I feel sorry for Billy Ray. He is finally realizing that the trajectory his daughter's life got on several years ago has taken her to a place that he never wanted her to go. And he regrets it.
I have been highly critical of Billy Ray in the past. When her first music video for her first big song was released, I said that I wanted to punch him in the face. Maybe I was harsh, but the dad in me couldn't stand that the dad in him allowed his teenage daughter to be marketed as a sex object.
I later wanted to punch him in the kidneys. That was after a video circulated of young Miley giving her 40 year old movie director a lap dance at a wrap party. Her dad's response: "that's just what teenagers do."
But, in a recent GQ article, it is apparent that now Billy Ray lives with regret. Regret that she did Hannah Montana. Regret that he didn't protect her better. Regret for all of it. His marriage has failed and his daughter appears to be moving further away from anything resembling the Christian faith she claims to embrace.
But Billy Ray is not alone. He is just like most of the parents I know.Their kids leave the nest and they have regrets.
Most of the parents I encounter don't worry about the poor choices their kids are making. They think it's no big deal. They are just going through the "teen years." These parents are not intentional as they lead and guide their children. They just go along with what everyone else is doing. And they don't realize what has happened until it's too late.
It's like what we read in James 1:14-15: "But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." Sometimes you don't see the effects of the temptation until it is birthed much later. Sadly, this can happen to many of us as parents as we watch our kids' lives.
The only difference between us and Billy Ray is that his life and pain are very public. So we would do very well to learn from him.
What is the trajectory that your kids' lives are on? What will happen when the little tendencies you see give birth to full-grown habits and behaviors? Do you need to make any adjustments as you parent?
I encourage you to read Focus on the Family's Jim Daly's thoughts on Billy Ray's regret in the following article. His insights are spot-on...