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  • Writer's pictureAndi


Last week I spontaneously went to see the Michael Jackson Broadway show. I did so with trepidation as I had mixed emotions looking at him as both an extraordinary artist and a very troubled soul. A friend who had seen the show agreed with me but said I should go with an open mind and separate the man from his music. I decided that the show also provided acting roles for talented Broadway actors who had been shut down during COVID.

It happened to be glorious day and we walked from the upper east side through Central Park to Broadway which would have been a fantastic day in and of itself. I felt a little anxious as I sat in my seat wondering which aspect of Michael’s life they were going to show. The show started and focused on the lead up to his Dangerous World Tour. It showed his extraordinary vision for the staging and his laser focus that every dance move on the stage was essential to bringing the songs alive. He wanted his audience to be part of an immersive music experience.

The story showed flashbacks to the beginning of Jackson’s career with his brothers as the Jackson 5. As I sat back and watched the show, I started to feel sad. It became apparent that Michael was raised by a controlling and very “unconscious” father who expected his young child to be the star performer. The critics said that Michael at the age of 10 had the stage presence of a 30-year-old. Michael was forced to grow up, he was treated like a puppet and his 10 -year-old emotions were dismissed. I then noticed that as Michael was becoming an adult, his father started to control him like a child. The show also showed how he was one of the unfortunate millions who became hooked on painkillers.

Throughout the show I kept whispering to my husband, “oh gosh, this is all about “unconscious” parenting and addiction”. I felt sad for such a highly talented individual who was also so emotionally troubled.

I am fascinated with the lyrics from Jackson’s song Man in the Mirror. “I am starting with the man in the mirror, I am asking him to change his ways, and no message could be any clearer, if they want to make a world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.”

We all need to pause to look at the “(wo)man in the mirror”. If you don’t like what you see, the change can only come from the reflection in the mirror. The best part is that we never run out of Do Overs, so changes can take place whenever we are ready.

For parents: Michael Jackson’s experience with his father may not be so different than our own experiences as children, or the way we act as parents. The part that resonated with me was that we push our young children to be adults and when they test their adult skills in their teen years, we want to treat them as young children. Some of us overprotect our young children by clipping their wings to keep them safely close to home and then expect them to fly when they are older. If they do not have the tools to fly, they will stumble before they can even take off.

If you are looking in the mirror and want a Do Over, it’s always there for the taking. If you want guidance to walk the path together, I am here to help.


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