It’s somewhat ironic that I seem busier today than I have been at any time in my life … and yet I find more time for reflection than ever before. I guess it’s because I make the time to do so, realizing its importance at this point in my life.
I was a DeeJay very early in my career and had the privilege to be exposed to some fantastic artists and unforgettable music as a result. One of the great artists of our times is seldom recognized by name today but his classic tale of parental regret is known and appreciated by millions.
Harry Chapin shared the kind of songs that forced listeners to stop, reflect on their past, and ponder their early decisions in life. He did just that with his classic “Taxi” and again with his story of “W.O.L.D.” However, he’s best known for his 1974 folk rock masterpiece we know as “Cats in the Cradle.” Many of us felt he wrote that song with us in mind because it so vividly reflects our lives and emotions.
This Boomer favorite impacts most every generation today in our chaotic journey to survive and thrive in a very challenging society. The touching and heartfelt lyrics are certainly open to interpretation as many hear them through the ears of their childhood remembering their parents, others through the ears of a parent regretting earlier decisions to chose career over family as there appeared to be no choice, and others, ironically find themselves in the present … praying their children won’t make the same mistakes.
Listen to the lyrics below and pause for a moment to reflect. You may want to share this classic ballad with family or friends in hopes of gaining some valuable insights to the challenges we face throughout our lives. I hope it does for you what it did for me and many others I’m sure.
I personally did just that back in 1999 after hearing this song on the radio coming home alone from the airport. Circumstances were such at that time that I needed to hear that message. I was so impacted by those haunting words that I pulled my car into a rest stop, grabbed my legal pad out of my carry-on and wrote a poem — 8 verses in fact. And I am the farthest thing in this world from a poet. But that exercise was very cathartic for me and led me to make a few much-needed life-changing decisions. I’ll share that poem in my next blog article.
One can only speculate how many other classics may have emerged from the heart and soul of Harry Chapin had he not perished in a tragic car accident at the young age of 38 on the way to perform a free concert in New York.
This song will live on as long as there are parents and children.