Friday, October 4, 2013


    There are many things I want my children to be: honest, respectful, honorable, truthful, caring, kind, resourceful, hard-working. One thing I never want my children to be is popular. Certainly I want people to like my kids. I want them to have friends and I want those friendships to be deep and true. But please don't let them be popular.
     Popular is a fad and never lasts. To be popular is an endless race to conform to what everyone else is doing today. Tomorrow you must change again. There is no time to focus on who you really are as a person. All your time must be focused on what you look like, or what you are wearing, or just keeping up on the latest trends.

     Popularity is what turns a Disney princess into a drugged-out train-wreck prostituting herself in an attempt to shock the world and win a few more moments in the spotlight. The very nature of popularity forces you to compromise what you believe in. Let's be honest, having core values and principles that you stand by will often put you in very unpopular positions. Being popular is easy.  Being true to who you are is very difficult. It takes a very strong and confident person to hold true to what they believe with the cultural winds shifting from moment to moment.

     It has been said that character is who you are when no one is looking. I want that to be what my children focus on.  Most people don't have a clue what their true character is. How could they? We never take the time to ask ourselves what really make us who we are.  We flood our lives with so much stimulation that we don't have a moment to be quiet and contemplate the important things.  Our life has become a non-stop flood of flashing lights and noise. The quiet makes us uncomfortable. Being alone forces us to look at ourselves, and we don't like to do that.  We need to though. We need to take time to ask ourselves what we really believe. Not just what we think we should believe, but what truly drives the decisions we make every day. A person of character lives their lives the same when they are alone in their bedroom as they do when they are in the public spotlight.

     I want my children to be people of integrity.  The kind of people who are true to themselves and their convictions. I want them to be willing to take a stand for the truth when doing so is decidedly unpopular. Yes, they will be ridiculed.  They will be made fun of and uncomfortable and pressured to conform. But if I raise them right, then hopefully they will realize they are strong enough to handle the pressure. They will understand that trying to please other people is an impossible and pointless goal. A person of integrity stands for God and His principles which never change. At the end of the day they can look at them selves in the mirror without shame.

     Sure the popular people get all the attention and fame.  They can make fortunes selling themselves for public consumption. But popularity does not make you happy or content. If it did, then all those celebrities in their multi-million dollar mansions should be the happiest people in the world.  There would be no tabloids talking about their endless failed relationships and drug rehab stents.

     It is people of integrity and character who change the world.  They are focused on more than just the moment. They are willing to give up instant gratification for something more lasting and real.  They are often lambasted and ridiculed, dismissed as out of touch or crazy. The popular folks don't like them because they have no power over them.  The "In Crowd" is jealous of the fact that they are content with being true to themselves, and so seek to destroy them. But when the noise dies down and when the latest style has changed for the hundredth time, it is always those people with integrity and character who have changed the world and made it better.