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Hannah Montana and an amoral mom

January 2, 2008 - Betsy Bethel
This little news item appeared inside the paper Sunday and almost escaped my notice.

Like many of you, I read the headlines and the first sentence or two of a newspaper article and then decide if I want to read the rest or move on. That's one of the many nice things about newspapers -- you have the choice to consume a particular story rather than being held captive by a broadcast. I mean, if you want to know the weather, you don't have to endure being relentlessly teased about it and subjected to annoying commercials before you get the information you want; you just turn to the weather page.

But I digress.

The headline that caught my eye read: "Girl Falsely Claims Father Died in Iraq." I was curious about what would make a girl claim such a tragedy — to gain sympathy or extra Christmas presents, perhaps?

But no, it turns out — I'm sure you've heard about this by now -- the 6-year-old wrote an essay in a retail store contest to win four tickets to the sold-out Hannah Montana concert in Albany, N.Y., on Jan. 9. Her essay won, but the store — Club Libby Liu — rescinded the prize after it determined the story was false.

Isn't it sad, I thought, that a little girl would be so misguided as to lie about her father's death in order to win tickets to a pop concert? How shocked her parents must be! I wondered how a girl of 6 could be so devious.

Then I continued to read, and of course, I found the real culprit.

Apparently the girl's mother, Priscilla Ceballos, wrote the essay for her daughter, concocting the heinous lie. Here is her statement: "We did the essay and that’s what we did to win. We did whatever we could do to win." She said when she was asked by Club Libby Liu if the essay were true, she admitted it was a lie.

This is just wrong on so many levels it addles the mind.

1. She makes up a story capitalizing on the tragedies of the war in Iraq, cheapening what so many families have had to endure.

2. She enters a contest for her daughter, teaching the girl it's OK for Mom to do all the work and to lie in the process to "win at all costs."

3. She seemingly has no shame about it, as if she'd done nothing wrong. She's probably moaning about how close she was to winning.

Playing the devil's advocate, one might say that she was only trying to make her daughter happy, and at least she came clean when asked about it.

Everyone wants to make their children happy, but your moral fiber has to be pretty threadbare for you to stoop as low as this mom did. Priscilla Ceballos needs a huge dose of Moral Metamucil!

As for telling the truth in the end ... thank goodness. That's the only redeeming part of the story. At least the little girl will learn a valuable lesson in the end -- that you don't get rewarded for doing wrong.

Unless, of course, some misguided do-gooder feels sorry for the girl and gets her tickets to the concert anyway.


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