Wanting the best for our children.
Rod Stewart co-wrote and then sang one of his top hits, “Forever Young”:
I’ve never been a huge Rod Stewart fan but, like most popular music artists of most genres, we can appreciate and be moved by certain of their songs—for me, this is a good example.
Forever Young was written by Stewart: “I love ‘Forever Young’, because that was a real heartfelt song about my kids. I suddenly realized I’d missed a good five years of Sean and Kimberly’s life because I was so busy touring all the time. With these kids now I don’t make that mistake — I take them on tour with me, so I can watch them grow up…”
The video evokes powerful emotions. Though it gives the impression the little boy held by Stewart is the actual son of Stewart, this is not true. Regardless, the intention of the song is to show the love that a father has for his children; I believe this video captures that objective perfectly.
Though I have heard this song throughout my life, like most songs before the internet where you could instantly look up any lyrics, I never understood most of he was saying; but I liked the gravely, unique sound of Stewart’s voice and the beat and style of the music appealed to my particular taste in music during those times.
When this song recently came up in my Youtube feed (it’s amazing what their algorithms suggest), I listened to it and wanted to read what the lyrics actually said. I was taken aback to learn it was a song written to his son. Doing further research, I read from the linked Wiki article above why he wrote it.
The lyrics are powerful:
May the good Lord be with you down every road you roam. And may sunshine and happiness surround you when you're far from home. And my you grow to be proud, dignified and true. And do unto others as you'd have done to you. Be courageous and be brave. And in my heart you'll always stay Forever young. (Forever young) Forever young. (Forever young) May good fortune be with you, may your guiding light be strong, Build a stairway to heaven with a prince or a vagabond. And may you never love in vain. And in my heart you will remain Forever young. (Forever young) Forever young. (Forever young) Forever young. Forever young And when you fin'lly fly away, I'll be hoping that I served you well. For all the wisdom of a lifetime, no one can ever tell. But whatever road you choose, I'm right behind you win or lose, Forever young. (Forever young) Forever young. (Forever young) Forever young. Forever young For forever young
Regardless of what I think of Stewart’s other music, this song is one of his best. It accurately captures the hopes, dreams, and visions of a loving father toward his children, and shows an inside perspective of a “father’s heart.” It’s beautiful, moving, inspirational, and tender.
This is a counterintuitive perspective of most rock legends like Stewart. Many are portrayed as hedonistic drug and sex addicts, glamour and selfish success hounds, and the worst role models on the planet. Certainly not someone you want your daughter to marry.
Though this caricature of your typical rock star might generally be true, it certainly does not reflect the typical father who slogs off to work every morning, putting in a long day for the love and devotion for his family. Such men, common as the stars in the night time sky, are rarely portrayed positively in the media or in television commercials. Rather, the average American father is portrayed as some stupid, silly, bumbling loser whose main goal in life is promiscuous sex, drinking alcohol, eating junk food, or only concerned about all things sports related.
Real men, representing authentic fatherhood, is a much different story. In my long pilgrimage on this planet, most men I know deeply love and are concerned about their children, as accurately portrayed in this song. Certainly there are loser fathers in existence, but I would say they are in the distinct minority and do not represent fathers in general.
But this concept of loving, caring fathers towards their children is turned upside down and inside out when it comes to Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and its sister pathology, Parental Alienation (PA)*. Here, vindictive, pathologically disordered mothers turn the children against their fathers, resulting in two devastating losses: one for the alienated children, and the other, for the father who loses all contact with his children.
It is beyond comprehension of why any mother would do this to her own children. It is also counterintuitive, for everyone knows the legendary love and devotion that the vast majority of mothers have for their children and the tremendous sacrifices mothers routinely make for them. This self-sacrifice is beyond dispute, and history is replete with countless examples.
Why, then, would a loving mother, undermine in any capacity, the love that a child and father have for one another? If I mother would instantly throw herself in the path of a moving train in order to save the life of her child, sacrificing her own life in the process, why would any mother, knowing how vital for the lifelong mental and psychological health and happiness that child will gain from having a close, loving relationship with their father, seek to undermine it? It defies comprehension due to its counterintuitive nature.
It might be comparable to the mother mentioned above going out of her way to place her child on the train tracks to be torn apart by the speeding train. What normal mother would do this? Obviously, the answer is: “none.”
“Forever Young” was a top hit for Stewart. This means it was popular with both male and females, mothers and fathers; in other words, many young unmarried women who listened to it while single would remember it when they eventually married and bore children, along with married women who first heard it.
How many of these women who were either mothers at the time they first heard this song or would eventually bear children, loving this song, would one day alienate their children against their father? How could they say to themselves, “Oh, I just love this song! It makes me cry to think a dad could love his child so much that he would write a song about it…”
And yet, when they alienate their children against their father, their ex-spouse, what do they think when this song plays while they are with the very child or children they have alienated their father against? Do they posses any self-awareness of the crime they have committed against that ex-husband? Against their own flesh and blood, the ones they claim to love so much and would do anything for…except let them see and love their father?
This is surreal, a seeming impossibility, something that cannot compute in one’s brain. Women—mothers—who may weep when they hear this song and perhaps think of their fathers and the great love and sacrifices they made for them will deny the very same tears for their own children to cry for them for their love and sacrifices.
Stewart sings, “And when you finally fly away, I’ll be hoping that I served you well. For all the wisdom of a lifetime, no one can ever tell. But whatever road you choose, I’m right behind you win or lose…”
This is a glimpse into the heart of a father who would do anything for his children. A good man who did all he could do to insure his child will be a success, in all aspects of his or her’s life: financial, marital, psychological, etc. In a nutshell, that father yearned for his child to experience happiness and all the blessings life can give to someone. And the most wonderful assurance he could give to them if they failed to experience all the blessings of life?
“…I’m right behind you win or lose…”
A father’s love for his children, for his child, expressed in words of unconditional love: I’m right behind you win or lose…” Who wouldn’t want someone with such love to back them up? And why would any mother deny such a father to her own children knowing that they could not ask for a better person to be in their lives?
(I’m defining unconditional love as possessing self-evident and necessary conditions: in other words, a child who decides to become a drug dealer, bank robber, human trafficker, murderer, thief, etc. does not fit into Stewart’s “But whatever road you choose, I’m right behind you win or lose…” Even a concept as noble and pure as “unconditional love” has obvious conditions.)
And in perhaps the greatest show of irony, the wound that might be among the ones that cut the deepest, is this: those mothers may no doubt enjoy this unconditional love from their dads but deny the same to their own children.
Something must be done to right these terrible wrongs.
* PAS/PA is practiced by both parents. Though generally true that mothers are in the greatest percentage group of “alienators” (those parents who pit the child(ren) against an innocent parent), fathers are also guilty of this devastating pathology. But in this post, I’m concentrating on the love of fathers toward their children and how they—the fathers—are being alienated from their child(ren) by a vindictive mother. I’m an alienated father myself, and I’m writing from this perspective.