I've Got Bieber-Fever!

Hello. My name is Mark Anthony McCray. I am 39 years old. I was raised on Run DMC, Public Enemy, Eric B and Rakim and A Tribe Called Quest. You're more likely to catch me listening to Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def or The Roots than anybody else. My name is Mark Anthony McCray and now....I'm a Belie-BER!

When it's Daddy-Daughter Weekend, we usually don't watch a lot of movies. I am a geek and my daughters are normally subject to my geekiness so I prefer time with them in the park, taking in local festivals or we might go to the library or Half-Price Books. We rarely veg out and watch movies, but we took in two this weekend: "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" (maybe I'll blog about that another day) and "Never Say Never" aka the "life" story of Justin Bieber.

I have three daughters. They are 13, 11 and 10. I was outnumbered and overwhelmed by an irresistible force, so don't roll your eyes at ME!

Anyway, there are three main lessons of which I was reminded while taking in this young phenom's "life" story. (I'll keep putting "life" in quotation marks until he does a biography after he's turned at least 30.) Suffice to say, I was very impressed:

1. We become who we say we are. Justin (we're on a first name basis like that), said to himself and anyone who would listen that he was going sell out Madison Square Garden one day. I recognize that affirmation won't make things happen magically (or will it?), but I also recognize that the power of life and death is in the tongue. Our lives become the substance of what we speak.

2. Hard work is still the most misunderstood factor in success. The kid is SUPER-talented. Always was apparently. Singing, dancing, multiple instruments...all self-taught. There's no question he was special from the beginning. However, without hard work, it would have come to NOTHING. Likewise, there are areas in which you are special and almost beyond compare. How hard are you working in your areas of giftedness?

3. You can't stop a person who won't quit. There's always a way. Even though he was from a small town and a single-parent household, he "Never said never" and proceeded to perform at malls, on street corners and his big break came from uploading YouTube videos. No major label wanted to hear from him. There was no category for him in their minds. But he found an audience. He made an audience. It's hard to stop a person who won't be denied.

4. Girls will be girls. I enjoyed watching them laugh, swoon and sing along more than I have anything in a long time. And there's nothing wrong with that! I don't think he has a single lyric more controversial than "Baby, baby, oooooooooooo, girl!" so I'm good with him for now.

Whether you're a fan or not (I still can't say I know a single word of a single song), you have to learn to recognize and appreciate excellence - and learn from a good role model when he's staring you in the face...even if that role model is still too young to drive.