Cat's in the Cradle was a popular song in the ‘70’s written by Harry Chapin. The lyrics resonate with men busy in the world.
“A 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. 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.” The verses progress to: “My son turned 10 just the other day …” and then, “He came from college just the other day ...”
The chorus flips from, “When you comin’ home Dad?” to, “When you comin’ home son?” This is the HEADS-UP to dads – the years get by. There is a relatively short window of opportunity to invest in your children. Invest that time wisely to be engaged in raising a godly generation.
- Draft a plan with Mom to stay engaged through the school years and beyond - review it often.
- Be intentional, strategic, in having age-appropriate discussions with your son around Biblical manhood. Incorporate “manhood moments” to celebrate stages of maturity.
- Schedule extended one-on-one time at key junctures like turning sixteen or the move into middle school, high school or college – these may be weekend retreats or more extended adventures or trips. (Check out Being There father-young son(ages 8-13) retreat, December 13-15, 2013)
The last verse reflects Dad’s realization that his son did grow up to be just like him. “I said, ‘I’d like to see you if you don’t mind.’ He said, ‘I’d love to Dad if I could find the time.’ … As I hung up the phone, it occurred to me, he’d grown up just like me. My boy was just like me!”
Kids catch what you’ve got – BUSY-ness or FAITHFUL-ness reflects your priorities. Be intentional with your effort to invest time regularly in the father-son relationship and you will be a hero in his eyes.
Share a comment on what you have done or will do to stay engaged with your son.