There is a parable I once heard about a Native American boy who was walking one day high in the mountains. He came upon a snake shivering in the cold of the mountaintop who spoke to him and said, "Young boy, I am so cold in this high place. Will you carry me down into the valley where it is warm so that I may live?"
"I will not," the boy said, "for I know your colors. You are a poisonous serpent and once I am holding you, surely you will bite me."
"But I am desperate for your help," the snake said. "If I promise not to bite, will you then carry me down the mountain?"
Trusting the honor of the snake, the boy picked him up, placed him under his coat and carried him down the mountain.
After arriving in the valley the boy removed the snake from under his coat when suddenly it struck without warning and injected its deadly venom.
"But you promised," the boy cried, as he dropped the snake. "I trusted your word."
The snake smiled as he slithered away in the warm grass and said, "You knew what I was when you picked me up."
As Americans, we must not embrace the shrinking standards of the entertainment industry. We cannot be blind to the dangers that some performers offer as a substitute for talent or in the name of show business.
Across the nation, young children sat with their families watching the Super Bowl. During the halftime show, pop stars Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake sang "Rock Your Body" with lyrics like "I gotta have you naked by the end of this song." They then pulled a revealing stunt in an effort to shock the public and manipulate the media.
During that same halftime show, rap singer Nelly kept grabbing his crotch and he sang about taking off all his clothes.
We continue to see this kind of obscene and slimy behavior form such high-profile stars like Madonna, Britney Spears, Kobe Bryant and others.
But what raises even more concern is that there seems to be a growing acceptance of this behavior.
Like the parable, are we teaching our young people that it's safe to pick this standard up and carry it? We must help our children to recognize this danger and reject it. I want my children to know that true stars don't need obscenity to entertain or illegal drugs to reach for excellence -- no matter what they might see or hear on television. We can no longer trust the honor of the entertainment industry as we once did.
Parents and grandparents, talk to your children and then be the example. Show them with your time and your dollars that you do not support raunchy entertainment.
Media owners and mangers, please raise the bar.
Janet Jackson has talent with her beautiful singing voice. But we cannot accept poison in our punch. Demand better.