Synthetic: not natural or genuine; artificial or contrived:
We’ve all seen the American Idol try-outs and all of the other reality shows like America’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance etc… We’ve seen some great talent and we’ve some people that leave you wondering, “What were they thinking?”
The ones that crack me up are the ones where their parents yell at the judges for being idiots because they didn’t acknowledge their child’s talent. I know we all think our kids are wonderful. We all think our kids are the best looking and best at everything but it simply isn’t reality is it? There are talents your child has that mine never will. That has to be okay with me. My children can’t be great at everything. Giving them a false sense of who they are doesn’t help them either. We set them up to fail. We over-inflate their egos and then when real life hits they can’t cope.
A couple of years ago I watched a season of American Idol like someone who watches a train wreck. My heart went out to one contestant, Sanjaya, because he seemed like a nice kid but he didn’t sing anywhere on the same level as the others. He became a joke to the world that was very cruel to him berating his singing. Then there was the Internet site that was dedicated to voting for the worst singer and he kept winning. But it was synthetic because it could not be sustained. When he finally lost, it broke his heart. You could see it and your heart really went out to him. His 15 minutes of fame were over but it came with a cost to him personally.
It’s the same thing that we are seeing with young Hollywood today. Most of them have been pumped up synthetically that they can’t handle life. So they are drinking and driving and going to rehab and flipping out and it’s all because they see themselves in a pseudo reality. They think they can walk on water without help. It’s not just Hollywood it seems to be pervasive throughout society. Around the Sanjaya time frame there were the Barbie Bandits who robbed a bank and went on a shopping trip is a great example of a synthetic self image. One of their mothers said that they didn’t deserve to go to jail because they were good girls. Do good girls rob banks to have shopping money? What if the teller had been ill with a weak heart? What if there had been a shoot-out? There are so many scenarios that they didn’t care about or didn’t weigh, in either case it’s still deserves jail time.
Synthetic is not real. It has no substance that you can build on. So instead we pump up the plastic. But what happens to plastic when you turn up the heat? It melts and as it does it molds into different shapes getting smaller and smaller. It ends up nothing but a small piece of nothing it resembled in the first place.
In life you win some and you lose some and you get up either way and keep moving forward. There is nothing sadder than a person who lives out the rest of his life in his past glory trying to recapture that win again. Instead, God says we move from glory to glory. Sadder still is the person who is stuck in his loss and refuses to try again.
There is a real life with real pitfalls and real successes. We need to remember that even our kids have to follow rules because that is authentic. He understands that true winners are hard workers who have learned strategy and who play within the guidelines set before them. Synthetic winners are only winners when the environment is manipulated falsely and you are able to keep the temperature ambient. Eventually things in your arena heat up and the meltdown begins. Learn to be authentic. That is something that stands no matter the circumstance.
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When I went through counseling for my divorce, I asked Chuck (counselor) if over-indulgence was a form of abuse. He thought a moment and nodded emphatically. His reasoning went like this: If we give people what they have not earned early in life, they begin to expect it all the time without question. When the real world decidedly won’t do this for anybody including them, they their world falls apart and they either give up or live in bitterness.
We have a responsibility to not only our children but our friends as well to be authenticly loving, direct, graciously honest, merciful but never spare them when it will only hurt worse later.
Proverbs declares, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, abundant the kisses of an enemy.”
Love cares enough to rebuke, confront and limit. On the other hand, there’s never any reason to be cruel or cutting about what we say.
Love builds up, knowledge puffs up according to Paul. Wisdom will be justified by her deeds so we must follow it even when it’s painful.