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Children in the Limelight

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

“The limelight is a tricky place, because you can’t believe what’s going on around you. You stop observing. You stop perceiving. You stop extending yourself, and you become isolated.” ~ Vera Farmiga

Fame = Success = Money

Yes or no?

From a young age, you are taught that the more famous you are, the more success you will obtain, and hence the more money you can earn. It’s what is portrayed on social media, throughout celebrity lifestyles, on magazine covers – and even before the time of technology, fame has been associated with some sort of recognition by being in the limelight.

Of course, having said this, I am aware that there are famous people across the world, who either choose to not put themselves out there, or those who don’t obtain the recognition that they deserve. Anyone you can think of?

I happened to come across a video just two weeks ago on The Ellen Show on YouTube, illustrating a 3-year old girl who is gymnast, and it was fascinating to see how incredibly talented and flexible she is at such a young age. It truly got me thinking, isn’t it so easy now to showcase your talent and be “recognised”? And this isn’t just through this one show; across the world there are an incredible amount of TV shows dedicated to finding talent and giving them the lucky chance to enter into the limelight. This is the opportunity that the youth have nowadays – albeit not just the youth, even otherwise (despite my article taking a focus on predominantly this age group).

Through the use of social media, talent and skills can be showcased and recognised in another form altogether. The term ‘child prodigy‘ takes on a new meaning, and there are videos and posts that go viral highlighting these children’s talents – in all forms; from singing, to general knowledge, to acting, to physical capabilities. It is assumed that through this display of their expertise, and the continued growth on the same – their lives will be set, as they will be able to enter into an industry that can provide them with some sort of fame or recognition.

Consider this aspect though; when you put a child onto that stage, not only are you allowing them to obtain this oh-so opportune moment, but you’re also letting the public eye scrutinise them.

And hence permitting for criticism too.

And criticism at such a young age can be so demoralising.

For children, this is only one of the problems I believe exists with youth talent that gets into the limelight at such a young age. Alternatively, what happens when children get so much attention at a young age? If they aren’t brought up right, can the making of their personality be held back? Parents would have dedicated their lives for their children. Their education. Their training. I’m not saying that all the children are spoilt – but it means that the full focus is on them. 

Hence then we take it back to the upbringing aspect. Whether we consider managers or their parents; the people who children surround themselves with are those who will influence them at the end of the day. Hence, their personality development is dependent on how they are treated and raised. There are two pathways that children can take after having been in the limelight for a fair while. One troublesome pathway is led by the curious mind of children who are excited and learning about new things – that can turn into external addictions such as drugs and alcohol for example. Alternately, the learning curve of being humble and down-to-earth also comes from those who surround us and teach us to do the same. There are several things that shouldn’t be encouraged at a young age, ideally, such as spending money unnecessarily, throwing tantrums, and allowing for self-importance – as its only allowing for future mishaps of the same as children grow up. Frankly, fame shouldn’t be a defining factor – even when surrounded by it – and its important to note that there is a life outside of the limelight.

A little snippet: My memories of my childhood take me back to the days in Malawi playing outdoors with my friends, getting soaked in the rain, scoldings from my Mother and just not having a care in the world. Isn’t your childhood your time for this? So many of us are fortunate to have just the simple things in life, and admittedly there are who aren’t, for various other reasons (if you consider poverty, broken families, or domestic violence to name a few examples). Furthermore, your childhood – and your twenties in fact as well – is the age to not only make mistakes, but develop all of your thinking and educate yourself. Repeatedly trying to make yourself the best at such a young age is considered ‘preparing yourself for the competitive world’, and yes – but you only get your childhood once. The notion of fame completely changes that. Perhaps there’s this introduction into the world of stardom and the limelight, wherein kids can attain the opportunity to enter into the field of movies or modelling  – but is that really worth more than a youth-filled, playful childhood?

I’m so open to debate this, because I believe that if you get so much fame and success at a young age, it can hinder your character building process – so let me clarify that I’m not meaning the limelight aspect in school (this can build confidence in fact); however I’m talking about on a much larger scale in the public eye.

What do you think?

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