it for His own good purpose.  We need to pray that Billy Ray will now become a father, rather than a friend, to his little girl and halt her path towards destruction.

Psalm 144:12     "May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace;"

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