The Hayride

A Finite Number Of Beats

A Finite Number Of Beats
February 16
10:50 2012

Whitney Houston is dead. To her family; I’m sorry for your loss. To the rest of the planet beating their collective chests and wailing about the unfairness of it all; shut-up and get over it.

USA Today sponsored editorials concerning both Houston’s death and people’s right to drop out of school at 16 years old. This is in order to understand why so many people quit school to try entering a hostile employment/unemployment arena of competition. What’s the connection between Houston and a poor work/career potential for drop-outs?

Maturity; or more specifically the lack of it.

Houston was a child prodigy with more attention paid to developing her money-making talent than the soul sheltering her self-worth. It’s been said a person’s personal growth halts at the advent of their first intake of an addictive substance. For many it’s alcohol or drugs; for others the addiction is acclaim and fame. When they can’t perform 24/7 they seek the drugs and alcohol to provide fame’s exhilaration or the sense of fulfilling pleasures and feelings of self-esteem.

For drop-outs, there are more factors involved than spoiling the child. Neglect and other forms of abuse surely come into play, but occasionally an over-abundance of praise for talents having nothing to do with reality displaces what the real world will present them. A child draws his worth from what he sees. From bad role models they learn bad behaviors.

Not everybody’s a superstar diva creating an elongated legacy while standing in fame’s spotlight. Not everybody’s a sports superstar earning millions to play a game millions play at recreationally.

Priorities are skewed badly. The applause for a good performance is loud. The acclamation for scoring the most points inflates the immature spirit. Self-perception races among the clouds. For good grades and citizenship; not so much.  Outsiders bask in the reflected glory of their progeny’s perceived greatness. Where they never personally could; they shine in their child’s light.

What happened to teaching kids humility? What happened to honor and sincere pride superseding arrogance? What happened to teaching a child the world recognizes contributions to his/her society moreso than the number of CDs sold, sports records set or enumerated trips to Rehab Centers?

A heart has a finite number of beats it will coordinate into a rhythm supporting a healthy life. If you artificially change that rhythm; accelerate it or slow it with drugs, alcohol or other abusive, self-destructive behaviors, a person’s life time-line shortens. Nobody knows the exact number of beats allowed an individual. We must support the individual person, not the self-consumed ego of prima-donna performers with no other sense of direction than to find their next fix. We must be the good examples the kids will follow.

NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley said we shouldn’t consider sports figures role models. Then I’d ask; is there anything more worthless than a sports figure?

What do you do other than make a lot of money performing a sports act? A trained chimp or bear can entertain and give momentary pleasure. You don’t cut inflation, increases crop yields or promote world peace. You can’t even soothe a kid with  common cold.

Every celebrity dying from violating their personal rhythm of life got what they sought: an early saddening death. They craved the attention they’re getting it absentia but can’t appreciate it. That appears to be a central element of people dropping out of school and others dying to be in the spotlight. They immaturely think they have all the answers to all of the great questions in life.  They don’t even know what the questions are. And their inner circle of parents, advisors and friends should be helping them learn; not promoting a worthless, so-called talent or ignoring them as they grow unattended.

People are apparently too enamored of basking in reflected spotlights. They should help young people see their place in the sun if they’ll recognize they’re valued as people for who they are and not merely what they do.

You can’t successfully bask in the artifice of a spotlight if you can’t exist securely in your own inner light.

Sorry Whitney. You blew it.

Thanks for listening.

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