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January 27, 2009

Rites of passage

Miley-cyrus-vanity-fair Most of us are well aware that pop culture is contributing to hyper-sexualization of young girls. Study after study -- not to mention the evidence of our own eyes and ears -- has shown that. But in this piece, University of Wisconsin student Allison Prolte starts a train of thought about how the process works and why it's so effective.

The main female stars that kids look to as role models are definitely the Disney stars, such as Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Hudgens and Nickelodeon star Jamie Lynn Spears. Though all of the aforementioned celebrities have starred in squeaky-clean movies and television shows, their personal lives are anything but clean.

Sixteen-year-old Cyrus, who prides herself on being a good Christian girl, is currently dating 20-year-old underwear model Justin Gaston. Parents of "Hannah Montana" fans everywhere must be proud. Cyrus has also had her fair share of racy pictures on the Internet, showing her in nothing but her underwear and in seductive poses.

In 2007, then-18-year-old Vanessa Hudgens got herself into a little problem that no song and dance from "High School Musical" could begin to solve. Naked pictures of her spread like wildfire on the Internet.

And 17-year-old Spears, star of the hit Nickelodeon show, Zoey 101, announced that she was pregnant last year.

More than a decade ago, adolescents could watch "Clarissa Explains it All" on Nickelodeon without the fear of cancellation because Melissa Joan Hart was pregnant with her boyfriend's baby.

It's no surprise that television shows and their stars have become racier as years go on. There are networks like The CW, which primarily has teen-oriented material, showing advertisements of the stars of the highly-popular "Gossip Girl" naked in a pool. People of all ages see and remember that.

Prolte's words suggest a certain pattern that, when you think about it, has become a modern rite of passage in the eyes of young viewers. A preteen or teenage actress or singer starts off fresh, wholesome, and innocent -- someone mom and dad can feel comfortable with as their little girl dresses like her, lip-syncs all her songs, or covers her room with posters of her. The whole family is happy. Then, one of two things happens. Or sometimes both.

Number one, the image is revealed to be just an image. Maybe the young celebrity slips up, or maybe she just gets tired of being "the wholesome one," or maybe she never really was. In any event, she indulges in bad behavior, and sooner or later that bad behavior is leaked to the world. Another idol falls off her pedestal.

Believe it or not, this doesn't always have to have bad results for those who looked up to the star, if it's carefully handled. I think it can help remind everyone -- parents and daughters -- that there's no such thing as a perfect person, and that setting someone up as perfect is an excellent way to pressure her into revealing her imperfections. In the long run, it can help encourage more realism about the human condition.

But the bigger problem, I believe, occurs if the celebrity chooses door number two. That happens when she or someone on her team makes a deliberate, calculated decision that it's time to "grow up."

In itself that wouldn't be a bad thing at all: As many of the bloggers at Big Hollywood often remind us, most movies today, unlike most classics, are all about grown-up children. But the problem is that by "growing up," celebrities, studios, and marketers mean something other than taking responsibility for one's life and acting maturely. They mean, go wild. Go edgy. Take off your clothes and reveal yourself as the sex kitten you truly are! Think I'm exaggerating? Remember Dakota Fanning and that rape scene in Hounddog? Cute little Anna Paquin and her gory, raunchy new HBO show? Pretty much everything Britney did after she hit puberty? In fact, name me one child star who hasn't deliberately undergone some version of that trajectory as she became an adult in recent years. Go ahead, I'll wait.

 Yeah, that's what I thought.

And that's what I mean by a "rite of passage." Every young girl growing up becomes a sexually mature being, and we used to have ways to help her handle that fact: primarily, a culturally sanctioned (if sometimes nebulous) belief system that portrayed sex as one important part of marriage and life, not the be-all and end-all of existence. Good parents still teach their daughters this, but the culture all around them is teaching them something else: that the natural result of growing up -- not just an option, but the very definition of growing up -- is becoming a "girl gone wild." (No wonder we use the term mature themes to mean one thing and one thing only. I use it myself, because it's a useful shorthand, but I cringe whenever I do.) And even the stars who profess faith generally compartmentalize it out of their way, because apparently faith means one thing before you reach adolescence and another thing after. It can't be allowed to interfere with real life, and especially with real "growing up."

