I woke up this morning with a slew of inbox messages on both my personal and professional Facebook page. At first I though it was someone spamming by box. I then realized that people were bringing my attention to a song written and performed by Kelly Clarkson last night on American Idol. While I love her music, I could understand why folks felt the need for me to listen to this particular song. So, I did.
I was not prepared for this level of emotion this morning. The song entitled, Piece by Piece was written while she was pregnant with her daughter. It talks about the abandonment she feels as a result of her own father’s absence. This heighten by the fact that she is currently pregnant with a son. The performance was flawless, her voice angelic and the words piercing.
Often times the most popular posts about fatherhood are those things we do that are silly, humorous or mannish. However it’s these messages that people struggle with because the issue hits so close to home and the heart.
As a man whose life is surrounded by the work of building the capacity of men to be better fathers, I too struggle with this content not only because I too did not have my father in my life, but because my relationship with my girls are less than perfect. Some of them more “less than perfect” than others. Doesn’t mean I don’t love them or would give my life for them. The difficulty is in navigating the holes you’ve created, big or small in their hearts.
I commend Kelly for expressing this emotion created around fatherlessness. Yet in the same breathe praising the father who is serving the role for her children and changing her frame of mind to believe and understand that there are men/fathers who get it right. It has motivated me to step it up another notch in assuring that any pain in my children’s heart must be eliminated by me.
This is a complex space and it is songs like this that make us pause for a moment to reflect very publicly the impact of father absence. This make clear by the emotional reactions of those in the audience at American Idol and those of us who are viewing the video today.
While we understand that there is beauty in Fatherhood, we can’t forget that when that absence of beauty occurs, it leaves a lot of pain. The only way we fix it is, PIECE BY PIECE.