What does Cat's in the Cradle mean?

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Harry Chapin: Cat's in the Cradle Meaning

Song Released: 1974

Covered By: Ugly Kid Joe (1993)

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Cat's in the Cradle Lyrics

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My child arrived just the other day,
He came to the world in the usual way.
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew,
He'd say, "I'm gonna be...


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    Nov 4th, 2006 11:06pm report

    The song never suggests that the "son" becomes too busy for his own children, although the father says "he's grown up just like me" the song makes you look at "time" as the most valuable commodity we have,...And its all that are children really want and need. I think for most fathers today with young children,.... This song hits home and has us learn to repeat the cycle of being too busy to spend time with our kids. God bless our mothers, and we can learn from our fathers.....The good,....And from the bad.


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    Jul 9th, 2006 7:19pm report

    I mainly agree with this, except that I don't think he's got the same neglect with his children, for one of his reasons for not coming to see his dad was that the kids have the flu. So I just think that he has grown up like his father and he's too busy for him, but not for his own kids.


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    Nov 26th, 2005 11:19pm report

    This is a song about a man who neglects his son throughout the boy's childhood. The man is always too busy with himself. Times change and the man has more free time (I've long sinced retired, my son has moved away)and wishes to now have a relationship with his son. He comes to learn that his son is wrapped up in his own life and has no time for him (the father). Lots of people only understand the first part of the meaning - that the father is reaping what he sowed. The second, less conveyed meaning, is the father's realization that he's taught his son this neglect. He realizes he has doomed his son to a life of neglecting his own children. The saddest part of the song is when it is said "As I hung up the phone it occured to me he'd grown up just like me, my boy was just like me." This line conveys the father's realizations and sadness of what he has passed down to his son.

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