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Harry Chapin has only written one song which became a number one hit: it’s called “Cat’s in the Cradle”. It was written in 1974 and is about the fractured relationship between a father and son, definitely worth a listen.

Here are some lyrics: 

My 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

And he was talking ‘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.”


My son turned ten just the other day

He said, “thanks for the ball, dad, c’mon let’s play

Can you teach me to throw, I said “not today

I got a lot to do” he said, “that’s okay..


Well, he came from college just the other day

So much like a man I just had to say

“Son I’m proud of you, can you sit for awhile?” He shook his head and he said with a smile

What I’d really like dad, is to borrow the car keys

See you later can I have them please?


[Last verse…]

I’ve long since retired my son’s moved away

I called him up just the other day

I said I’d like to see you if you don’t mind

He said, “I’d love to dad, if I can find the time

You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kids have the ‘flu

But it’s sure been nice talking to you dad

It’s been sure nice talking to you.


And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me

He’d grown up just like me, my boy was just like me…

It’s about a growing son wanting to have a relationship with his dad, but his dad was too busy and when the dad was ready the son was too busy. So they passed like ships in the night. Quite sad actually, but it can and does happen. The chorus which is repeated throughout the song refers to cats in the cradle, silver spoon, little boy blue and the man in the moon – all children’s games and rhymes which symbolize repeated missed opportunities to connect during the boy’s growing up years.


Ephesians 6: 4 NIV “Fathers, do not exasperate your children…” (possibly by neglecting them, failing to connect with them, missing opportunities to befriend and love them) “… instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (ie, taking a proactive, consistent approach, especially in spiritual teaching and setting a godly example). Fathers/parents, given our rushed, stressed and uncertain world, we cannot neglect or postpone our Biblically-ordained responsibilities.


Psalms 127: 3, 4 says our children are like arrows. Arrows must be shaped, a process which requires care, precision and thought. Only after they have been shaped can they be shot into the future. Arrows will fly much further than where the archer was standing when he shot them. Our children will go beyond us into the future where by God’s grace, they will be useful in the work of God’s Kingdom.


Fathers, obey your Biblical mandate to shape and shoot your arrows/children into the future to be used by God for His Kingdom work. Happy Fathers Day!

Ps Graham

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