Sunday after the kid were tucked into bed, I sat down to fold some laundry (yes, I fold laundry…don’t judge me) and fired up the “idiot box” for a little Sunday night unwind time. I knew that the MTV VMA awards were coming on so I figured I would give it a “look see.” Through the magic that is twitter, it’s often fun to watch these award shows with the iPad handy to read the commentary and thoughts of others too.

The VMA’s have always been something to see. MTV usually does their best to bring some sort of shock value and give people something to talk about/debate/argue around the water cooler for the next week or so. Like it or not, it’s Marketing 101. Nothing sells like bad publicity and MTV has made a career out of it. When I was in college, we used to sneak over to Kenyon College to watch the VMA’s in their lobby because we didn’t have access to MTV at the Nazarene University I attended. It seemed silly at the time, but I kinda get it now.

If you’ve been on the web at all today, I don’t need to tell you what happened next. About 15-20 minutes into this program, Miley Cyrus set the pace for this years bad pub (as if Lady Gaga hadn’t already set the bar pretty low). Look, I’m not here to write an open letter to Miley Cyrus. There’s a million other bloggers and sites doing that. My only thought today is sadness for her. I don’t know who is making career and marketing choices for Miley. I don’t know if she’s making them alone or someone is forcing her into this. What I do know is that she can never get that back. This is her end of innocence.

Remember when the days were long
And rolled beneath a deep blue sky
Didn’t have a care in the world
With mommy and daddy standin’ by

(Don Henley)

Someone, somewhere is encouraging Miley to push that envelope. It doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t approve of the behavior, but she is buying the line that someone is telling her. Maybe it’s even a line she’s telling herself. While she continues to follow this formula, we watch her innocence fade away.

I lost my innocence too.

Just not on TV for the entire world and web to see.

Thank God for that.

This is the new world we live in. Moments are recorded, uploaded and replayed. This is my fear for my 3 kids. This is the sermon I give them. The internet is forever. Your moments, your decisions (good, bad or otherwise) will be recorded. They can and will be uploaded. They’ll be discussed, shared, “liked” and forwarded. They are forever.

Choose your moments wisely.

“The Boy” asked me once if growing up when I did was harder than it is now. My answer was that it wasn’t harder, it was different. Sure, there are challenges today and there is access today that we didn’t have. But what scares me the most is all of the apps, devices and sites that will capture it all. Thank goodness that my foolish choices and moments were not captured to be spread around and forever remain. Living with the memories is hard enough. Seeing them recorded and replayed is even harder.

I had three thoughts last night.

1.) This is a moment that Miley will never be able to get back.

2.) What will she think in the morning.

3.) She doesn’t need critics. Her mirror will be the only one she needs.

I can’t stand in judgment of Miley Cyrus. I can hope that her family and those closest to her step in and soon. What breaks my heart is that last night, we witnessed the end of her innocence and she’ll never get that back.

My challenge as a father is to make sure that my three children understand just how important their innocence is and to hold onto it. Defend it. Cherish it. Treat it with care. Respect it. Own it. Know that Jesus died for it. It was that important to Him. It’s that important to me. It should be that precious to them too.

If you haven’t watched the Moriah Peters film yet, you need to. One of those rare stories that makes innocence beautiful and powerful.

Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 5.05.28 PMAaron Conrad: I’m a husband, father and follower of Jesus. It is my hope that in each category, I am as quick  to point out my failures as I am any success. I led an I Am Second group in Columbus and most recently helped write for the 60 day launch of the I Am Second book. I started a personal blog 8 years ago and somehow, it’s still going strong. You can find me on the web at, and tweeting @aaronconrad. My name is Aaron Conrad and I Am Second.