Salvaging Fatherhood

If you don’t think father’s make an impact, you should listen to Lukas Graham’s breakout pop hit “7 Years.”

The song is about the life of the group’s lead singer,  Lukas Graham Forchhammer, a young Danish man. It was inspired by his father, who died at age 61. Forchhammer says that his father’s death led him to write “7 Years” and “Happy Home”, the songs that made him and his group stars.

Forchhammer says he is “coming to the realization that being a father is the most important thing.

“My biggest dream is not to be some negative old dude, but to have my kids’ friends say, ‘You’re going to visit your dad? Say hi! He’s awesome.’ I had a perfect father.”*

When I read Forchhammer’s comments, I get a twinge of jealousy in my soul because I am far from a perfect father. My children might be inspired by me to write music, but only because of  the pain I have caused them and their mother.

However, even though I am about the age that Forchammer’s father died, I believe I can still leave my kids  a better legacy.

Spencer Tracy portrays  a character in the 1953 film “The Actress” who shows how it can be done. His daughter Ruth (Jean Simmons) is a flighty teenager who wants to be an actress.

Tracy plays Clinton Gordon Jones,  a curmudgeonly father who wants her to become a physical education instructor, most likely because he himself enjoys early 20th century workouts, which to me resemble Zumba.

But while Clinton is irascible, he also is a pussycat down deep. He loses his job trying to get a bonus so Ruth can fulfill her dream to go to New York and become an actress.  This doesn’t stop Clinton, however. He gives Ruth his prize spyglass from his days as a seaman to hock if necessary.

Clinton reveals to his family during the tug of war with Ruth over her future that he himself had an awful upbringing. His own horrible youth obviously inspires him to give his daughter a chance to fulfill her dreams.

I work with college students. Recently I listened to  them tell me what made them happy. They also discussed memories of their childhood. What was expressed by these students was quite moving. Almost all of them talked about how their parents stood by them, counseled them and made their childhoods meaningful. In this regard I am a failure, at least during the last few years.

Tonight my thinking is leaning toward the idea of going home-or what used to be home. I left my family several years ago because I was unemployed for almost a year and my marriage had collapsed.  This has resulted in deep loneliness.

While I don’t think my marriage is recoverable, I maintain hope that my relationship with my children can be saved.  The door is opening to at least leave my current circumstances. Perhaps another will swing open to return me to my family.

It is at least something I need to ponder.






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