It’s Never Too Late

We talked recently about Springsteen’s choice for parents: Will you be an ancestor or a ghost? Haunt them or help them?

The story he tells about how he came to this understanding comes from his own struggles with his own father. As he explained on Broadway, when he and his wife were expecting their first kid, his father—who had always been distant and harsh—drove something like 500 miles and showed up at Bruce’s door.

“So at 11 a.m. we sit Sunday dining room,” Bruce explains, “and we’re nursing morning beers, that’s his style. That’s my father’s breakfast of champions. When, my dad, never a talkative man, right, blurted out, ‘You’ve been very good to us.’ And I nodded that, that I had, ya know, and uh, and he says, ‘And I wasn’t very good to you.’”

There it was! The apology. It wasn’t said perfectly. It wasn’t unexpected. It was what Bruce had always wanted, needed, but assumed would never come. The elephant in the room was finally being acknowledged. “Here in the last days before I was to become a father,” Bruce reflected on stage, “my own father was visiting me to warn me of the mistakes that he had made, and to warn me not to make them with my own children. To release them from the chain of our sins, my fathers of mine and our fathers before, that they may be free, to make their own choices and to live their own lives.”

Better late than never, his father was making it right. His father was trying to rise above his demons, trying to face his past, trying to help his children—even if that was helping them overcome what he had himself inflicted on them. 

This idea of ancestor or ghost. It’s not a one-time thing. It’s a choice we can make—or start making—at any time. It’s something we have to start. Now. While we still have time. While they need us. 

Less than 12 hours to sign up for Daily Stoic’s New Year, New You Challenge. How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself? Is this going to be a great year for you? Are you going to manage to get done what you know you can get done?

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That’s your answer.

P.S. This was originally sent on December 31, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”

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