If I made a proper start, would you take me seriously?

Surprisingly affecting piece by Michael Owen in The Guardian about his dad’s influence on him when he was making his way as a footballer: Michael Owen: ‘My motivation was to please Dad’ | Life and style | The Guardian.

I often get asked for advice from aspiring young kids and their parents, but if I were to look back on my career and single out one thing that stood me in good stead, it would be the environment in which I grew up.

In a way, it seems such an obvious thing to say, that the support you get from your family and the opportunities you’re given contributes to your success. But the important thing I took from the article was that it was the parental guidance and presence that was the most important.

I was talking to a friend the other day who had recently become a dad and, being middle class and all that, we started talking about schools. He assumed that sending his daughter to a private school would ensure that there wouldn’t be any ‘horrible little scrotes’ around his girl but I put him right on that score. Just being able to afford to send your kid to private school and not have to worry about money being an obstacle to taking up opportunities isn’t enough. The home has to be right, the guidance, support and love has to be properly there. And you get the sense from Michael Owen’s article that his dad knew that. He didn’t just buy his son football boots, sign him up to the right clubs or whatever. He was there for him.

He even changed jobs to one he hated, but he did it so there was more flexibility in his working hours. He did not want to miss a second of anything I did.

I don’t pretend it’s easy. I know I’m extremely lucky to be in a position that allows me to be around for Amélie a lot more than a typical dad. I, too, quit a job because of the effect it was having on my home life but I also have certain skills and experience that allowed me to do that. But if I didn’t, I like to think I’d still find a way to be there for Amélie.

Post title lyric taken from The Reindeer Section – Will You Please Be There For Me

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