A concert with good music and life lessons Print
Youth Column
Written by Karen Osborne, Catholic News Service   
Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

I went to a One Direction concert with my niece last week. Many fellow adults winced when I told them. Some said they were "sympathetic," but, truth be told, I had a lot of fun.

It was comparatively low-key. There were pyrotechnics at the beginning and at the end of the concert. There were smoke machines and laser lights. But the producers kept the focus on the boys' singing, their talent and their looks. It also helped that band members sang live instead of lip-syncing to a track. They wore basic white T-shirts and jeans, and messy hair that didn't look styled (although I'm sure that was the point).

I've seen a lot of shows, and some become ridiculous spectacles, with lights blaring, costume changes, fire blowing out of every corner, helicopter props lifting and dropping dancers from the catwalks, intricate dance routines. These shows don't want to lose your attention for a second. There's always something in the corner, always some glitter or glitz ready to grab your attention.

The world will tell you that you need a lot of glitz to be a star. There are messages out there that will tell you that you need to be someone you're not, to change your friends, change your looks, change your values, your family and sell out to a material world that doesn't care for your soul.

You don't need to change any of that to be successful. What you need to be successful is not pyrotechnics but authenticity. You need to be yourself, find your God-given talents and develop them. You need to be around people who support you, and you need to stay away from people who tear you down.

When it comes down to it, success isn't about how much money you have or how many fireworks go off when you enter the room. It's about how many people you can help through your work, whether that's going to be singing, designing rockets or working to feed others in a restaurant.

Those lessons I learned while watching One Direction perform. Another lesson I learned from the show: Be grateful.

Sure, there were fireworks and building-sized display screens, but the thing that made the audience scream the most was when the boys thanked them for supporting their music by buying their albums, posters and merchandise. They didn't just give lip service. They gave thanks over and over again, and made sure everyone knew that they didn't forget the people who helped catapult them into stardom.

It goes to show that you don't always need to be flashy to make an impact. You just need to be your authentic self.

Look around the stadium of life. The show doesn't start when you graduate. It starts now. The audience is cheering, and the pyrotechnics are waiting for your entrance. What do you want to do when you step out on the stage? What do you want to be? What do you want to do? And what are you waiting for?

Karen Osborne contributes to “Coming of Age,” a CNS column series for and about youth. She is a staff writer for the Evangelist, newspaper of the Diocese of Albany, N.Y..


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