Reba McEntire recently spoke out about why it was important for her to raise her son to grow up to be as humble as possible despite the wealthy lifestyle he grew up in and how she accomplished that goal.
While McEntire is known worldwide as a country music legend, she made a concerted effort to make sure her son Shelby, whom she welcomed in 1990 with then-husband Narvel Blackstock, did not grow up to be unkind. She wanted to make sure she passed the values she learned from her parents down to her son so he would grow up to be a gentleman.
McEntire grew up in Chockie, Oklahoma, and says her parents instilled a lot of Southern values in her and that she hoped to do the same for her son. One of the ways she would do this is by never taking it easy on her son and giving him the impression that he was entitled or deserved to win every time.
“When we would play games or cards, I’d never let Shelby win,” Reba told People magazine. “He wouldn’t have learned anything that way. I always told Shelby, ‘I’ll always love you, but I want other people to like you. So don’t be a little jerk. Don’t be a spoiled brat.'”
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It seems McEntire’s hard work has paid off. She notes people have told her they “would never know (he) had been blessed with the life he was given” had they not already known he was the country legend’s son.
“I’m very proud of him,” McEntire said. “He was a kid who had ADHD and could barely read in school, and now he’s read 10 books this year. He’s always trying to improve and do better. His daddy did a great job too.”
McEntire had already become a country music star after releasing her first single to land in the Top 10, “(You Lift Me) Up to Heaven,” in 1980, ten years before giving birth to Shelby.
McEntire has won 16 Academy of Country Music Awards, three Grammy Awards and eight CMA Awards with 59 top-10 hits on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, 24 of them charting at No. 1.
Despite her success, McEntire says welcoming Shelby changed her life for the better, opening her eyes to what is important in life and giving her a deeper purpose.
“Shelby is a gift from God to me,” she said. “We’re very close. I was a very self-centered person to a degree before Shelby. But then there’s a little character who you are given the job to protect and nurture and love and teach, so all the attention’s not on you anymore.”
While she tried to be there with her son as much as possible, McEntire admitted to having help, something she is very grateful for. It allowed her to balance her career with her desire to be a good mother.
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“I had the best nannies, and I took him on the road with me,” McEntire said. “When I couldn’t, I would fly home after a concert, get him up in the morning, take him to school and pick him up. We’d play until I had to fly out again for a concert that night. I wanted to be with Shelby. Still do.”
McEntire’s close bond with Shelby remains to this day. Although she spends a lot of time in Albuquerque, New Mexico, filming the show “Big Sky,” she always looks forward to her time off when she is able to visit her son and his wife Marissa Branch in Nashville.
“Shelby and Marissa are very busy with their jobs, but when I do get to go home to Nashville, we have brunch or a dinner and see them,” McEntire said.
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