I’m not the most emotional guy.  But emotions can play a powerful role in shaping our response to what’s happening around us,  in us and in our families.

If there’s a song that makes me tear up every time (did it again, writing this post), it’s Harry Chapin’s Cat’s in the Cradle. (You can watch him perform it below.)

Over the years I’ve appreciated that Chapin’s ballad contained more than a few powerful truths.  It’s about a dad who was too busy to play with his young son, and when his son grew up,  the tables turned:

I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job’s a hassle and kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you”

 And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

The song moves me because I realize I could easily be that dad.  I love to work and often tasks or things can pull me away from relationship.  When a song like that stirs me, I realize I face two options: regret or resolve.

If I do nothing about what I fear, I will regret it.  I could just become that dad.

But I could also act today on what I feel and resolve that as far as it depends on me, I’ll work toward another outcome.

Here’s what the emotions I feel around this song have helped me do over the years.  Its made me drop tasks and make time for my family, cancel meetings to be with my kids (sometimes I even tell them I’ve done this), hang out around the house more (relationship can’t happen if you’re not there),  stop taking phone calls when my kids are traveling with me in the car, and more.

How about you?

What song has had an impact on you?  What emotions get stirred up, and what change has that led you to?