In the midst the recent glorious medley of Olympic achievements, one upset involving 11-year-old Harper Gruzins is juxtaposed in a peculiar and unnerving manner. This young girl’s poor rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” has attracted national attention. As a parent, I cringe at the attention she has received. Here’s why I think her performance went viral.
First, there is the “ouch” factor. Whenever we see another person make mistakes, we want to crawl under a rock for them. What if that happened to me or my own child, we wonder. But in this case, the “ouch” factor eludes me a bit. Didn’t her parents know that either she isn’t a particularly good singer—or that even if she is one, she may mess up in front of tens of thousands of people? I understand when a grown-up willingly walks into this type of situation, but how does a loving parent allow their child to end up in such a spot?
That’s easy to answer. We are a culture obsessed with the success and popularity of our children. If the world loves our child, then our child has won. They will become famous, “discovered,” wealthy, and they will have arrived. If that happens, then we have succeeded as parents. After all, isn’t the purpose of our lives as parents to insure the success of our children?