In today's episode of the Dad Tired podcast, host Jerrad Lopes sits down with Grammy Award Winning Artist Harry Connick Jr. to talk about his journey of faith. The pair also cover topics on fatherhood, doubt, and what it's like to find a faith on your own.
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Alone With My Faith (With Harry Connick Jr.)
Jerrad: Hey guys just want to going to give you another reminder that we've moved off of Facebook and we're using our own little Community app now its a great place to discuss the podcast episodes to share all your dad tips and tricks things were you're failing or you're winning prayer requests all that kind of good stuff so we'd love to have you come be part of that you can do that by going to dadtired.com/join, again if you want to jump into our family leadership program of a couple spots up for that go to dadtired.com/lead. A couple weeks ago I saw online that Harry Connick Junior have put an album out called “Alone In My Faith” which caught my eye because id seen him on like American Idol that was kind of my being familiar with his music I listen to some of his music before that but then heard more of it once I had watched a few seasons of American Idol and it so it just caught my eye when it said “Alone In My Faith” [2:20] so I'm always like if somebody wants to talk about their journey and faith and following Jesus I am always down to listen to that and uh I just love hearing people's stories man I love hearing how it God captures people's heart so I reached out and I just said hey man we got a podcast for dads and we're trying to figure out what it looks like to stumble in our faith I'm interested to learn more about your faith and how that came to be and so that was my starting question for him I just like how did you even get involved in practicing Christianity was that new for you is that part of your upbringing was that Mom and Dad and so this was his answer and we'll just jump right into the interview. [2:56]
Harry: I grew up going to church with my dad since I was a baby and then my mother died when I was thirteen it was right around that time I just felt like I wanted to be a part of this Christian Community so I got baptized I got confirmed in the Catholic church and it was something that gave me a great deal of comfort at that time in my life and continues through to this day gives me immense comfort and my faith is a gift that I'm very proud of and aware of but I got to be honest not only because of the pandemic [3:27] but it's like a living thing you know faith you know it changes and i mean I wish I could say yeah my faith is a hundred percent firing on all cylinders at all times but its not sometimes I question things i doubt things i become angry frustrated I get down and this pandemic kind of exacerbated a lot of those things just like everybody else people in my life that died over the last year as a result of covid and my family friends and it's just been an unusual and a difficult time and so the album is exactly what I'm feeling it's all of those things I mean the short answer is I'm a faithful person and I'm glad I have my faith because I don't know what I'd do without it [4:12]
Jerrad: yeah what are you hoping that when people listen to this album what are you hoping they walk away with when they're done?
Harry: well there's all kinds of things like there's the musical side of me which the not important side in this case which is I hope people who know and love music will listen to it and say oh that's cool [4:31] you know I haven't heard that before and you know maybe get some musical entertainment out of it but really the most important thing is I want all of these folks to know that I'm exactly the same and I need to know that they're the same I need to know that y'all are going to the same things as fathers as people of faith as husbands as sons you know I take great comfort in the fact that we may not be physically together right now and we may never be physically together I may never meet your listeners but we're all going through it together that's what I want people to know when they listen that this is my version of our shared experience [5:10]
Jerrad: yeah I love that man you know one thing I think a lot of dads feel is the sense that I'm trying to wrestle with my own faith like you were just kind of talking about it's my own faith journey and I'm just trying to figure that out and at the same time now I'm married and now I've got kids and they're going on their own faith Journey how do you help them in their own faith Journey when you feel like you are still trying to process your own same time?
Harry: for me it boils down to truth and love and communication [5:40] I'm not going to pretend to be anything that I'm not and I was just talking to one of my daughters about this the other day she says Dad I have trouble with believing this or faith in this and I said you know what I do too and I think the fact that in some ways your parents they represent solidity and stability and that's very important I think it's up to us as parents and fathers to have a sense of strength for your kids [6:11] I think they depend on that but for me if I start trying to fake it or I can't remember what I said I got to tell the truth then that way I don't have to remember anything and I say look I struggle with this stuff too and I think that's okay I think that's one of the things that God gave us is free will and it's up to us to you that free will to decide what we believe how we feel [6:35] and I have to be honest and I think they respond to that it's because you know what that does for my kids is it empowers them to say wait a minute what about this I figured this out on my own dad what do you think and over time their perspective will be a sorts of value and inspiration to me so I think if you establish the precedent of truth and love and communication then it's such a strong solid foundation upon which you can build your relationship with your kids
Jerrad: yeah I think that's really beautifully said man [7:06] and they say that our kids’ generation is the most skeptical out of every generation that's ever existed before us so so I think you're right man I think they're just going to see through anything we're trying to fake it you know well you need to believe this because daddys always believed and this it's a Grandpa's believed i mean there's some beauty in that right like there's family heritage and this is been passed on to you for generation after generation but also they're not going to just believe what we believed because it's generational and because it's a tradition [7:32] right like they're going to have to own that for themselves so I think what you just said there is beautiful are your daughters are they musicians like you?
