I listened to Harry Chapin’s song, “Cat’s In The Cradle”. Man-O-Man! What a song! I remember my dad and I in the car; me – – – just out of high school, and “Cat’s In The Cradle” came on the radio. Dad’s face pensive as we listened to the words. After the song, his eyes straight ahead, peering through the windshield as if it was a dark fog, he commented about the father not making time for his son while time passed by, opportunities lost. My guess is that my dad was thinking about his father: the small amount of time he had with his father.
“My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say ‘I’m gonna be like you, Dad
You know I’m gonna be like you’ …”
I wanted to throw out this “thing” to my fellow wilder men, and the women curious about wilder men, who love wilder men … this “thing” about being a dad, having a son, living with the tension – – – spending time with and giving our hearts to our sons, our daughters, in a robust way, knowing that this is the time where we pour into the lives of those wonderful kiddos who we are parenting, thanks to the gifting from the God who provides, the God who loves, the God who leads. And courage calls. I am a wilder man who n e e d s courage to be a good dad, who cannot afford to flounder, and say some nonsense like “Woe is me! I need courage to be a good dad! How can I get courage?”
“Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
‘Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while?’
He shook his head and said with a smile
‘What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please?’ ….”
If I whine about ‘needing courage’, I am missing the boat, I am missing my son, I am missing my daughter. It is not about “needing courage”. It is about taking courage, embracing courage, using courage not unlike one handles a sword. I know we can learn from others; we can learn from what others have to say.
“And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me / He’d grown up just like me / My boy was just like me
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon Little boy blue and the man in the moon
‘When you comin’ home son?’ / ‘I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad /
We’re gonna have a good time then’ … ”
And we can make a promise that we are not going to blow it … knowing that there is a possibility we can miss our children, knowing that we can sacrifice the fatherhood love for things that are not worth the sacrifice …
Instead, we can know that we made a good, noble, courageous, other-centered choice, to love our sons and our daughters. And we can know that we were intentional about spending priceless time with them, during their journey.