“Come over after school,” Caroline said. “I have the new CD by Alisha.” (Artist’s name has been changed.)
I gasped. “OK!” Even though Grandma was taking me shopping for my birthday on Saturday, I couldn’t wait that long. I was desperate to hear the new CD right away.
Alisha was my hero. Caroline and I pretended to be her, holding hairbrushes like microphones and singing along with her music. Sometimes Mom asked us to keep it down, but she didn’t mind our noise that much because Alisha’s lyrics were so good. Alisha was religious—I had read it in a magazine.
After school I hurried to my room and finished my homework. Alisha’s smile beamed down at me from the poster tacked above my desk.
When I finally bounded across the street to Caroline’s house, she handed me the CD cover and bubbled, “Isn’t she so pretty?”
I nodded, but my stomach felt funny. Alisha wasn’t smiling this time; her expression was more like a sneer. And I had never seen a photo of her dressed like that.
“Don’t you think her outfit is a little immodest?” I asked.
Caroline frowned. “Yeah, but maybe her church doesn’t care about stuff like that. She probably doesn’t know any better. Now listen—this is my favorite song.” She pushed the play button as I skimmed the lyrics printed in the CD jacket. I felt relieved that there weren’t any swear words.
“See? This CD is fine,” I told myself. But a dull feeling followed me home that night.
* * * *
On Saturday morning I watched cartoons, waiting for Grandma to pick me up for our shopping trip. During a commercial, an announcer said that Alisha’s new music video would be shown at the end of the program!
Mom came into the family room just as the music started. “What are you watching?” She smiled and sat down.
“It’s the new Alisha video.” I tried to sound casual.
Mom’s smile disappeared as she watched Alisha dance across the screen. She looked at me and raised her eyebrows.
I squirmed. “Just because she’s wearing that outfit doesn’t mean the song is bad.”
“Are you sure?”
I wished the video would hurry and end, but it kept going. Finally I switched the TV off. Mom was silent, watching me.
“I read the lyrics,” I mumbled. “There weren’t any swear words.”
She pointed at the darkened TV screen. “But Alisha is still sending a message. You don’t have to say bad words to drive away the Spirit.”
A feeling inside told me that Mom was right. Maybe I didn’t understand what Alisha was suggesting, but the Holy Ghost knew—and His influence had left.
I trudged to my room and looked at my poster of grinning Alisha. I didn’t grin back. Why had my hero changed?
A car honked in the driveway, so I swallowed the lump rising in my throat and ran outside.
“Hi, birthday girl,” Grandma greeted me as I climbed into her van. “Where to?”
All week my decision had been made, but now I wasn’t sure. “Let me think for a second.”
Caroline’s words about Alisha popped into my head: “She probably doesn’t know any better.” It had sounded like a good excuse, but now I knew why it wasn’t—because I knew better!
The dark feeling melted away as I realized something important. I was a daughter of God, and I didn’t need another hero. Why should I admire someone who didn’t even know who she was? “I should be Alisha’s hero,” I thought with a giggle. Grandma gave me a questioning look.
“Can we go to a clothes store?” I asked. “I’ve almost outgrown my favorite blue church dress.”
“Good idea. You look really pretty in blue.”
I smiled. I looked pretty with the Spirit glowing inside too—prettier than a famous pop star could ever be.
“The decisions you make now will determine much of what will follow during your life and throughout eternity.”
The First Presidency, For the Strength of Youth (2001), 2.