It is not Simon Cowell’s fault that these singers are so terrible. I keep hearing people from parenting organizations and even Bill O’Reilly raking American Idol over the coals for dashing the dreams of terrible singers. I disagree with those folks. Simon is not to blame.
In an interview this morning Cowell said 99% of the people who audition truly believe that they are the best in America. Where did this belief come from? Friends and family. I remember reading one of Dr. Dobson’s books during our foster-parent training. He made what I believe is an excellent point: undeserved praise hurts your children. So often we praise our children for talents they don’t really have. We do so to “raise their self-esteem”. The problem is that they believe us. The other problem is that we are not being honest. Dishonesty always has a way of coming to light, and in the most painful of ways.
This brings us back to American Idol. Someone has told these poor misguided folks they are incredibly talented, and the truth comes hard. I’m not defending everything Simon Cowell says, but sometimes he’s just telling them what their family refused to. Shame on their family for lying. Shame on their family for setting their sons and daughters up for a nationally televised fall.
Every time I watch it I literally promise my daughter I will never tell her she has talent that doesn’t really exist. I would never want her to go through the pain some of these folks have been through. The truth would not have hurt nearly so much if it had come humbly from loved ones sooner. I don’t want Emma thinking her daddy wouldn’t tell her the truth and set her up for a fall. Trust is far too hard to build back.
There is another problem with unwarranted praise. It ignores the true talent of the child. I believe everyone who has auditioned on AI has a gift that has likely been ignored, undeveloped, and stifled by the lies that brought them to the audition. Isn’t that a shame? Instead of a fall, a truly thoughtful group of friends and family could have built them up instead of being accomplices, however unwittingly, in bringing them down.
So, I promise you, Emma, not only will I not tell you that you have talents you don’t, but I also promise to cheer you on as you build on those God has given you.