Last week, I shared the video of Harry Chapin singing his song that has touched millions of parents worldwide — “Cat’s in the Cradle.” In that song, he ponders, with regret, decisions he made early in his days as a parent and how they have impacted the relation with his child years later.
I also mentioned that I heard this particular song, I believe by design, during a midnight drive home from the airport after one of my many speaking trips. It so touched me at the time that I pulled my car into a rest area, grabbed a legal pad from my carry-on, and jotted down some personal thoughts in the form of a poem. I certainly don’t claim to be a poet but that exercise was very cathartic for me at that time and led me to make a few much-needed life-changing decisions. You might want to do the same.
“Life on a Lake”
I was born and raised on the shore of a lake …
With memories abundant and fond.
It’s a wonderful place to live your life …
And, oh, so easy to bond—
With the sun and the water,
The sky and the breeze …
It provides you a life
Of contentment and ease.
As the stress of my work-a-day life would increase,
I’d just head for home where I could release
The stress and the strain and the burdens of life
At home by the lake where there’s simply no strife!
Now my kids have all grown
And moved on as they must …
I just hope that some day
They’ll develop the lust …
To live on an ocean, a river, or lake
And appreciate life and all that’s at stake.
They come back to visit whenever they can
But usually can’t stay too long.
They must return to their now busy lives
Of which I’m just a small part—right or wrong.
I can’t critique—I’ve been there, done that,
I modeled that life for them.
So I can’t complain, I must let them gain
The knowledge, experience, and whim.
That will lead them to know, it’s okay to go slow
And enjoy the pleasures they share
With children, spouses, family and friends …
Life’s joys which are truly so rare!
Dad – 1999