Our Justin Bieber character-building experience

For some time, people have been telling our son how much he looks like Justin Bieber.  We definitely saw the similarity and kept telling Austin that he needed to find a look-a-like job and make some money.

Last summer, we were visiting our son and his wife who live in downtown Chicago.  As we walked to a destination, a car drove by with the windows rolled down.  The occupants of the car leaned out and yelled at Austin, “Hey Justin Bieber.”  That happened twice within days of each other.

A couple of weeks ago, Austin learned about an opportunity to be a Justin Bieber look-a-like.  It even paid $150!  He was so excited!

He followed the directions and sent in the above picture which was actually taken during a trip to Chicago in February.  He kept waiting for a response, but it took some time before he heard from the group.  He was chosen!  He was soooo excited!

When he received the email, he learned that this was a dance/rap/music group that was doing a song about Justin Bieber and that’s why they needed the look-a-like.  They wanted to know when he could come to Chicago to film the music video they were making.

Austin asked for more information about the song and what he would be doing in the video. They sent an mp3 of the song and they told him a little bit about what he’d be doing. That’s when Mark and I knew there was going to be a problem with this.

The song made fun of Justin Bieber.  It depicted Justin stealing a girlfriend from a rapper. And it had a few words of foul language in it.

Austin knew this was not good.  But he REALLY wanted the $150.  When I asked him to hear the song, he said, “Keep an open mind, mom.” That was my first clue he knew this wasn’t good.

Mark and I talked privately.  We both agreed that we could (and would, if necessary!) pull the plug on this job.  However, we felt the more important thing to do was for Austin to make this decision himself.

So we started asking questions.  Lots of them.  We tried hard not to impose our thoughts, encouraging Austin to think for himself.  He admitted that doing the video wasn’t honestly a big draw for him…it was the $150 that was so tempting.

On the third day, Mark started to ask another question and Austin said, “Dad, I’ve already written them back and told them I wasn’t their guy for the video.”

Can you say PROUD?  Really, really PROUD!

This was a stretching, parenting experience for Mark and I.  Honestly, we WANTED to lecture.  We WANTED to write an email to the group and chastise them for their lack of morals.  We WANTED to tell Austin what to do.  We WANTED to stop asking questions and be done with this whole thing.  But we asked God for the self-control to lead Austin so he could weigh out right and wrong himself and hopefully make the right decision himself.

It wasn’t the easiest way to deal with the situation, but we felt it was the right way to do this.  Hopefully, this laid a foundation for future decision-making opportunities about integrity issues in life.

What about you?  Have you ever led your child to make an integrity decision themselves? If your kids are too young for that, do you remember a time your parents led you to make a right decision rather than making it for you?

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9 Responses to Our Justin Bieber character-building experience

  1. Missy B. says:

    Our 5th grade son Jordan has a classmate who is often left out, teased, who doesn’t quite “fit in”. When asking Jordan about school one day, Jordan shared that this boy typically sits alone at lunch. Flabbergasted – how can this happen?! – I asked Jordan how he felt about the situation. He felt sorry for the other boy, but was also afraid to leave the comforts of his spot at the table with some “cool” kids. Being a new kid to the school, and trying to make his own way so he wouldn’t be rejected or ridiculed, it was a risky thing to leave the “mainstream” table to sit alone with this classmate. After talking about what God thought about the situation and how this other boy must feel, Jordan concluded that God would want him to do something. He decided to invite the boy to sit with him and the others. We encouraged Jordan to trust God, and to see how God would work in this situation as Jordan acted as Jesus’ “hands and feet”. The school counselor reports that the other boy’s behavior has changed significantly and attributes it to the fact that Jordan has helped him feel included and accepted. There are days when other boys get up and abandon the lunch table to find a new seat b/c they don’t want to sit near this kid. Jordan stays with him b/c as he says, “it’s the right thing to do.” Although hard, we’re trusting God to help Jordan through those situations and our prayer with Jordan is that through his acts of kindness, this boy will find faith in Christ. As a mom, it’s hard to watch my kid take these kinds of risks, to experience the discomfort of the rejection of his peers, to think of him being left behind as the other boys desert the lunch table for a more “cool” spot. But it’s been a training ground for me – to stand alongside my son and trust God. Here is a lesson that only God can teach him. I can talk and talk about how faithful God is, but here is a circumstance where Jordan can live it and experience it for himself. And I am reminded that Jesus himself was rejected by his peers, and that this is an opportunity for my young man to identify with Christ.

    • JillSavage says:

      Missy, that’s definitely been a character building experience for Jordan! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Anne McClane says:

    WOOHOO Austin!! I’m so proud of you!

  3. Deb Strom says:

    Way to go Austin!!!!! I am always proud of my son when he makes decisions like this! I can’t wait to share this story with my family 🙂 What encouragement!

  4. Donna says:

    Just had a similar experience with my daughter – I was overwhelmed by how good God is in my child’s life….and I had to share the story in my blog for all the world to see! (Not nearly as much of the world reads my blog as reads yours, but I shared with any and everyone who would listen!)
    Thanks for sharing your story….and your Justin Bieber look-alike pictures!
    http://anotherbattlewon.blogspot.com/2011/05/mistakes-and-mothers-day.html

  5. Melody says:

    Wow! Way to go Austin and way to go Jill and Mark! I know how exciting this was for you and I’m proud that each of you chose the right way to handle it!

  6. Rebekah says:

    Wow, you and Mark showed such restraint. Something I think we are going to need to learn as our oldest turns 15 in September. Well done on turning this tricky situation into a learning opportunity, and well done Austin for making this hard decision. I wish I could think ahead like that instead of reacting instantly with the decision I want my children to make. I learn so much from your posts about how you raise your children and teach them the values you believe in. Thank you.

  7. Deb Strom says:

    So I had to share this….I shared this story with my children and my 15 yr old son said “His parents should have paid him the $150 for making a wise decision” How funny!!!!

  8. Kent Ryan says:

    hahaha,.. Way to go Austin..

    Deb Storm: Nowadays kids knows how to talk about money.. LOL

    and for Justin Bieber, I’m not quite a fan.. But I heard in the Philippines that he showed wrong values,.. Its on youtube.. He almost hurt some fans.. Too bad..

    All the Glory to GOD.. =) GOD BLESS US ALL