As Wendy Shalit put it in her great book A Return to Modesty: "I was stunned by the way my friends reassured me. You will have many men in your life, they all predicted. Your body's not so bad, your face not so ugly. You'll see, you'll see. You'll do very well on the market. Trust us. Just 'maybe put on a shorter skirt or something,' stop 'hiding' yourself, stop 'taking things so seriously.' And 'you'll see how the men will ...'" Wendy's bewildered response was "Well, thanks for the generous offer, but am I allowed to decline?"

Nature, if you'll pardon the cliché, abhors a vaccuum. Human beings crave rites of passage: They help us navigate difficult or frightening passages in our lives, and teach us how to handle ourselves. So despite doing everything it can to undermine the traditional rites of passage, the entertainment industry has (perhaps unconsciously) set up a new one that's as rigid and domineering as they think the old ones were. It's a rite that parents -- that goes quadruple for parents of young stars, but it also applies to the parents of their young fans -- ignore at their peril.

(Image © Vanity Fair)

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(WARNING: beginning of rant)

Gina wrote: "No wonder we use the term mature themes to mean one thing and one thing only."

Indeed, and I fully understand, but wouldn't we be doing the world a favor if we started to insist that this was "adolescent themes"?

And that Hugh Hefner and his ilk are the Peter Pans of our age - the boys who refused to grow up?

Obsessing over the bodies of other people, and/or using your own body to manipulate others via their obsession, is ***not*** mature behavior. It is behavior that is at best something one does in (American) middle school and high school, during the onset of puberty. Our media has defined this obsession as "adult behavior" ("adult" entertainment, etc.) due to the lower-age limit, but has failed us all by omitting an upper-age limit.

Maturity is the capacity to see the whole individual - body, *soul* **and** *spirit*.

1 Corinthians 13:11

(end of rant; sorry - a little)


Gina Dalfonzo wrote:

"In fact, name me one child star who hasn't deliberately undergone some version of that trajectory as she became an adult in recent years. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Yeah, that's what I thought."

Actually, Raven-Symone (formerly of the Cosby Show) hasn't appeared in any racy movies or online photos. This is remarkable since Raven is older than Cyrus is.

So, it is possible for a young female star to have a squeaky clean life to match the image. But you're going to need the grace of God and a lot of positive family support.

Gina Dalfonzo

I'm glad there's at least one who's made it this far! May her tribe increase.

The thing that worries me about "adolescent themes" is that some people might mistake it for innocent Disney-type stuff -- so little do some of us understand our own culture. Perhaps "sexual themes" would be best. Call a spade a spade.


Or "immature themes". I still want a strongly negative connotation associated with this kind of material, indicating that people should grow up and get past it.


I couldn't possibly agree more. I have a nine year old niece who's slowly sinking into the heavy-handed influence of the entertainment industry. Her hero is Miley Cyrus and I can see that it's a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.

I appreciate your articulation of this issues. The idea of a rite of passage is poignant. I wrote a post a couple days ago with some similar thoughts.

Thanks for sharing.


If things are bad now what will it be like in years to come. My granddaughter is two months old and I tremble for the pressures she will face. It is a serious business bringing children into the world and the benefit of age brings that home emphatically. It is our God-given responsibility to pray for the young and the impressionable and speak biblical truth and wisdom into their lives while they are young and open to listen.
Today is the first day I have visited your blog because of Nancy Leigh DeMoss' broadcast. I thank you for your ministry and bless you.


Let us lift up Miss Cyrus and the other of her kind in prayer, that God would draw them to Him, and that they would not fall. They are in an extremely difficult place. We are warned not to lift up new Christians into places of authorities, how much more so young men and women, facing hordes of adoring fans would would do anything to have sex with them, and agents and even parents willing to exploit them to 'improve their career'.

Gina Dalfonzo



The process of following "role models" is destined to lead to trouble, or, at least, disappointment, sooner or later, because even the best role model is a mere mortal. Rather than decry these people and their handlers, we should be vigorously discouraging our children from being drawn into the process in the first place. Don't buy the posters or dresses. Don't say "isn't that cute..." when the little one lip syncs the song. Tell them what is going on - how what they are seeing isn't real, that they are being manipulated, etc etc. But that is only half of the picture...

It is so much easier to hope an excellent role model will show up in the culture than to be one! The nine year old niece who is "slowly succumbing to the culture" is probably watching parents choose Desperate Housewives over Nova, and reading Vogue instead of Atlantic Monthly. We need to tell our children what is good, and why it matters - and then live accordingly.


David wrote: "Don't buy the posters or dresses."

