By M. Alexander
Yesterday, I was speaking with a group of sixth graders at a Jewish day school in the valley. We asked each student to name a person that they believe represents wholeness. They responded with answers ranging from “Mom and Dad” to “Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.” One young girl said, “Demi Lovato,” which stirred a response from a boy sitting a few seats over. “Demi Lovato?” he questioned. “She can’t represent wholeness—she’s done drugs.”
We told the students that each was entitled to their opinion, but questioned the ethic that wholeness is synonymous with perfection; rather, wholeness can spring from the embrace of imperfection. We tried to explain the paradox that is “Perfect Imperfection” in esoteric and Judaic terms, but Demi Lovato seemed to be a better way to get our point across.
We preach redemption. We contend that everybody errs. It is what you do to make t’shuvah that makes you human. “Where the repentant stands even the most saintly cannot reach.” The narrative arc of Demi Lovato’s life is not necessarily something that students should emulate, but the redemption part certainly is. Each student will come to a point in their life where they will make a mistake. And hopefully, our message shows them that this does not make them bad—it makes them human.
We are attempting to run a campaign that effectively counters the modern need to attain perfection. Hopefully, more children can be like the little girl who believes that Lovato’s redemption in something to look up to.