The opening scene of Rocketman, the movie chronicling Elton John’s life, takes place in a rehab facility at his lowest point. It flashes back to a young Elton, then still Reginald Dwight, waiting at the top of the stairs for his dad to come home from work. When his dad finally arrives, his only words regarding Elton are, “I will deal with him tomorrow.” The young boy, brokenhearted with rejection, retires to his room.
Watching the movie, two other scenes between father and son struck me. Another from Elton’s childhood, where his father reprimands him for touching a record from his prized collection . . . “Never touch my records again.” And then a later scene where Elton visits his dad at his new home, with his new wife and new sons. Elton watches in pain as his dad showers these sons with a level of love and affection he never experienced.
Whatever the source . . . abuse, neglect, or just plain busyness . . . father wounds are real. As are their effects: depression, suicide, divorce, dropout, etc. The work of fatherhood is too important to ignore . . . or to outsource to Mom, or a coach, or even a youth pastor. Most of us have been wounded in one way or another. But here’s the deal, we have the power to stop the transfer of that wound to the next generation.
Reflecting on the failed father-son relationship in the movie reminded me of what a privilege it is to be a dad. And of the influence my words and actions have on how my sons Thomas and Bo view themselves and how they view their Heavenly Father.
Our sons and daughters need us now more than ever. They all deeply want to know their fathers and want to be known by them. Our children are dying to hear from us the same message Jesus heard from His Father . . .
“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)
Quote: “It may be hard on some fathers not to have a son, but it is so much harder on a boy not to have a father.” – S.D. Gilbert