Harry: they're artists and they’re musical but they're not musicians in the same way that I am so my oldest daughter Georgia [7:44] she actually took she's a photographer and a director she shot the record cover and did the videos for Amazing Grace which is out now and then for “Alone With My Faith” which is about to come out so she's very musical she's very artistic my second daughter is a designer and an entrepreneur a clothing designer and then my third daughter is very kind of a visual artist and jewelry designer and into fashion and stuff so they're all it's interesting to see because they're not that's another thing I learned as a dad is as much as you would like to predict [8:16] what are we going to do you just can't they are hardwired to be who they are and it's something to celebrate and watch as it evolved because they're their own people my daughters are 24, 23 and 18 so there 3 adults and it's an amazing thing to see that they are not me and they're not Jill they are their own people and it's an amazing thing to watch.
Jerrad: yeah I was going to ask you like what was the dynamic when they were younger between wanting to pass on the talents that you have [8:47] and then also just giving them the free rein to just discover who Gods made them to be and help champion them and to cheer them on as they’re becoming who Gods made them to be
Harry: I think that's it right there I think you have to celebrate them for who they are you can't force it I mean I think certain things are important [9:06] like you can't just have feral children who you don't teach them anything they don't go to school and they eat whatever they want and they go to sleep I mean you have to have some parental guidelines but in terms of their passions and desires it's unstoppable you're not going to be able to stop it so you might as well recognize them for who they are and celebrate that no matter what that is I mean listen if your kids walking into a busy street and not paying attention you have to go grab them and pull them to safety that's our job as parents but I'm talking about passions my parents were both academics lawyers that is not me [9:41] I mean I barely made it out of high school but the reason I was so fortunate is because they saw that I love music and they did everything they could to help me develop that and that's what Jill and I try to do with our girls you know we try to give them opportunities in which they can explore things and there'll be a hundred things before they find out what they want to do but it's important that they know that were with them as they discover who they are
Jerrad: yeah you know I'd love to if you're comfortable you know you talked about your mom passing really at a [10:13] at really a major moment or time in your life when you are teenager a young teenager how did that shape you and I'd love to hear if that really played in any dynamic with your dad and what it was like growing up with your dad for the rest of your teenage years into your young adulthood?
Harry: yeah I'm happy to talk about it it was by far the most tragic experience I've ever had what I think I learned from among many many things is it was the beginning of my quest to understand women [10:42] I'll never understand women and I mean that in the most complimentary way but I want to understand women and the power and the strength of women in fact I would love to see a class in school taught about what it means to be a woman and all of the things that women go through that you know a lot of guys don't even think about they don't know much about [11:06] because I think it's important for us to understand those things it completely changed the dynamic of the relationship with my dad because you know now he's got a 13 year old son that he's raising by himself along with a daughter my sister who is a few years older and so my dad kind of so is a single dad from that point on it was tough I mean obviously you know I was 13 so I was dealing with all that stuff that you would deal with as a thirteen-year-old anyway but one thing I learned from my dad is you accept things with grace [11:38] and the things that you can't control and that was something that we couldn't control and I remember asking my dad one time hey Dad you think Mom thinks about us and he said no and it rocked my world because I was like wait what he said your mom is with God he said she's good to go and you know that's where I want to be and I thought about that and I was like wow that's so heavy that's so incredible to see his faith you know such an inspiration to me and so that's kind of a broad answer for the question but it's tough to answer that in a short amount of time
Jerrad: yeah I understand there's probably so much nuance in that man but I appreciate you even sharing that and I'm sorry I can't imagine losing [12:19] a parent at any time especially that age I can't imagine how hard that is I'm curious there's part of me that I've gotten into my thirties now where I'm like so much of my childhood I just kind of put in the back of my brain i'm like yeah that was my childhood and now as a man who has kids I'm starting to think about how much that affected who I am today have you unpacked any of that?
