Remember This? A Father’s Advice

The coming of a new year brings hope for us all.  It is a chance to wipe the slate clean and start anew.  Many of us will set goals that we could never achieve, but we must believe that we can achieve anything.  We must believe in ourselves.  No matter what happens this coming year, don’t stop believing in yourself.

In the early 1970s, Jonathan moved from his hometown of Chicago to Los Angeles, California.  The only being Jonathan knew in “the City of Angels” was his beloved dog that he brought with him from Chicago.  Jonathan, a talented musician, hoped to “make it big” in the music industry.  At eight years old, Jonathan began taking accordion lessons.  As a teenager, he made extra money playing accordion and piano in clubs and at parties.  Following high school, Jonathan attended the Chicago Conservatory of Music.  His parents, teachers, and friends all thought he had the talent required to “make it,” and encouraged him to give it a shot. 

Jonathan was hopeful when he arrived in Los Angeles, but he quickly began to struggle just to survive.  There were opportunities for up-and-coming musicians to play, but the market was saturated with fine musicians who often played for little or no pay.  More often than not, Jonathan’s income from playing music was too little to allow him to pay his bills and eat, too.  He became one of Los Angeles’s many starving artists.  When he became desperate, which happened often, Jonathan ashamedly called his father and asked for a small loan.  His father always sent Jonathan what money he could and reassured him that one-day things would be better. 

Then, an event happened which brought Jonathan to the point of giving up on his dream, his beloved dog was hit by a car and severely injured.  He had no money to pay the vet.  Once again, he called his father for another loan.  His father could hear the discouragement in his voice more than any other time that Jonathan had called.  “Dad,” Jonathan asked in a dispirited voice, “should I just give up on this thing and come home?”  His father reassured him as he always had.  “No. Don’t come home,” his father said.  Always full of encouragement, his father gave him another piece of advice which Jonathan thought important enough to jot down in his notebook.

With his father’s reassurance, Jonathan kept searching for the right opportunity.  He thought that opportunity had finally arrived in 1976 when he recorded a solo album which he named after his hometown, “Windy City Breakdown.”  The album failed to chart, and Jonathan’s struggle continued.  In 1978, Jonathan joined a British rock group called The Babys.  Jonathan recorded two albums with The Babys, but the band failed to achieve the level of success they had hoped for and, in 1980, the group disbanded.  In that same year, Jonathan joined another band and began working on an album with them.  The band needed two more songs to complete the album, and the band’s lead singer asked Jonathan if he had any song ideas.  Jonathan flipped through his notebook and read again the advice his father had given him several years earlier.  Those three simple words of encouragement became the inspiration of and title of one of Jonathan’s band’s biggest hits.  It has been described as the “perfect rock song” which featured Jonathan playing “one of the best opening keyboard riffs in rock.”  The song was the best-selling digital track from the 20th century.  The band was Journey.  The name of the song and the advice his father gave Jonathan Cain was,… “Don’t Stop Believin’.”   

Those three words were good advice from Jonathan’s father then and have remained good advice to listeners for over forty years.  If we “Don’t Stop Believin’” in ourselves, we can accomplish anything in the coming new year. 

Happy New Year!

 

Source: Elkins, Kimberly, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” Guideposts, p.75.


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