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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sneaky Peeky Sunday: Defending A King: His Life & Legacy

As part of the Sneaky-Peeky Sunday series here at The Book Worm, here's the space where I am right now in the book 'Defending A King: His Life & Legacy' by Dr. Karen Moriarty. But since I am so so fascinated by this book, I am breaking the norm here and sharing more than just a page.

* This is a review copy sent by the author herself and is NOT a purchased copy.

'His two wives, friends, family members and round-the-clock security people observed Michael as the most thoughtful and patient of fathers. He looked his children in the eyes when he spoke to them or told them, "I love you" or "I love you more." He sat on the floor with them in play; he frolicked around, playing tag and running for sheer joy with them when he could; he teased, joked, and laughed with them. He taught them to ride bicycles. He taught them to be polite and to consider the feelings of other people.

When one of the children would ask him a question, no matter how mundane it was, he would research the answer so that it was the best that he could give. He taught Prince, Paris and Blanket to see life and living things with wonder and awe; to appreciate what they had; to empathize with others.

Michael and his children prayed together before meals. He read them bedtime stories. He taught them to search for deeper meaning in life's events and in nature's bounty. He visited hospitals with his children, instilling in them feelings of empathy for the pain and suffering of others and encouraging them to want to lend a helping hand.

For Michael Jackson, his carefully fashioned approach to fatherhood was probably a type of 'undoing' for him. If he could be the best father possible, this accomplishment would somehow atone for the deficits in the parenting that he received. He could give to his children that which he lacked.

He so much wanted them to have a childhood. Michael got choked up when he spoke about them having fun. He wanted to keep them away from prying eyes, from potentially harsh judgment by strangers and ill-intentioned.

"Honestly, I never saw those children begging, throwing a fit, or crying - not ever," says David Nordahl, who observed and interacted with Michael and his kid on numerous occasions, across weeks at a time. "They were the most polite and nicest children you could ever meet."

Michael was both father and mother to his children. He put them to bed at night; he sat with them when they were ill; he took them wherever he went. He was rarely gone for an overnight without them. He was nurturing and gentle; he spoke softly and rarely raised his voice; but "no" meant "no" when he had to say it, Michael would never lay a hand on his children for the purpose of discipline. He used time-outs or the loss of privileges when necessary, but, because the kids were well-behaved, even these measures were seldom used.

Insisting that they study hard, make their own beds, and clean up after themselves, Michael did not want his children to take for granted the life of privilege that he was able to provide them. He preferred to hide that reality from them, and they were required to earn rewards for good behaviour rather than receiving everything just for the asking. He even tried to hide from his children the fact that they had a famous-celebrity father, "but that didn't last long," Paris explained in later years.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta