The bond between a father and son


These weekly articles come to me in different ways. Sometimes, my Sweet Al pushes my buttons. I’ll write about it in a humorous way rather than killing him.
Another time, I’ll toy with an idea for several weeks, not sure where it will take me. A word, concept or artistic rendering will inspire. The idea won’t leave me until I write about it.
My Sweet Al tells me that nobody likes those deep articles I write. They like the humorous ones. I tell him, “I can’t write about you every week.”
I’ve been watching our son and his dad work together. It’s no longer Al showing his son, but his son showing him how to drive the nail, make the wall straight and operate the tractor.
It has warmed my heart to watch this exchange between our son and his dad. He is protecting his dad, taking him to doctors’ appointments and making sure he is taking his medicine.
Our girls are loving toward their dad, also. I’ll hear one of our daughters say, “Daddy, you’re so cute. I made you some oatmeal cookies. I was thinking of you. I came by to take you out for the day.”
Al has always had a servant’s heart. Whoever needed to move a piece of furniture, Al was there. Fix a tire, Al was there. Clear the road, Al was there. Now, Stephen has stepped into that servant’s role. He’s helped the neighbor, cooked for our guests and served with the same heart that I’ve seen in his dad.
The idea of parent and child changing roles, the younger becoming the protector, has been bouncing around in my head and I’ve been waiting for the right story to come along.
It came along in a video posted on social media announcing a new record, “Fall on Me.” Twenty-year-old Matteo Bocelli steps into the limelight to sing with his blind father, Andrea Bocelli. As I looked at the way the father touched his son and his son responded, I knew that there was something special between them that the eye didn’t see, but their hearts felt.
This music video illustrates a grown son leading his father. Two men, father and son, sing, “I close my eyes and I’m seeing you everywhere. I step outside, it’s like I’m breathing you in the air, I can feel you’re there.”
When his son sang, Andrea Bocelli smiled. The son looked at his father’s closed eyes and his father must have felt his son’s love. When Andrea Bocelli’s hand traced the features of his son’s face, I sat speechless. It was that touch that showed the love they had for each other.
Sixty years ago, the doctors advised the parents to abort Andrea Bocelli and predicted that the child would be born with a disability. It was evident at birth that he had numerous problems with his sight.
His mother disagreed. She protected her child and overruled the doctor’s advice and refused to abort him. She gave birth to him. At the age of 12, he lost his sight completely following an accident during a football game.
When Celine Dion sang “The Prayer” with Andrea Bocelli, what a void, had we not heard Bocelli’s voice.
She said of him, “If God would have a singing voice, he must sound a lot like Andrea Bocelli.”
David Foster, a record producer, often describes Andrea Bocelli’s voice as the most beautiful voice in the world. Consequently, he has passed that beautiful voice down to his son.
Final brushstroke: Often in our family, we do not know the profound effect that we as parents have until years later when we have seen the influence in the reversed roles with our children.
Readers’ comments
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Elizabeth White, Grass Valley, Calif.: “Green ice cream cones. Ah yes! I remember it well. Not only did we work hard, learn how to make change, but we learned how to work with our siblings. My memory is swapping t-shirts so that we got the most use out of the 5 shirts among three of us. And the fond memories of catching up about the ‘town news’ after a hard day’s work at the Hub. It was amazing that during our work-shifts together, all sibling rivalry went out the window.”
Kathleen Miller, Glendale, Ariz.: “Last night as I laid down to sleep I was reminded of your article, The Language of Art, about you and your granddaughter, Tiffany. I love getting invited into glimpses of your family relationships and how you paint such a beautiful picture of your experiences. One of my favorite parts was about the flowers perking up just to get their picture taken (by Tiffany) and your reading regarding the young judging the old. In hindsight that profound statement of wisdom points back to what we were discussing about Joshua causing the younger generation to inherit the land that God swore to their fathers. Our children/grandchildren are watching how we walk-our-talk in spirit and in truth!”