"Alright then, what's your favorite Justin Bieber song?" I asked the girls in a tone that indicated I'd given up trying to stay aloof. They talk about this guy so much and know all his songs, and I am at the point now that I realize I must re-enter the toxic world of the female teenage mind, at the risk my own sanity. I know… love does crazy things.
"Bieber fever" has taken the nation by storm, and captured the crazed hormones of teenaged girls everywhere… including the handful of dear African girls in our youth group. This phenomenon is not new. I am old enough to know that other singers and bands have blazed this trail before, from Elvis Presley, to The Beatles, to The Backstreet Boys… and I'm young enough to admit that I too got caught up in the boy bands of my own generation. Cute boys with cool hair cuts, flirty lyrics, and great moves will always have a mysterious power over young girls – it's happened so many times that I'm almost convinced that it's part of the curse and the first Adam would have been a member of N*Sync, crooning love songs and making Eve swoon every time he said the word "Baby."
I sigh when I recall the blind obsessions of me and my girl friends ten and fifteen years ago, and my first thought is that the male population needs a lesson in chivalry. Since I cannot accomplish that, I wish I could just put my arm around my girls now, look them in the eye, and say, "Knock it off… it's not real, it won't last, and it's a waste of energy that you could be spending developing your own noble and honorable character for a real man who will some day say these words and actually mean them for you and you alone." But wisdom and reason sometimes take a backseat when a girl can look at a wall-poster of a handsome face that won't leave or stop smiling at her, or when she can listen to a smooth voice on the radio every night singing that she is the only girl for him. So how do we as leaders deal with the next one-hit-wonder and Pied Piper of pop music? My theory is "Validate and Guide."
So, back to the original question… we're all sitting around the table together eating ice cream, and I scoop up a big bite, anticipating the girls arguing over which of the boy-wonder's songs they love the most. But before I can get my spoon to my mouth, they practically say one word simultaneously – "Pray!" "Oh man, Pray is such a good song… it always makes me cry… I love that song…" Some of the girls start singing the lyrics and dancing. Interesting… I think to myself and make a mental note to look it up later… enter the danger zone now – look out, Bieber world, here I come!