Thanks to the wonder of Facebook, I woke up (at my normal time, thank you very much) last Friday to discover that way too many people I knew had already been up for hours watching the festivities from London. The wedding of Prince William and Kate (can I still call her that? I guess “Princess Catherine” is more appropriate now) has fascinated people around the world.
Brian Kirk wrote a column for Patheos last week entitled Royal Weddings and Real Marriage: What Might William and Kate Model for Teens? In it he asks:
How is popular culture helping to shape what teens and young adults think about marriage?
Another Kate’s wedding plans
I’d already been chewing on that question, because last Wednesday morning I happened to catch a few minutes of the Today show. Matt Lauer was interviewing (a very pregnant) Kate Hudson and noticed the engagement ring on her finger. In the midst of the “breaking news” of her engagement to Muse frontman Matt Bellamy, Matt asked her if they’d set a date. Here response was “I think we’re just going to [settle] into the baby thing for a little bit and figure out a good time.”
Have you heard about … ?
I don’t consider myself a person who follows the ins and outs of celebrity culture, but every time I stand in line at the grocery store, I have a chance to get caught up on all the latest news. Are they or aren’t they … Pregnant? Engaged? Separated? Back together? Planning the wedding of the year?
In a culture that follows the relationship ups and downs of celebrities, reality show stars, princes and pop stars, students are constantly hearing messages about relationships and seeing models of marriage that don’t line up with God’s plan. Couples live together, have kids, and often part ways without (any public expression of) regret. Weddings often seem to be nothing more than an afterthought (and an excuse for a big party).
More than music
When we talk about the influence of music and media in students’ lives, we’re not just talking about the lyrics of songs. The celebrity status of artists makes their relationship choices front page (or morning show) news. After the fifteenth-billion report on the-latest-couple-whose-mashed-up-names-should-be-copyrighted, it almost starts to seem normal.
Are you challenging your students not only about the lyrics they hear, but the lifestyle choices their favorite artists make? The outliers might seem obvious, but what about the “normal” artists who don’t dress in condom outfits or hatch from eggs? Seize the opportunity and have a conversation soon with a student (or two or 12) about how the choices their favorite celebs are making line up with God’s plan.