Wednesday, July 27, 2011

RIP Amy Winehouse

While vacationing with my newly returned wife earlier in the week (more on that on another blog entry) I saw on the news that Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London home.  My knee jerk reaction to sudden deaths, especially sudden deaths of celebrities was jaw-dropping shock, and then sadness.

She was famous for her excellent voice and people from many age groups liked her work, which is pretty amazing since most adults abhor what the kids listen to nowadays.  Her popularity also put British music back on the map, and many musicians from her shores capitalized on the house that Amy built.  In the age of autotune, Amy Winehouse was considered a real talent, a breath of fresh air, and her death was a great loss for music fans.

But then again, sadness turned to something like “she had this coming.”  Indeed, her considerable musical gifts have been eclipsed by stories of her being drunk and stoned to kingdom come, stories of violence (be it self-inflicted or inflicted on others), and raucous behavior in general.  Even her parents thought that her life would be a short one, and indeed, here we are, mourning her passing.  It’s irresponsible to say that she died of a drug overdose when the jury is still out on the cause of her death, but it’s pretty easy to assume her lifestyle played a role in her demise.

In this blog, I always try to put life lessons that all of us can apply, regardless of the topic.  So what can we learn from the tragedy of a supremely talented, yet troubled life ending way too soon?  Well, one main thing.

There’s an adage that goes, “No amount of success can compensate for failure in the home.”  Here, we can modify “home” to mean the formation of one’s person.

Proof of this is what I said earlier, how Amy Winehouse is more famous for her misbehaviour than for her five grammy award winning talent.  You can also think of what most of the press and people in general thought of the awesome Michael Jackson before he died.  How about another Mike, supremely talented, yet known more for misbehaving: Mike Tyson?  Then there’s scandals involving Tiger Woods, the Governator, nearly all Hollywood child stars…I can go on and on, but you get the picture.

Of course, I’m not putting the blame on Amy’s parents for what she has become; but, since this blog site is on parenting, a good take-home for parents here is that no matter how gifted your child is at something, focus also on the kid having a balanced life.

Jesus’ adolescent development is a great example of this.  There’s only one verse in the Bible that talks about Jesus’ teenage years, but we can already get a lot out of it.

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)

According to the verse, Jesus grew:

“in wisdom” – intellectually

“and stature”—physically

“in favour with God” – spiritually

“and man”—socially (including emotionally)

That’s a pretty good benchmark in how someone should grow.  If you look at a chair, it usually has four legs.  Cut one of those legs off, or have it made of extremely weak material like Styrofoam, and it won’t be able to do its job.  Just a little bit of weight and down you go!

Focus on developing a whole child, and when you do so, he or she can be more equipped to resist many of the temptations from the media, from peers, whatever.   Then, if the child shows particular aptitude at something, by all means encourage the child to pursue excellence in it…but make sure venues are given to develop the child as a whole.

Children with fantastic intellect yet no social skills or are very physically unfit will not reach their full potential.  Ditto with those who are physically gifted yet do not pay attention to their academics or in other areas.  And if one lacks spiritual and social development, he or she would be more susceptible to the world’s ills.

You can’t focus on just one of the chair’s legs and expect a great chair as a result.  You need to focus on developing all four.

And this is a great challenge to parents.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I am not doing the job I want to do.  But I want to do better, that’s for sure.  A part of the reason why I put up Lessons Of A Dad is to challenge myself to improve in fatherhood.

1 comment:

  1. This comes at the perfect time for me. Scouts for performing arts or modeling schools often want me to enroll my daughter. I saw dollar signs in the eyes of one scout who could already see Isabel doing commercials. I chose to not enroll her precisely because of what you wrote: she needs to have her foundation in God first. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

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