Father and Son, it doesn´t have to be this way

Why does it have to be that way? Why do we want to break away and become independent when we are young? Why fathers cannot understand us fully? I did it that way too as a son; that’s sad. When you become a dad, you learn and suffer. That was one of the reasons I did not want to become a father.

I love Cat’s song below; it is profound and invites us to think about the father-son relationship. Both seem to be correct in their views, and both wanted to convince each other of the son’s actual needs. The father reflecting on his own existence and past, doesn’t want the son to fall into the same traps while denying the son’s internal feelings and struggles.

The son, unable to hear what the father is saying, believes that his dad cannot understand what really goes inside his mind. He believes that leaving home is the only solution to find himself in the world and be happy.

Why does it have to be that way? Can we turn our heart to each other? Can we learn to relate to each other and discover the world afresh? The father should now recognise that he has had a life, but things have changed, and now he must allow the son to grow while offering him support and love. The son eager to live but recognises that his dad has got experiences and could learn from, and he wishes that his father would walk with him.

Not having my dad anymore is very sad, such a loss seeing him going still fairly young. In my case, he was the one wanting to go home to the afterlife. Being a dad for my two sons is such a blessing, but I wish there was more time. Time to stop, reflect, ponder and learn.

Today’s relational options are almost always fractured by the age gap, the changes and demands of the new ‘modern’ digital world, peer pressure, and the allure of independence. Contrary to the original prodigal son in the song, the good son would realise that there is no such a thing as being independent. The father will then know that there is always time for new changes; we must embrace them together.

Father and sons should always be connected, even more, powerful when they connect with nature and their community and the people in their lives. In the end, we will all go back to the source and rest with our fathers.

What if we can re-write the song below in our own lives no matter whether we are today the father or the son? This is the challenge I set before me today. What about you?

Fathers, maybe it is time to go with your son through all the changes, to understand his life challenges and choices. Sons, perhaps it is not time to go, stay and work things out, invite him in, be patient… Who knows how much a father and a son can do if they are together in this world…

Father & Son

It's not time to make a change
Just relax, take it easy
You're still young, that's your fault
There's so much you have to know
Find a girl, settle down
If you want you can marry
Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy
I was once like you are now
And I know that it's not easy
To be calm when you've found
Something going on
But take your time, think a lot
Think of everything you've got
For you will still be here tomorrow
But your dreams may not
How can I try to explain?
When I do he turns away again
It's always been the same, same old story
From the moment I could talk
I was ordered to listen
Now there's a way
And I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go
It's not time to make a change
Just relax, take it slowly
You're still young, that's your fault
There's so much you have to go through
Find a girl, settle down
If you want you can marry
Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy
All the times that I've cried
Keeping all the things I knew inside
It's hard, but it's harder to ignore it
If they were right I'd agree
But it's them they know, not me
Now there's a way
And I know that I have to go away

Songwriter: Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam)

Father and Son lyrics © Cat Music Ltd.

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