Tried that. How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm when their classmates have seen Paree? (And that in the last conserative Christian school still untried, after finding that not all homeschooling parents support one another - some are downright aggressively competitive.) Oh, the overwhelming meanness and cruelty of parents who isolate their child socially! Some children give you a choice between letting them ruin themselves, and hating you because you kept them unsullied but seemingly friendless. The little buggers seem to have a "sin nature".

"We need to tell our children what is good, and why it matters - and then live accordingly."

The "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" quote comes to mind: "And what is good, and what is not good, Phaedrus - need we anyone to tell us these things?" Yet, there is a whole Bible full of things to do, and still we struggle. Pointing to one's self as the role model is, I think, a flawed approach unless you're perfect. On the other hand, there is a role model who is perfect, and pointing to Him (and some of his followers who were good servants, so it's both theory and practice) can help.

What I haven't yet seen in this discussion is that Ms. Cyrus et. al. are indeed modeling a role. Wasn't Susan B. Anthony both a feminist *and* a Christian, and didn't the latter kinda drive the former?


I certainly agree with LeeQuod that pointing to one's self as a role model is flawed. (I include myself in the category of "mere mortal".) I often told my children to "do as I say, not as I do", because I know, and admitted, an inescapable reality: I can know what I ought to do more reliably than I can do it. It is the standard we must keep in view.

I also understand that we cannot isolate our children from the culture. Therefore, we must expend a great deal of effort - early and often- to help them see what "Paree" is all about.


quoted from an earlier response:

So, it is possible for a young female star to have a squeaky clean life to match the image. But you're going to need the grace of God and a lot of positive family support.

that last phrase is the key.. a LOT of positive family influence. Fathers having, in the main, abdicated to the culture leave the vacuum into which will flow, of necessity, the baser aspects of the culture. No, we none of us are perfect, and yet we know the Perfect One, and are absent from post when we fail to lead the young ones into a solid relationship with the Lord of Glory. When a child's identity is solid in the truth of God's word, those things will come and find no place in them. They, having tasted the finest Cup of Excellence coffee, perfectly brewed, will the more easily reject the swill served up at the sign of the Green Mermaid.

I have read an amazing book, "Christian Modesty and the Public Undressing of America", which traces the roots of our craze for revelatory "clothing" back to Hollywood in its early years. It is a simple and all but inevitable transition from scanty and revealing clothing (or lack thereof) to behaviour that more fully expresses the moral corruption behind popular dress. Little girls with thigh-high dresses, bare tummies, off-the-shoulder outfits will grow up seeing themselves as marketers of flesh, and of course they will act upon it. What else can they do? Fathers, begin early insisting on dressing your children modestly. This can be done with incredible class, I've known many little girls to grow up delighting in fancy and plain dress that is becoming of a christian lady, modest, and stylish. Watching some of these fine ladies in their courtships is amazing, there is a purity almost unknown in our culture. Yes, there remains a faithful remnant who have not bowed the knee to dianna or ashtar.... they have had fathers who have imparted an identy of purity, service, joy, security. Miley Cyrus lives in a different world. It is NOT a healthy one. And it IS possible to raise sons and daughters who do not, and will not. One must WANT to raise them so.

Jason Taylor

The process of following role-models is not destined to lead us into trouble in the sense of being deterministic. Rather we must choose the right role-models and remember their faults as well as their virtues. As the Bible gives us the (quite wart-plagued)examples of Peter the bad-tempered but faithful, David the half-savage but faithful, Paul the Persecutorial but ultimately faithful, surely we can go on from there and find role models that are useful while admiting their faults which serve as a guide for what to avoid.


As mom of an 18 year old girl, I see a culture where attitudes towards girls have moved from "protective" to "p---". This word (which might not be allowed hee) is the name for the person who procures young women for people.

When I was a girl, (the miniskirt era) there seemed to be a shift from modesty to "don't be repressive" "don't have hangups".

Girls directly bear most of the costs of irresponsible sex...but those of us who've either grown up in single or divorced parent families...or who have seen others in our family suffer this way...eventually bear the cost also.

I think that those wishing to shift this culture's main directions are partly accomplishing this through the young---I don't exactly know how this works, but somehow weakening the vow bonded nuclear family, promoting multiple sexual partners...works to shift our culture to---something more destructive.

Even a minimal nonreligious concept like "Don't have sex before you can raise a child..." is not even to be taught!


The influence of TV and movie stars cannot be underemphasized.

I grew up in a very conservative Christian home and was incredibly sheltered in many respects. At that time period, the Christian school I attended was even quite conservative, especially by modern standards.

