I'm pulling for Miley Cyrus. I really am.
(And if you don't know who Miley Cyrus is, follow the sound of the screaming 'tweens. For where two or more 'tweens are gathered, there is likely a Hannah Montana t-shirt or poster in the midst of them.)
Her show on the Disney channel is beloved of millions, and it's a good show--funny and clean and smart. My boys watch it faithfully, and I even watch it with them sometimes. I don't begrudge them clean TV--there's little enough of it.
When I heard that Miley and her dad were being interviewed by Oprah last week, I set the DVR. I wanted to see for myself if this squeaky-clean teen was the real deal. Would she be as down-to-earth as I'd hoped? Was her family as close-knit as I'd heard? Because, I have to admit, I'm skeptical that it's possible at all for any kid--no matter how grounded she is--to emerge from that lifestyle as a functional adult. It's a very important part of a child's emotional upbringing to learn that they are important, but they are not the center of the universe. How do you teach that to a 14 year old whose face appears on bed sheets and spiral notebooks?
Anyway, I watched the show, and Miley seemed fairly grounded, though I'll admit I was watching like a hawk for red flags. When her dad was interviewed, he spoke of their tight family unit and their faith, but he also spoke of how he "wants to be her best friend."
NO, Billy Ray, please don't be her best friend. Leave that to other 9th-grade girls. YOU be the guy that locks her little butt in her bedroom if she so much as looks at a nightclub. Please.
I desperately want this story to have a happy ending. I want for Miley Cyrus to be a 25- or 30-year-old woman someday with a healthy life, career and family. I hope she never sees the inside of a jail cell and that she never finds out what cocaine even looks like. I hope she's paying close attention to Lindsey and Britney and learning--really learning--from their mistakes. I hope her parents are watching her, very closely, and I hope they have courage to love her in the way that says "I will always do what's best for you."
I hope all this for her sake, but for the sake of all the kids watching her. And, I'll admit, I hope all this with a healthy dose skepticism, having seen what so often happens to child stars.
What do you think?