Monday, February 14, 2011

I Know Not "Seems"

Quite often, we'll be listening to my iPod or the radio in the car and one of my young sons will ask me: "Is that you dad?" In my entire life, nothing has been as satisfying as that question. It means my boys see me as a composer and as a singer.

The audience that really counts gets it.

I might have to do something else to pay the mortgage, but my lads know who I really am. They see me in my little studio working; they see me lugging gear off to gigs and they hear me making music often enough that they realize that it's what their dad is really all about.

I don't have a heck of a lot to brag about in terms of artistic recognition, so far, but my sons' perception is proof to me that I've learned to "be" rather than to "seem". In other words, I work at it hard enough that a nine-year-old and a seven-year-old know it's really part of me.

Too many people fool themselves -- talk the talk, that is. It's cool to look like a musician, even if you're not, really. There are a lot of "writers" out there who never write. How can we know if we are putting ourselves on? Well, the perception of those who really know us counts for a lot. Your children -- now or someday -- they see the truth in you, my friend.

We always talk about parenting by example these days (I hate the word "parenting," but there it is), in terms of teaching our kids ethical and socially responsible behavior and I try to do that daily, but I am glad that my love of music is clear. To me, that example may be more important.

The teenaged dreamer in me was no fool. I've said before that teenagers are the truest form of who we are -- that we adults are all just teenagers wrapped up in scar tissue. They understand one thing: there has to be more to this world than paying the bills. For the love of God, there just has to be. My kids won't really believe that unless they see it, so I cannot quit reaching.

Sure I'd love for the world to appreciate my music, but if my sons are the only ones who hum my tunes in the bath -- if they keep hearing Jon McLaughlin or Billy Joel on the radio and saying "Is that you dad?" -- I'll be just as happy, so long as they remember their dad as the a guy who lived up to his responsibilities but who refused to be caged-in by them.


  1. Well spoken and inspiring good sir. That is one of the fears I have now as a nursing student with little free time. I can only hope those who see me will understand my appreciation of both music and people. I try to express it in little ways, but I just don't have time to write anything anymore. Hopefully the people close to me will understand me much in the way your sons see you. I can only try to instill these aspects into my life as well as you have.


  2. Also kudos to you for writing something that is not about valentines day.


  3. Ha -- thanks. Valentine's day isn't much on my radar (and, thankfully, not on my wife's either . . .)Truth is, if music is really important to you, it will never go away . . .