What Justin Beiber Can Learn from Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple Black died this week at age 86. She was a personal hero of mine and displayed grace, intelligence, talent, humility and resilience in her long lifetime. She started as a child star, grew to be a lovely woman who moved from acting to motherhood and wife and then into politics where she served as Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia and as Chief of Protocol of the United States.
That's a lot to fit in any lifetime -- and there were 1,000 ways it could have gone wrong. Here are three lessons any child star can learn from the life of Shirley Temple (Justin Beiber: Please read this):
1. KNOW WHEN TO GET OFF THE STAGE. When your personal life is too much and your particular skill is not what the public wants to see -- don't go nuts, just get off the stage and work on your next phase of life. When the studios couldn't use Shirley Temple as the "Little Miss Sunshine" anymore, she took her success and her drive and moved to a different phase.
2, KNOW HOW TO LOVE OTHER PEOPLE -- MORE THAN YOURSELF. Shirley Temple died with her loving family gathered around. She DID love her family. After a daughter and a failed marriage, Shirley Temple remarried and had three more kids and a devoted husband who preceded her in death. From all accounts, she knew the importance of family and knew that protecting them and loving them was her greatest responsibility. That responsibility trumped any fame she might gather or fans she might appease.
3. BE SMARTER TOMORROW THAN YOU ARE TODAY. A child star who lived in the spotlight and didn't have the 'traditional' life most of us have would have a hard time melding into regular society. Shirley Temple never stopped learning and never stopped working her talents to suit new endeavors. She said once that politics was a lot like acting . .. and her skills in acting helped her be the forceful presence she needed to be in politics.
We won't ever see another like Shirley Temple. I watched "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" last night in her honor (my favorite Shirley Temple movie) and was, once again, astounded by the talent of a little girl who grew into an example of a great woman. If only more child stars could follow her amazing example.