Cat’s in the Cradle: Father’s Day Thoughts

In 1974, folk singer Harry Chapin released the song Cat’s in the Cradle.  The  song told the story of a father who, despite his best intentions, never seemed to have enough time for his kids. There was always something more pressing, a priority more urgent. Of course, over time the father implicitly taught this lesson to his children. Later when he noticed that his son now embraced these lessons, the father mournfully realizes that his “boy was just like me.”

It would convenient to leap to the conclusion that the best measure of a father is his children, especially easy for me because of three children of whom I am very proud. Unfortunately, I know of some children who turned out wonderfully in spite of their parents and others who are continuing problems despite authentically interested and giving parents. Nonetheless, on a statistical basis the more parents of a society and culture care for their children, the better they will likely turn out.

Children who are read to will enjoy reading. Children who are viewed as a source of happiness rather than a burden are likely to be happy and not burdensome. Children who are told the truth will embrace truth. Children who live in the warmth of family will likely have warm families of their own. Children who are loved will learn to love. Children who are shown compassion will show compassion. Children who enjoy the high expectation of their parents will expect much of themselves.

There is no greater reward than to be content with the observation that your children are just like you, and perhaps just a bit better.

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