Michael Jackson gave a speech in England at Oxford University. The timeline of this speech was before the second trail for molestation charges. He had been working with the Rabbi and was healing some of his pain. This was also before the Martin Bashir interview.
I read the speech and I would like to share some excerpts from it. It is a powerful piece and I feel that he had forgiven his Father therefore, this closes that question in my mind.
It also is prolific for me personally because this same line of thinking about how to forgive your parents – I embraced through my own studies and emancipation and from the day I figured this out – a huge chunk of my life came into focus and I feel blessed. One of the Greatest successes in my life is the internal resolution to my issues with my parents and therefore myself and the reconstruction of my relationship with my Mother – AMEN!
You probably weren’t surprised to hear that I did not have an idyllic childhood. The strain and tension that exists in my relationship with my father is well documented. My father is a tough man, and he pushed my brothers and me hard, from the earliest age, to be the best performers we could be.
He had great difficulty showing affection. He never really told me he loved me. And he never really complimented me either. IF I did a great show he would tell me it was a good show, if I did a good show he would tell me it was a lousy show. HE seemed intent above all else on making us a commercial success. My father was a managerial genius and my brothers and I owe our professional success in no small measure to the forceful way that he pushed us. He trained me as a showman and under his guidance, I couldn’t miss a step.
But what I really wanted was a Dad. I wanted a father who showed me love and my father never did that. But I remember once when I was about four years old there was a little carnival and he picked me up and put me on a pony. It was a tiny gesture, probably something he forgot five minutes later but because of that one moment, I have this special place in my heart for him.
But now I am a father myself, and one day I was thinking about my children and how I wanted them to think of me when they grow up. And when I think of this of how I hope that my children will not judge me unfavorably, and will forgive me my shortcomings, I am forced to think of my own father, and despite the part of me that denied it for years I have to admit that he must have loved me, He did love me, and I know that.
There were little things that showed it. When I was a kid I had a real sweet tooth. My favorite food was glazed donuts, and my father knew that. So every few weeks I would come downstairs in the morning and there on the kitchen counter was a bag of glazed donuts. It was like Santa Claus. He was scared of human emotion, he didn’t understand it or know how to deal with it, but he did know donuts. And when I allow the flood gates to open up , there are other memories that come rushing back, memories of other tiny gestures, however incomplete that showed that he did what he could.
So tonite rather than focus on what my father didn’t do, I want to focus on all the things he did do, and on his own personal challenges, I want to stop judging him.
(additional text about how his father grew up)
An now, with time, rather than bitterness I feel blessing. In the place of anger, I have found absolution. And in the place of revenge I have found reconciliation.
As an adult, and as a parent, I realize that I cannot be a w hole human being, nor a parent capable of fully committed, unconditional love until I put to rest the ghosts of my own childhood. That is why I want to forgive my father, and to stop judging him. I want to forgive him because I want a father and he’s the only one I’ve got. I want the weight of my past lifted from my shoulders and I want to be free to step into a new relationship with my Father for the rest of my life.
To all of you tonite who feel let down by your parents, I ask you to let down your disappointment. To all of you tonite who feel cheated by your fathers or mothers, I ask you not to cheat yourself further, and to all of you tonite who feel like telling their parents they can go to hell, I ask you tonite to exted your hand to them instead.
For in the exchange of pain the accounts are never balanced. By forgiving our parents, we are not denying that they may have wronged us. We are not whitewashing their sings or creating saints of sinners. But harboring resentment against your parents will never give you the love you so crave. Getting even will not make our lives better.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Tonite, be strong.. Beyond being strong, rise to the greatest challenge of all: to restore that broken covenant by teaching our parents how to love. We must all overcome whatever crippling effects our childhoods may have had on our lives, and in the words of Jesse Jackson “forgive each other, redeem each other, and move on.