DALLAS – I was driving my 15-year-old daughter, Rachael, to school the other day.
"Do we have to listen to the news?" she asked, already switching the tuner from AM to FM.
"No, you can change the channel," I answered, as if I had any actual say.
After 30 seconds of scanning every station, she remembered nobody plays music in the morning.
"Ugh," she said, digging in her backpack, "I forgot my iPod."
So she scrolled through my iPod to see if by some miracle my musical tastes have changed.
"Slightly Stoopid, ewww."
"G. Love, as if."
"The Cure, puh-leeze."
She kept scrolling.
"Anything but Linkin Park," I said, "not at 8:20 in the morning."
She suddenly stopped scrolling, and shot me what I can only call an "accusatory" look.
She showed me my own iPod.
"THIS…Do you seriously have Britney Spears on your iPod?"
I tried to use my grownup voice.
"Yes. It's her new album. It's surprisingly good."
"Dad," she said earnestly, "Britney Spears is not a good role model, she's disgusting."
Before I could respond, Linkin Park began destroying my car speakers.
'Supporting a train wreck'
It could have just ended there, but it didn't. That night she waited until the whole family was together in the kitchen to bring it up again.
"Dad downloaded the new Britney Spears album," she said casually.
My 12-year-old daughter, Madison, stifled a laugh.
"You're kidding," my wife said to me. I suddenly realized where Rachael got her "accusatory" look from. "Why would you give her our money? You're just supporting a train wreck."
I didn't have an answer.
"That's kind of harsh," I said, hoping that would be the end of it.
But it wasn't. For the past couple of weeks, I've been trying to answer that question for myself. It's literally kept me up at night.
Why did I buy the Britney Spears album?
I should mention that I've never been a Britney Spears fan. When Rachael was nine years old, she begged me to take her to a concert. I did…it was torture.
And it's impossible to see anything positive in Spears' personal life. There's no need for me to go into the sordid details. If you live in America, you already know about her alleged problems with substance abuse, all-night partying, driving disasters, marital strife and unstable behavior. Most importantly, you know her actions may have endangered her children. She has lost custody of both, and this week a judge suspended her visitation rights indefinitely.
Britney Spears has no one to blame for any of this but herself.
But is it really necessary to enjoy watching her self-destruct?
Hoping for a second chance
If most of us had a friend or family member in her situation, we'd be grief-stricken. We would pray she gets help, or has a "moment of clarity" and realizes she's putting herself in jeopardy. A family spokesperson last week publicly asked for Americans to pray for Britney.
"I would really hope that that those who seek God for strength in their life would be interceding for this family," said Lou Taylor on the Today Show.
Instead, people are betting on whether Britney will overdose or die in a car accident. There's even a website offering a Sony Playstation 3 to the person who picks the date of Britney Spears' death. The paparazzi chase her around to capture every down-spiraling minute.
Have I seen the pictures? Yep.
Read the lurid details? Sure.
Been morbidly entertained? Yes.
As a person of faith, I believe in second chances, and third, and fourth for that matter. Britney Spears may not deserve it, but it's not for me to decide. Yeah, I'll pray for Britney Spears, as naïve as that may sound to some of you, because her family asked.
So, in thinking about it I discovered the real reason I bought Britney Spears' new album. It's a symbolic vote for a second chance.
Plus it's got a beat you can dance to.