Philip Seymour Hoffman died with a needle sticking out of his arm. By all reports: tragic. Oscar-winning, wealthy, successful actor slipped back into addiction and his life ended. All the money, fame, accolades, golden statues - those things that we think of as important - did nothing to help solve a mental illness or give him the support he needed. One's station does not preclude emotional/mental illness.
Amy Chua and her husband have published a book and apparently this week is the release and start of promotion, because I've seen a couple of Facebook posts about it. Amy Chua, in 2011, published a book called "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." A horrible autobiographical account of how she has pushed her two daughters to be the best at everything they do. They were not allowed to get anything less than an A at school. They were not allowed to go to sleepovers. They had to play either Violin or Piano and had to practice 2 hours per day. When one of them gave her a homemade card, she gave it back and told her daughter it wasn't good enough. I wrote a blog post about it after I read the book (I can't find it to share it - hmmm). It made me so sad for her daughters and so angry at this woman whose priorities were obviously so screwed up.
These two actions have brought me (yet again) to the same conclusion: fame, wealth, "success" - these are not important things in life. Love, security, a sense of worth, a sense of self, understanding the world, understanding other people - those are important. I want my son to do what HE wants with his life, and to enjoy it. I don't care if he makes a ton of money or is famous. I want him to be happy. I want him to feel secure enough and loved enough in life that he doesn't have to fill a void with money or drugs. I want him to feel that he can choose what he puts his energies into, and that I'll support him no matter what he chooses for himself. I don't want him chasing fame - because no matter how famous a person gets, they are looking outside of themselves for a sense of worth, and it can't be found there. I don't want him chasing money - because no matter how much money someone has, if they put price tag on their self-worth, they will never have enough money. I don't want him chasing success - no matter how "successful" a person becomes, it is never enough for some people.
Priorities are so fucked up in our culture.