As I walked through a store, listening to the radio play in the background, one song made me stop in my tracks.

As I walked through a store, listening to the radio play in the background, one song made me stop in my tracks.

The sheer ugliness I heard in those lyrics, the lack of character that came through the speakers spoke volumes. And the fact that it was played on mainstream radio — that it indeed has spent more than half the year on the Top 100 chart — told me even more.

In recent weeks, I’ve written about teens who disrespect adults. I’ve written about women who disrespect themselves.

And the popularity of this song encapsulates the reasons why.

Perhaps you’ve heard “Billionaire” by Travie McCoy and Bruno Mar. Here are some of the oh-so-eloquent lyrics:

“I wanna be a billionaire so (expletive) bad.
Buy all of the things I never had
Uh, I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine
Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen

Oh every time I close my eyes
I see my name in shining lights
A different city every night oh
I swear the world better prepare
For when I’m a billionaire”

Listening to this song, it’s really no wonder why so many people have their priorities out of order. It’s no wonder they find self-worth in a BMW and self-esteem in a Botox injection.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with driving a BMW, nor do I have anything against Botox. But when they are a source of fulfillment, you’re fishing in the wrong lake.

As I listened to the “Billionaire” song, I wanted to cover my children’s ears and make sure they heard nothing but nursery rhymes for the next 20 years. I don’t want them growing up in a world where that song is normal, in a place where those words are OK. I don’t want them to see the pursuit of excess riches as a life goal.

But that is the world our children are growing up in. It’s a world where money and sex matter more than honesty, dependability and self-control.

I recently saw a concert on the “Today “ show, featuring singer Katy Perry. She was barely dressed and singing sexual lyrics — with grade-school girls singing alongside her in the audience.

Our kids deserve better than that. They deserve to know that they control their personal success. Money, fame and beauty can’t come to everyone. It doesn’t even come to those who work the hardest. But people with true character, who focus on others more than themselves, are undeniable successes.

I don’t think we truly want to raise a generation of rock star lookalikes. None of us want to know what happens when MTV starts dictating social values and standards.

When you look past the glitz and the glitter, MTV is a pretty ugly place. And kids are beautiful.
Let’s keep them that way.

Contact Elizabeth Davies at edavies@rrstar.com.