The admiration that kids have for celebrities fills me with trepidation. Obviously looking up to athletes and performers is nothing new, but the scandals that seem to be actively searched for and relentlessly reported is a more modern phenomenon. I doubt that celebrities were any “better behaved” years and years ago, but they certainly had more privacy in their foibles. I’ve seen (today’s) kids shattered by the “betrayal” of their role-model when a salacious story or mug shot hits the airways.
And yet…I can’t help but have faith in Lady Gaga’s new venture, the Born This Way foundation (BTWF). I am a fan of her music and I do admire her artistic vision even if I’d be unlikely to mimic her fashion sense. But I wasn’t a true admirer until more recently.
The coming out party, so to speak, for BTWF happened at Harvard at the end of February. It’s a collaborative project with her mother and is endorsed by a number of high-profile figures. Its mission is to embrace individuality and to create “a safe community that helps connect young people with the skills and opportunities they need to build a braver, kinder world.” Lofty. Well said.
But it was reading a “10 Questions” interview in Time a couple of weeks later that really captured my attention. First, she talked about offering love and support to bullies as well as victims because each is an “equally important and valuable member of society.” I love this because it stays true to the philosophy of acceptance. Then they asked her how an 11 year old girl could practice the BTWF ideals.
I would have expected “start a school-wide campaign and collect signatures on an anti-bullying contract” or “organize a costumed fun run in which everyone holds hands and gets a medal”, but she was down to earth.
“She could go up to one person in class who maybe is not one of the cool kids and say, ‘I really like your T-shirt.’ That would be her one great loving and accepting deed for the day.”
The best teachers are those who create manageable goals and with this one interview answer she earned my faith in what she can accomplish.
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