And yet I remember preferring the cleavage-bearing dresses for my Barbie dolls and the like. People I saw in public who dressed scantily I easily rejected as dressing wrongly, as I had been taught.

But the actresses I watched on TV and in movies had this allure that said, this is what a woman is. That influence was much harder to fight. I still toed the line as I grew up, but the more I watched such things, the more the influence grew and the more struggles I had with temptation. I still struggle.


Yes, Once again I have an opinion on the entertainment industry & kids. Are you ready for it? Here it comes!

I have Two (coun'em - 2) words for young girls affected by the "Hannah Montana" virus:

SUPER (wait for it - wait for it) CHICK


Yes that's right. If you want your kids to have good role models, sometimes you have to give them some, but they need their own generation behind them on it. So, take 'em to the local Christian superstore and spend a day listening to music, looking at books/movies etc. Screen the ones that they like (not by style or taste but by content) & let them be "cool, modern kids."

Rachel Coleman

LeeQuod, do you speak from personal painful experience about hypercompetitive, unkind homeschoolers? If so, I am sorry to hear it. I know what you mean. Homeschooling can be a weird subculture with all sorts of taboos. This has led me to announce, sometimes randomly, "I am not raising you children to be little Homeschool Pharisees!"
Even with happily hs-ing parents, that old sin nature seems ever ready to rare up and next thing you know, you've got a caste system.

Rachel Coleman

David wrote:
"we must expend a great deal of effort - early and often- to help them see what "Paree" is all about."

Correct! I see it as a long process inoculating one's children against incorrect thought/values while simultaneously developing a taste for what is better. It's a whole-life-worldview battle you just have to take on, realizing it will be a long, slow grind ever separating you and your family from the more common not-Jesus ways to live.

You could always make it really easy (for yourself, anyway) by retreating to a farm to raise goats and farm honey and wear denim jumpers and have home church... but not everyone wants to do that. And how would any lost souls ever be converted if we all went off to live a Waco-like existence?

Thus far, our family seems to have succeeded in the grand inoculation scheme, with considerable input from my husband who has endured "dates" with his girls in the fingernail polish aisle of Walgreens and takes them to get their hair cut. We did start talking about modesty when they were tiny and not letting them wear trendy clothes that would look streetwalker-ish on an older girl. Why get used to tight shirts and short skirts if you will have to give them up at age 13? The same goes for gangster style for our son. I once refused to buy a Tshirt with the label "Rude Boyz" on the inside. It seemed like an overreaction at the time (he was 6) but I am glad now that I stuck to my guns.

We've given our girls some leeway to dress with pizzazz and originality , even encouraged them to find their own look, sewing their own, shopping resale, tolerating plaids with prints ... I know I'm rambling here.

Some key components:
* self image based on being created in God's image.
* correct understanding of self as unique. Why be a clone?
* rejection of consumer/herd mentality -- including or rather excluding the homeschool or Christian herd mentality as well -- significantly augmented by ...
* no TV! We watch DVDs we select, go on the Internet together, read voraciously both books and periodicals. We watch TV together when traveling. We're not afraid of TV, just don't want it in our house all the time.
* teach logic, thereby equipping them to recognize propaganda.
* AA is right! Learn to love Superchick. And Barlow Girl. And TobyMac. And Group1Crew. My husband and I have made a sport of identifying musical influences in popular Christian music, hollering "Funkadelic!" and "Derivative!" to our kids' chagrin.
* Caveat about contemporary Christian culture: apply the same careful scrutiny WITH YOUR KIDS to what they consume from that marketplace. If it's true and good, it should hold up under examination, and nothing except the Bible deserves a free pass.

That's enough of my know-it-all-ha!-or-at-least-some-of-it parenting thoughts.


Yes, dearest Rachel, I speak from personal experience that getting involved with homeschooling groups can backfire. Not only are there those who are so convinced they are without sin that their children happily cast the first stone, there are also those who sneer if you are not rigidly controlling every aspect of your child's development. Sometimes it was a competition over how much of the Bible they had memorized. (I'd foolishly focused on principles.) Sometimes it was behavior that was insufficiently Amish-like. (My mother and father taught their grandchildren a few words, simply by example, that if repeated apparently were worthy of casting into outer darkness. I prayed and worked for years to get my parents saved, but...) My children were rejected by almost every Christian environment we found for them. Only one of them is still a believer, and that only nominally.

Once you get 'em saved via the front door, there are just *so* many ways to throw 'em out the back door.

