Father's Day Music:Cat's In The Cradle vs Just The Two Of Us

harry chapin or will smith
Harry Chapin or Will Smith?

I work at a 60s 70s and 80s radio station.

That means I hear Cat’s in the Cradle by Harry Chapin about twice a month.

The song is 38 years old, and it still rips me up.

Decades later and that message still rings true: family first, everything else second. Look at Gary Vaynerchuk, one of my personal online mentors – family first.

Are you doing that? Are you reading this blog entry while the kids are watching tv? Did you give them that one-on-one time with their homework today? Did you go and do something unique to make this “the best day ever?”

Cat’s In The Cradle is NOT a Father’s Day song. It’s a guilt trip.

Will Smith‘s remake of Just The Two of Us has the same sort of fatherhood angst, with a different spin.

Both songs tackle the fear all Fathers feel. We want to support our family, be there for our kids, and the struggle for balance is everywhere.

Cat’s In The Cradle may be a song about Dads, and sons, and relationships, but it is NOT anything that should be played this time of year.

It makes me feel like the worst parent ever.  Harry Chapin agrees. He wrote the song about his son Josh and admits the song “scares me to death.”


We shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about how we spend time with our kids, I know you’re doing your best. But damn if that song doesn’t put me on a guilt trip every time I hear it.

So I try to turn my phone off the moment I get home.  I try to move my writing until after bedtime.  Mostly, I just try to appreciate every moment I have with my kids.  I give them the weekends, and I make sure what they want to do comes before what I want to do.

While I appreciate the lesson the song gives, it’s just too hard for me to listen to. Give me Will Smith‘s Just The Two Of Us anyday.  It’s an honest appraisal of the fear I feel, without any of the guilt.


Which song sums up your Father’s Day relationship?

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Article Posted 4 years Ago
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