I'm fascinated by 10-year-old Heather Russell, the newest tween singing sensation that's captivated America. While she may or may not be the next Justin Bieber or Mariah Carey, she does make me think a lot about my own children and what amazing hidden talents they have that I'm not nurturing. She also makes me wonder if I would want the world to know about those talents even if they do possess them.
There are so many young child stars -- musicians and actors -- who have suffered such horrible fates, it's almost unthinkable that you would subject your children to that life. You look at Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Demi Lovato, and countless others, and think there's no way in hell you would ever want your child on the same path, to be pushed into the spotlight at such a young age.
But if you hold them back, are you also robbing them of the opportunity of a lifetime?
I posted the original article I wrote about Heather Russell on my Facebook page, and a debate ensued.
One friend posted, "The parents need to wait until she's at least 18. So wrong to pimp her out so early."
Oh yes, echoes of Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus ...
Then another disagreed:
"I grew up in the industry as a child performer and it was a life saver for me, personally. I always worked as a performer but never had big fame and maybe that's they key -- because I feel pretty healthy and well adjusted."
I guess that's the thing -- you never know until you go down that road just how you or your child will handle the situation. Of course we always think we would know better, we would do it differently, but so much of it seems out of parents' control once media, agents, and fame take over. And that's frightening.
Given all that, however, I wouldn't hold my children back from what could be a career of a lifetime because of what ifs -- no matter how scared I was, no matter how much people accused me of pimping them. I wouldn't force them into anything, but if it was something they wanted, I would do everything in my power to help them do it.
It seems like a waste not to share such talent with the world, to not pursue a dream with everything you have no matter how young you are. While we can say there's always tomorrow, she could always do it later, that's not always the case. Sometimes you have to just seize the moment ... and hope for the best.
Good luck to Heather ... and her parents. Perhaps they can set a good example and lessen the fear for others who follow.
If your child could sing like Heather Russell, would you try to help him or her seek stardom?
Image via YouTube