Flea, the Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist, was recently on the Marc Maron podcast. As they spoke about Flea’s children, Marc explained his own estranged relationship with his parents growing up. “I know they’re my parents,” he said, “but they’re just sort of these weirdos I grew up with.”
This is sadly very common. We talked about a version of this before when we made the distinction between having kids and being a parent. Plenty of of people take care of their kids, see them regularly, provide for them, but they haven’t embraced what it means to be parents in the ways that we have tried to establish as essential here in these emails:
- putting your kids first
- loving and supporting them unconditionally
- protecting them
- helping them become who they are
- modeling values for them
- encouraging their creativity and curiosity
These are things that never stop being your responsibility, no matter how old they get.
“Do you feel like a dad,” Marc asked Flea about his daughter, now 33 years old, “or just like a dude she knows?”
The only two people who know the answer to that question are Flea and his daughter. And no matter what it is, the beauty of parenting being a life-long job is that Flea still has countless opportunities to get the answer right and keep it that way.