Sunday, May 15, 2011

Justin Bieber's Family (who knew, and what about you?)

I never thought I'd say this but, as Justin Bieber says, never say never. Today, I saw the commercial for his documentary, aptly titled Never Say Never, rented it on demand, and I loved it.  I've watched it twice.

I've got Bieber fever.

The fever is not about his songs which, frankly, are pretty catchy. Nor is it about his incredible dancing that made me want to enroll in dance classes again. It's not even about the fact that this kid can play the drums, the piano, and the guitar, really, really well. It's about the fact that he was raised by a teen mom, who split with his dad before his first birthday, and his maternal grandparents, and they seem to have done a really remarkable job.

Before I got the fever, I thought that Bieber was a machine pushed by eager fame-whore parents. It's quite the opposite. Early home videos show him playing the bongos, drums, guitars, and singing his little heart out all on his own, and really loving it. They show an amazingly young boy break dancing like a superstar. This kid was born to perform.

His mother, a quiet and kind woman who seems to want nothing more than wholesome things for her son, is very committed to him, and not in a Dina Lohan white-knuckle way. She looks out for his best interest, is protective, and seems to be as involved in his life as she can be. There isn't a trace of pageant mom in her. His grandparents, too, are obviously supportive and committed to their grandson's well-being. Love abounds all around this family. In fact, his manager (?) Scooter, looks out for him as a father would. Bieber's actual father does attend one of his shows and, while watching his son, he finds himself in tears. It's all good with the Bieber family.

Watching Never Say Never got me thinking about what kind of parent I am, and what I want for my child. Like most parents, I want my child to be both joyful and grounded. While we cannot give our children actual happiness, we can give them stability and support. We can create boundaries, and set behavioral expectations that are age appropriate and represent our family's morals. We can be loving, firm, and lead by example.

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