Between the news and social media, there are mornings when we know what Kim Kardashian ate for breakfast before we even get out of bed to make our own. We, as a society, are always watching celebrities, fascinated by their every move, whether it’s what they eat, wear, say, or do. And when they do something wrong or act out of turn, we immediately accuse them of not being good role models. I’ve often found it interesting that we expect celebrities to be role models to our nation’s children, as opposed to taking on that role ourselves. Tiger Woods is a great golfer and Miley Cyrus is entertaining — but just because they excel in specific areas doesn’t mean we should assign them the jobs of being role models to our own kids.
I never thought a celebrity could serve as a better role model to my daughter than my husband and I could, so I was taken aback when one of my daughter’s most valuable lessons to date came from Rolling Stones frontman, Mick Jagger.
Two years ago, we were on holiday in our favorite place, Mustique (where Jagger owns a home). During our trip, there was a charity picnic and our daughter, Madison — who was four years old at the time — entered the event’s t-shirt contest. She painted her little heart out with a design that only a mother could love, so it was no surprise to me that she didn’t win, but it was clearly a surprise to her.
Being the good sport that he is, Mick acted as the contest’s master of ceremonies, announcing the winners and doling out prizes. So, after the awards were given out, Madison chased after Mick and his then girlfriend, the late L’Wren Scott, yelling, “Excuse me! Excuse me!” until they stopped and turned to see this toddler chasing them, painted t-shirt in hand. “You didn’t pick my t-shirt,” she said directly to Jagger. I was a few feet away, mortified, and I had to force myself to go over and fetch her. L’wren smiled, not sure what to do, and then continued walking toward their car. Mick stood there for a moment, took off his sunglasses to get a better look at this determined little child in front of him, and then bent down so he was eye-to-eye with her and gently said, “Sweetheart, I’m not a judge, so I don’t have a say in who wins. I just give out the awards.” She just stared at him, holding the shirt in her tiny hands. “May I see your shirt?” he asked, and she proudly smoothed it out across her chest for him to see. “It’s lovely. And if you keep at it, one day I’ll bet you’ll win,” he said. Satisfied with that line of encouragement, Madison gave Mick a giant smile and waved goodbye as he got into his car to go home. I remember being so appreciative for the way he handled this persistent little stranger, and was grateful to him — not as a fan to a celebrity, but as one parent to another.
The following year, Madison entered the competition again, but this time she was so preoccupied with playing with the new friends she’d made on the island that she didn’t pay much attention to the awards — and, frankly, I was kind of relieved.
A few weeks ago, Madison — now six years old and quite the artist — entered the competition for the third time. She was in it to win it. She planned out the scene she was going to paint, carefully selected her color palette, mixed her paints with precision, and got to work silently painting for nearly an hour. She was so confident she’d win that at one point she yelled to me, “Mom, I’m going home for a few minutes. If I win, will you get my trophy?” I laughed and told her I would, bracing myself for the disappointment that would likely ensue, considering how many children entered the contest.
Fast forward to an hour later, when Mick Jagger lifted Madison’s t-shirt up for the crowd to see, announcing it as the winner. My jaw dropped. My girl proudly went right up to him, shook his hand, picked up her trophy and prizes, and posed for a picture with him. When she came back to me, she said, “See, Mom, you just have to believe in yourself and never give up. Mick Jagger told me one day I’d win and today I did!”
This story is dedicated to Mick Jagger, the parent, not the legend. Thank you for encouraging a little girl you’d never met in such a way that, years later, it stuck with her and gave her the confidence to never give up. I hope she never forgets it.
Jenny Powers is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.