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Katy Perry Says

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. (Psalms 103:13-14)


Last week I saw an article about the singer Katy Perry. She had interviewed with Vanity Fair magazine and shared her opinion on Christianity. It was not a favourable opinion. Her parents, she recounts were extremely strict and Perry says her it robbed her of her childhood. Secular music and secular books were rejected; the Bible was the only book allowed. It seems that more so than keeping Katy Perry unspotted from the world, her parents effectively inoculated her against their faith. 1


This is most troubling. Honestly based on what she shared, I cannot blame her for being put off by the faith of her mother and father. The truly sad thing is that since she is an influential person in the pop culture for young people the chances are that many will accept her assessment uncritically. Certainly we are responsible for our decisions but we are social beings and peer pressure is, well, peer pressure. Her parents wanted to protect her from worldly influences to keep Katy close to their religion but it totally backfired.


What can we learn from all of this? Parenting is difficult because, a) children are not birthed with a manual and b) each child is different. Put another way, what works with one child may not work with another. If your child is an extravert, sending him or her to the corner is true punishment; for the introverted, shy child this may not have the same impact as the outgoing sibling. Children are not robots and instinctively resent any attempts to make them one. They need a certain amount of freedom to learn and discover their interests and gifts. I have seen parents grip their child with a hand of iron; most often the children slip through their fingers because the grip strangles them and is fosters resentment. People instinctively run from those whose grip is strong and imprisoning.  Even if the child is outwardly compliant, the mind and heart are their own. Lord help us not to be the root cause of rebellion against God in our children. Truly in such a case the rebellion is against us, not God.


Now, please, don’t talk to me about the need for discipline. Raising children with discipline is both scriptural and good horse sense (the two do not exclude the other). Anyone who has ever been around a child not disciplined understands the point. There is a marked difference, however, between discipline and tyranny. Parents can be in control of the household (they should) and still treat their children with kindness and dignity. When I was coming up I had the great mercy to have a mother who, although she was one of four girls, understood boys. We had a free, fun childhood. Mother disciplined us (she could swing a switch) but she loved us deeply and gave the blessed gift of self-discovery.


Please don’t ask me if I am advocating children seeing any and everything on TV, in theatres and on the net because I am not. You as a parent should attempt to control (you have less control than you think) over what you children are exposed too. Parents have a duck-fit over their children exposed to any sexuality (if they watch prime time they are exposed, not that I am advocating it) but will allow them to watch entertainment that shows unbridled violence and the dehumanization of women and children. Or they allow a reality show where people get ahead in the game by deceit and manipulation. Rampant uncontrolled sexual activity is a problem for this nation but so too is the increasing level of violence in our society and the cheapening of human life. My point is not to be legalistic but to show different sides to the issue. The point is that the values of our media culture are often at variance with Christianity but you cannot lock your children in social and cultural solitary confinement.


Teach your children the faith by church attendance and life modelling. Love them with kindness and gentleness. Set your standards humanely and intelligently. You cannot protect them against every bad influence but they do need protection. Never fear to admit your mistakes with them and apologize when you are wrong. You are not perfect; don’t expect them to be. Did I get it right? So often I failed but I kept trying to do my best and I have seen blessings result. Let your children have fun; let them be children. Let them see you have fun, love your spouse and love God.


1. Katy Perry “Christianity isn’t fun.” ( 5/4/2011 3:08:33 PM -08:00 )



Copyright © 2011 Brian Bailey, Author