It’s a bit rare that a mainstream “pop” story captures my attention but Saturday I took a break from my chores to watch a bit of the Whitney Houston funeral. (At nearly four hours, if I watched the whole funeral, I would have gotten very few chores done.) My wife and I caught Kevin Costner’s eulogy of Whitney, one of the most touching and insightful I have seen. Costner related personal stories of their relationship during the filming of The Bodyguard and joked about how much the two had in common despite what one might think. The most perceptive part was when he said:
“To you, Bobbi Kristina (Whitney’s daughter) and to all those young girls who are dreaming that dream, thinking that maybe they aren’t good enough, I think Whitney would tell you, guard your bodies. And guard the precious miracle of your own life. Then sing your hearts out.”
Costner believed that Whitney’s personal issues and perhaps her death stemmed from a lack of self-esteem and confidence that she could not live up to the enormous expectations that obviously weighed her down. I can’t begin to understand Ms. Houston’s life but when I heard Costner speak, my mind immediately spun to my own kids and the hundreds of children I have taught or influenced through the years. How many of them are dealing with confidence issues or, unbeknownst to the adults in their life, are struggling with expectations they feel they cannot meet? So they retreat…they self-medicate…they make choices to befriend those who will accept them for who they are, even if these friends are poor influences.
Don’t underestimate the power that every one of you have to guide and care for our little guys and girls. They are forming their own perceptions of themselves early on and we are the adults they face every day, looking for positive interaction and a guiding hand. It’s a heavy but exciting responsibility.