Sean Lennon, the youngest son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, had to grow up without a father. Tragically, John Lennon was assassinated when Sean was just 5 years old. In some ways, Sean was luckier than most kids who have lost a father in that there is so much footage of his father and that John left such a beautiful musical legacy behind him. But it was those few years that Sean got to spend with his father—and the handful of memories seared into his brain—that shaped him into the man he became.
In a recent interview with Marc Maron, Sean explained something that should give each of us pause and pride as fathers. He told Maron that on an almost daily basis, someone will come up to him, and in an attempt to connect or make him feel better, say something to the effect of, “Sean, you have no idea what your dad meant to me.” “You have no idea how important your dad’s music is in my life.”
It’s a strange claim, Sean says, because he does know. Because John Lennon and John Lennon’s music are even more important in his own life. Because John Lennon is Sean’s father. Because he has been holding onto that relationship every minute since his father was taken from him. There is zero chance that anyone’s love of the Beatles’ music is more profound than that.
Each dad should take to heart what that means. That even the most famous—possibly the greatest—musician of all time is more important as a father to his children than he is as an artist to the world. It doesn’t matter how great our work is, how wealthy it makes us, or what it ends up meaning to billions of people—nothing will eclipse the impact we have on our kids. And if that doesn’t give you some pride—and up the pressure on you—this morning, then maybe you’re not worthy of the role.