How does one explain Miley Cyrus?

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My 9-year-old daughter posed an interesting question recently. She wanted to know who I like better, Miley Cyrus or Hannah Montana. If this conversation were with an adult, the answer might have

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included some very unflattering words from me about Cyrus.

Taking a long moment of pause before answering, I told my daughter that I preferred Hannah Montana. Of course, my inquisitive daughter couldn’t leave well enough alone. “Why?” she asked.

How does one explain this preference delicately to a child, who spent many years idolizing the Hannah Montana character but is now mature enough to realize that Montana was fictional and Cyrus is real.

I found myself struggling to ridicule my daughter’s childhood hero. So, after some deflection, I explained that Cyrus had been overcome by media pressure to become something more widely accepted by a larger audience. I could tell the answer was perplexing, even to my precocious 9-year-old..

My daughter had heard lots of chat from friends about Cyrus’ performance at the Video Music Awards, where the nearly naked singer displayed an array of lewd gestures, sparking plenty of media criticism.

“She behaved inappropriately,” I explained, during this bizarre dinner conversation. “Hannah Montana was never inappropriate.”

Fortunately, my daughter seemed to accept this.

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Mark Barnes is the author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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