Now, let me point out a couple of things:
1. We met some wonderful homeschoolers and their parents along the way. It's just sad they weren't the ones to leave the strongest impression on my kids.
2. I'm not looking for sympathy here. I've cast my burdens upon the Lord, and I'll let Him work this out in His timing. Until then, I watch and pray.
3. I tried being bitter and cynical, but it just didn't work. There is just too much goodness and truth in the church for me to do that. Rub shoulders with a Rolley or an SBK regularly, or meet someone of the caliber of a Point blogger when they're speaking at a conference, and cares can seem less significant. It helps, too, to have started out Baptist where church=serving, because you can kinda bury yourself in work.

And to Gina's original point (no, G, I didn't forget), the behavior of Miley Cyrus and others not only causes children to go astray, it can cause the church doors to slam behind them. "We'll let you back in once you've cleaned up your act." That goes double for the slatterns themselves.

Unless, of course, that voice sounds *really good* on the worship team... ;-)

Gina Dalfonzo

That's really rough, LeeQuod. As I think I've mentioned, I had something of a similar experience during my school years. It's not easy. Thank God I had a great church to help remind me what authentic Christianity looked like.

Rachel Coleman

LeeQuod, I wasn't going trying to give you sympathy ... how about a hug? Your strategy as listed in No. 2 is on target. As my mother says, "I can't wait to see what God will do next."

This is an interesting point you bring up as you return to the original topic (I'll come along!) --
"the behavior of Miley Cyrus and others not only causes children to go astray, it can cause the church doors to slam behind them. "We'll let you back in once you've cleaned up your act." That goes double for the slatterns themselves."

I've been thinking about this in regard to my own church, where the wanderers find themselves politely shunned. When they do show up at church, folks seem uncertain about whether to smile and greet them, or pretend they didn't notice their arrival. This pains me, especially, because I was a PK who ran wild for near about 10 years. My dad's church loved me, loved me, loved me (from afar, because that's how I wanted it -- at arm's length!).

One of the sweetest memories I retain from that time, though, is the kind way a church elder approached me in a quiet corner of the room to say, "Lois [his wife] and I just love you so much." And he gave me a hug. I still tear up when I recall it.

If the question is "how do we, as a church body, include the immodestly dressed, not-quite-steady girls who have been tricked into imitating poor role models?" the only answers I know are to pray and to hug them. And then pray some more.

Rolley Haggard


My wife and I can relate. The year was 1997. Our only daughter left home at age 17 under circumstances similar to those you described. She has yet to “come home”, though at times we think we see a cloud the size of a man’s hand. (1 Kings 18:43ff)

I told her at the time,

“As you go, look into my eyes
And tell me what you see:
Is there love like the ocean depths
And passion like the sea?
Please don’t close the book too soon;
The hero isn’t evident until you’ve read every word.
In the long-abandoned room
A solitary candle will continue to burn.”

(excerpted from a poem titled “Galaxies”)

After 12 years, the candle still burns.

With ever a sympathetic shoulder to rub, or cry on (not if, but) when necessary.


Rachel Coleman

Gentlemen (LeeQuod and Rolley), keep the faith. I came back. My parents say they held on to God's promise to "restore the years the locusts have eaten," and he has.
The good thing about discussing these matters? More people pray! I will. God bless.

Rolley Haggard

Thanks, Rachel. You're a gem.



Points to Ponder.

You shall not make for yourself and idol.
Why are parents permitting (yes, permitting) their children to idolize other children? Aren't we as parents to take the role of leadership in our own households?
When I was young I was a pastors daughter and the expectations for me to be an example to the other children were extremely high. Not from my own parents, but from the parents of the other children. I was under seven years of age and expected to lead children down the right path. I was not prepared to do that. I was a child, a very curious child. Children are created to learn and to learn by example and when they are young the people they learn from the most are they're parents. Are we as parents taking our role far to lightly?

Honor your father and your mother.
Children are being taught this less and less. It is pivotally important. If they cannot honor the people who love them the most then how are they going to honor their spouses when it comes time for marriage? How are they going to honor the people they work for and with? Friends and family? Anyone? If they cannot honor their parents, how will they be able to honor any relationship?

