A few weeks ago my 8 year-old son, Chase, dressed up as Bruce Springsteen for a school project.
Ever since, he hasn’t stopped listening to Springsteen. Here’s a video of him flossing to “Dancing in the Dark”.
My parents taught me that music, is as good as any subject, to bond with your child.
Growing up, mom and dad would play music every chance they could. Michael Jackson, Sam Cooke, Van Morrison, Madonna, The Who, The Dire Straits, The Doors, The Hooters, The Moody Blues were people and bands that I was introduced to before I was 6.
Most evenings when dad came from work, smelling like dust and metal, he would put on an album, stretch out on the living room floor, tuck his arms behind his head and fall asleep. Mom would be in the kitchen mixing dinner, singing. I would lay on the carpet with my big blue eyes fixed on the red winged-devil perched atop Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell album cover.
I was too young to know, but I’d like to think that no matter what was going wrong in my parent’s lives at that time, that when the music played inside our tight two bedroom rowhouse–life was a little easier.
Like most parents, I worry I won’t connect with my children.
That in a few years, they’ll become strangers I’ll pass in the hallway, nod, pay their college tuition and only see them on holidays.
Furthermore, at the risk of sounding old, sometimes I don’t understand my children. They play Fortnite and dance these strange Fortnite inspired dances. They make slime, flip bottles, use words I’ve never hear of, and watch Youtube videos of children playing with toys instead of playing with toys themselves.
Things will only get harder.
Respectively, my children and I will grow old. I’ll get my stuck in my ways (if I’m not stuck already) and my children will discover their own ways. Like rams, we will lock horns and butt heads. There will be conflict, frustration and silence, and tension. And things will not always be as good as they are now.
Like saving money for retirement, I’m depositing music to my son now, letting it earn interest, so in those lean years, when we have nothing to say to each other, we can make a withdrawal and live off our collective love of music.
I guess when you’re 8, rock n’ roll is like a crowbar you use to pry into the boarded up windows of adult world. A weird world. A world of odd smells, strange sounds, looming shadows, and big, harsh words. A world edged with danger and mystery. Yet a world of deep, deep love.
The type of love, that if you’re lucky enough, you will one day grow into.
It’s Monday and I’m driving and Chase is tucked in the backseat. We’re stuck in traffic and late for soccer practice and normally I would care but tonight I don’t because Springsteen is on the radio, he’s dancing in the dark, and my 8 year old son and I are singing, a pitch below shouting, beautifully synchronized in song.
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