We all take inspiration from someone or something: with credit being paid to beloved former teachers or batty great aunts for giving them the strength to succeed, but there can’t be that many blokes who have been empowered by Elton John.
Granted, he may be one of the great entertainers of our times but a 60 something knight of the realm who has successfully battled demons and has been known for diva-ish behaviour of the very highest order is not someone I would ordinarily listen to for life lessons. So I was surprised to find myself muttering ‘good on you Elt’ when I heard his views on parenting and how he intends to make his two sons work for their pocket money. This from a man famed for his flamboyance and excesses but what he said, that when his boys are old enough they will work in the house and garden for their spends, made perfect sense. Despite his millions he wants his kids to learn the true worth of money, a sentiment nearly every parent I know publicly shares but often fails to honour.
It cannot be disputed that today’s children are the most spoiled of any generation and the blame can be laid squarely at the feet of the parents. On the whole we too had it easy with our flashy trainers, trips to fast food restaurants and television in our bedroom but we were kept in check by our parents’ tales about the end of rationing and how they first set eyes on a banana at the age of eight. By comparison a yarn about not having tasted lobster thermidor until one’s 29th year doesn’t strike the same moral tone.
It is hard for someone of my vintage to lecture my offspring on the austerity of my youth. The 1980s was the decade a nation got greedy and, materialistically at least, it was my generation which benefited the most.
It is probably Elton John’s age and background - he was brought up in a council house - which have made him come to his senses over money but his is a stance which we could all do well to adopt. Next time I approach the till with a soft toy in my shopping basket I’ll be sure to think of the Rocket Man.