You shall not murder.
No Melissa Joan Hart never appeared to be pregnant.
Now comes the pivotal story in my life. I have a daughter, conceived without marriage. I was leading a life apart from Yahweh. Though my parents prayed it didn't appear that I wouldn't return. My mum began to pray "whatever it takes Lord!" Little did she know what it would take. When I got pregnant, I could have had an abortion, as my daughter's father would have liked me too, and continued to lead the life that 'appeared' to be happy and healthy. No one would have known, except for her father and myself. But I chose a much more difficult route. I chose to carry my daughter to term and keep her. After this decision her father chose not to be around, I was 6 months pregnant when I last heard from him. She is now a happy, strong willed one year old and I don't regret my decision. What I do regret is that the Christian people, as they call themselves, were the first to harshly judge and be un-supportive. Though becoming a mother had brought me back within the loving arms of the grace of God, as well as a desire to live for Christ as never before. The church doors slammed in my face.
A couple of hours in a clinic is all an abortion would have taken, I did my research and I considered it. But I chose life and Christ. How many other Christian girls would make the choice that I did? Presented with the options, how many would choose exile and a life of parenting alone? I am truly thankful I have the support of my parents. As hard as it was for them to watch their little girl go through so much pain, their disappointment and feeling as though they failed. As hard as it still is for them, they support me.

As a parent I don't see and easy path before me. Even if I had a teammate (a husband and father) in raising my daughter I would still see a tough road ahead. Being a parent is hard and requires sacrifices on our behalf. The Lord would not have given us our children if He thought that we would do nothing but a lousy job. He knows that we are capable of raising sons and daughters with hearts after Him. With a knowledge of their self worth and the quality of a love life of sex within marriage. I am aware of its value because it is something I will never have. It took the birth of my daughter and of wanting the best for her to know that I am worth it too. Above all this I must realize that she belongs to someone much greater than I and that I have her only for a time and that time is precious! I am fully committed to my daughter's self worth. I am fully devoted to her mind, body and spirit. I will do all that is in my power for her education, care and edification. I will love her with all the love that God gives me. I will remember forever that it is by His grace alone that we are forgiven. That it is by God's grace alone she will be welcomed into his arms.


Gina, I've always admired your work greatly, but now even more by knowing what you overcame.

Rolley, to make reference to an old George Booth cartoon from The New Yorker, you always scrape off my barnacles so I float higher in the water. I cherish your words and delight in your companionship.

Rachel, you delight me.

Shereen, thank you for your willingness to share so much of yourself. Your daughter is very blessed to have you as a parent. Please remember that God is capable transforming anything into good, including your past. The only troublesome part of your post is this: "Aren't we as parents to take the role of leadership in our own households?" Modern culture (including that promoted by Ms. Cyrus and her colleagues) promotes the idea that children can and should successfully rebel against such leadership. (It is, of course, a lie as many of us know full well.) What does a leader do with a rebel who is willing to destroy a family just to get their way? In business, a leader simply fires the miscreant. In government, there is imprisonment and even capital punishment. (PFM's own Chuck Colson chose imprisonment to atone for his rebellion against his government while ostensibly in the service of it.) In parenting, the only option for the extreme rebel is exile - which in today's society is effectively capital punishment or else slow torture. Most parents hesitate to pronounce such a sentence, and the children know this. The result is often pathological to the family and to society at large. In the case of my wife and I, one of our children blames us for anything and everything negative that occurs, and manipulates us and others on that basis. (I just got off the phone...) So please just be aware that leadership can (as one might expect, but most of us don't) be extremely challenging. Training a child in how to be self-led is very difficult, and is something every parent *and their community* should be seeking. Although I still disagree with it, I'm beginning to better understand the practice of shunning - saying as a community that someone has acted in a manner so far beyond the pale of acceptable behavior, and has refused repeated entreaties for resolution and restoration, that only one solution is now acceptable. (I disagree with it because I think it is rarely practiced as it should be. But I can see that the principle is similar to imprisonment that seeks restorative justice - for those shunning practices that include a restoration clause, that is.) Thanks for listening, and for giving me the opportunity to support you in prayer as I support Rolley, Rachel, Gina and others.

Gina, one last thought for you and others: if the Christian community were to apply the principles of restorative justice to these Disney stars, how would that work? Could we, as a group of concerned parents and others, deliver a message that permits these young ladies to accept consequences from us that are non-draconian, but still significant? (I think of Mr. Colson being a convicted felon and therefore losing his ability to practice law, or vote.) And could the same model of repeat offense, with programs that strive to reform, operate in this context also? I'm going to meditate on PFM as a model for response to many societal situations, with both advantages and disadvantages. Thanks to your staff and particularly your founder for providing the model.

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