Friday, April 11, 2014

Living Lesson: Cats in the Cradle

Living Lessons:  Cats in the Cradle on Graduation Sunday  - by Christopher Wiles
     To you graduates and all those who are someone’s child.  It took me at least a decade to really listen, and it’s taken several more years to really understand, but now with my own kids I’m coming to know the truth of Harry Chapin’s 1974 hit song “Cats in the Cradle”.
     This song details the life of a child as he grows up to become just like his work-aholic absentee father.  Growing older, with the young man having a job and children of his own, the father realizes his folly when his grown son now has no time for him.
Chorus: "And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.' When you coming home, son?' 'I don't know when,
But we'll get together then, dad.
You know we'll have a good time then.'"
     When I was about 20 years old the realization struck me that I was a poor college student and couldn’t afford any of the expensive "man-toys" my dad would like to have for his birthday, so I began buying him a steak lunch and taking it to him at work.  I would sit with  dad and his buddies at the lunch table, feeling completely out of place in the machine shop, but I enjoyed watching my dad smile as he bragged to all his coworkers about how good his steak was compared to their ham sandwiches.  It took me years to learn it wasn’t the steak dad was so proud of.
     This week was dad’s 58th birthday.  I’ve now had 15 years of steaks with dad, but things have changed a bit. With the prices of food and gas rising, I now spend over $100 and 8 hours driving on dad’s birthday lunch.  There are some positive changes though.  The first is that I only eat one steak per year and each year that steak tastes better and better.  The second change is that every year my dad’s smile gets bigger and brighter. Now thirdly, my eldest son is old enough to make the trip and appreciate the tradition.
     Graduates, I’ve listened to a lot of sad “Cats in the Cradle” stories from others lamenting that their successful children left to conquer the world and never looked back.  May your parents not find you too busy to remember and honor the ones who sacrificed to give you the opportunities for success you enjoy today.  Honor them, love them, and make time for them.  You’ll be glad you did.
From the wisdom of God in Proverbs 23:22 (KJV) “Hearken unto they father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.”