The Lost Art of “Rites of Passage”: Why Child Stars Turn Into Sex Pots
Millions of people witnessed or heard about the VMAs “starring” once beloved Hannah Montana in a sexually driven performance for her latest hit song. The reaction from the audience was pretty much one of disgust across the board. Questions like, “What happened to the sweet innocent girl we’ve grown to love?” and “What does her father think?” crossed the minds of millions of viewers. Even her fellow colleagues seemed to be put off by her performance. However, is the problem just Miley? Or is it the loss of instilling a rite of passage in a young person’s life?
Across cultures and generations, rites of passage have been used so the child knows and understands when they have crossed from one stage of life to another, childhood to adulthood. It ranged from jumping over cows (I’m serious), to being secluded and fattened on the onset of menstruation, circumcision, and now most commonly known parties like Bar or Bat Mitzvahs or a Sweet 16. The points of these rituals were to help assimilate and accept the child into the adult community. Remember, I’m not suggesting these rituals should be used but there needs to be something done that will help explain and bring understanding to when and what it looks like to transform from child to adult.
The result in failing to speak to teens about this pivotal moment in their lives is most commonly seen in child stars like Miley Cyrus who start off with a wholesome pure image (some of these child stars grew up in the church) and end up in their late teens/early twenties doing a complete 180. They believe by dressing, acting, pushing, and promoting a sexual image equates to becoming an adult. The lack of God, role models, accountability partners, and caring community has led them to look to the world for what it means to be a woman or man. According to the world, sex is what defines you and not the One who created you.
Do you have any friends or relatives in your life where you have seen this happen? There are many emotions that arise from both the person who changed and the witnesses of this change which range anywhere from confusion, sadness, bitterness, unforgiveness, disappointment, all of which are NOT from the Lord. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23). So what can we do? Here are some things to think about that can help you, your friend, son or daughter, relative, or whoever that God calls you to lead in this very important transition.
1) Have a conversation– Whether it’s parents or teens (teens you can definitely take the first step in initiating a conversation with your parents…it shows maturity…hint hint) and talk about what God’s and the family’s expectations are regarding adulthood. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12). You never know whose life you can be influencing. There have been many teens that have been an influence in my life.
2) What does adulthood mean/look like?– During the conversation ask/go over questions like, What kind of responsibilities do adults have? What are the traits that are important in being a successful adult? How can I be an adult and exercise my purity at the same time? Go through the Word of God and research different traits like honesty, integrity, purity, and whatever else may come up in the conversation. Our definition of success or what good looks like must come from the Creator of life. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
3) Find a community of people to look up to– They must have God in their life because you want to follow someone who is following the ultimate Leader and that’s Jesus. Also, it’s so important to have a number of people who you look up to for different reasons. One may be really successful in the career you are interested in, another can have a relationship with God you always wanted, a couple who waited to have sex and are now married, a woman or man who have a classy and appropriate sense of fashion, and with the understanding that no one is perfect but with God’s Word in their heart they can be used to influence your life in a positive way. “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked” (Prov. 24:16).
Let us be a generation that will not mock Miley for her poor choices. Let’s take it as a moment to reflect on her behavior in our own lives and see where we can change or be a change in someone else’s life. Also, take time to pray for those who were once on the path and have been pulled away by the promises this world gives them. It’s not just Miley but many others who have a hard time staying on the godly path and being able to distinguish what it means to be an adult. I pray these suggestions can help lead many into discussions that will help lead our very important NEXT generation into adulthood.
Baskets of Blessings!
Jesus, family, ministry, and lots of coffee! My heart comes from being a young teen girl who didn’t know much and found Jesus in a dark time. My ministry focuses on the heart of God for this generation to make Godly decisions especially in the area of purity. A blog for all ages because God’s Word is eternal and has no age limit!