November 29, 2009
Father and Son and...
Forty years ago, a lyrical conversation caught my heart and imagination.  I heard it again this past Saturday evening like I had never heard it before.
The song is Father and Son by Cat Stevens, and it recants a conversation between a father and son as the son struggles with the need to make decisions to move on.  It is one of the songs that I have brought to the attention of my sons during their different phases of growth for several reasons:  youth rarely believes that age really understands, youth always wants to express and feels incapable of doing so, and age hopes to encourage youth to slow down their decision making in order to be happy. 
The important thing to me about this song  is that the father and son are talking through life changes that all have experienced.  When I first heard the lyrics decades ago, I knew I loved the reality of the emotions, the struggles and the coming together of father and son to deal with life's changes.  I'm proud to say that the song's description of father and son not listening to each other well was not part of our story, but the sharing of thoughts and wisdom has been a mutual mainstay.  I'm also not so naive as to think that there likely weren't times when my sons felt like I wasn't listening as much as they wanted.  Welcome to the human race.
My oldest son, my namesake, married on Saturday.  It was a beautiful wedding with representatives from all phases of his life, a grand tribute to his influence on many.
Also on Saturday, I heard the song like never before.  Deep into the wedding reception, Dion took the microphone and called out, "Dad.  Dad, where are you?  Come on up here."  I joined him at the front of the room and he paid tribute to the importance and pleasure of father-son times together.  He called out to fathers, sons, grandparents and fathers-to-be to take the time to join in conversations.  "And sometimes, it's just great to have a beer with your dad.  Dad, join me at the bar for a beer, huh?"  We walked to the bar at the reception and for the duration of the song, we hugged, laughed, cried and shared.  We condensed 28 years into about three minutes.  It seems like those 28 years have lasted only about three minutes.
Almost three decades ago, I began learning how to be a father, and over the years I've been blessed to be dad to three outstanding young men, my sons.  I learned and learn from them along the way.  Now, I will begin to learn about daughters.  I'm sure I will learn along the way.
I love you Dion and Candice.  Have a very happy life together.  I wish for you your dreams.


Listen to Life is a  free newsletter about learning and getting more from life by paying attention to our own stories and the stories of others, based on the presentations, writings, photography and workshops by Dion McInnis (www.dionmcinnis.com).  Copyright 2009 Dion McInnis.  All rights reserved.

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