Jerrad: You know like it's just like taking a step backwards as hard as that can be and being like how did that shape me as a husband and dad now?
Harry: yeah it's funny like it's almost like your brain doesn't want to think about that stuff because you're still growing and you're still learning and like even things like mortality like I'm 53 how old are you? [13:06]
Jerrad: I'm 33
Harry: yeah you're 33 right some twenty years older than you when I was 33 like I wasn't really thinking about mortality and stuff I mean I just thought like if I ever get sick by the time I get sick you know they'll have a cure for it I mean I just didn't think about it but as you get older it's an amazing thing it's almost almost like we were made to accept things as they are revealed to us my sister she's a doctor and she told me one time that the arches in baby's you know [13:35] how babies have flat feet the arches don't start to develop until they’re about ready to walk or they don't really start developing teeth until it's about time for them to eat solid food that's not a happenstance
Harry: these are all you know miracles of being a human being and it's the same thing I think emotionally like right now it's just about the time when you should be thinking about your childhood because you have kids and things start to reveal themselves to you now because now is the time you should be contemplating them and it's funny how that stuff works out so yeah I think a lot about how I was raised how my parents you know raised me and you know I see similarities of my father the older I get the more I see things and it's an incredible process [14:20] that's just part of the cycle of life and I promise you it's not coincidence i mean I think it's by design and something that is far greater than something we could comprehend you know so it's a wonderful thing to behold and and a wonderful thing to experience and I'm so happy to know that there's smart you know young guys like you [14:36] who are using your gifts to bring people together and to celebrate shared experience because ultimately that's one of the things that helps us get through this crazy thing called life is the fact that you're not going through it alone
Jerrad: yeah well I appreciate that man that means a lot to me hearing you say that what would 53 year old Harry tell 33 year old Harry?
Harry: nothing because he wouldn't have listened the 33 year old Harry he wouldn't have listened to a word he'll be like what's that guy talking about you know but it's okay because it's just things just happen like that like there was a reason that I was kind of hot-headed at 33 and you know didn't really heed a lot of advice [15:18] and kind of jumped in head first into situations I mean I was just that's just the way I was I promise you I would have respected me I would have been like man you're awesome you're cool but then I would have gone and done what I wanted to do anyway and all of those things would have been good because whatever happens is I'm a fatalist in that way I believe that things happen for reasons we may not understand at the time but invariably there's something to be gained from everything that happens to us
Jerrad: yeah you know whenever I talk to you know guys like you [15:50] or people who live these lifestyles where youre in front of a lot of people you're traveling a lot you know you got a real busy schedule I always wonder like how hard is it for you you talk you know your album is called “Alone In My Faith” you're talking about I was forced to be alone and I think a lot of people just struggle with like essentially what I'm asking is community like finding those few people around you that are just going to keep pushing you forward keep being insert and inject positive faith influences and just keep pushing you like hey man you're okay if you see zoom out you got good perspective here let me give you some good perspective here like how hard is it for you in particular to find that like small group of people that keeps pushing you pushing you forward to that way? [16:32]
Harry: well it's really interesting because at some point like musically speaking I haven't bought a record in 25 years I don't listen to music like that anymore I don't not listen to it but I don't actively listen to music because at some point I have to do my own thing and I don't want to keep doing tributes to other artists I want to do my own thing and it's a really interesting concept my dad is 94 there's a fairly good chance that you know I'm going to outlive my dad and as a person who's depended on his dad for so long it's scary thinking like wait like I'm the dad now like I'm going to be the paternal figure in my family that's scary [17:11] so how do you deal with the idea of maybe not having somebody of great influence or if you don't have somebody of influence finding that person I think the most important thing is to start developing the idea that you are the person who's going to be our spiritual leader you are the person who's going to be the person who gets you up out of bed in the morning makes you go learn more about your faith not to say that you can do it alone because I don't think you can but as opposed to constantly seeking these things out you make yourself the source above inspiration find the inspiration from within realize what a gift that you are realize that you have been given these circumstances of being a father of being a husband of being a brother being a son or whatever and celebrate those things and when you start to build your self-esteem and build your confidence [18:03] because eventually you may be alone you may be a 94 year old man and I think the earlier that you start realizing the gifts that you have the wider the window through which you look to others will become other people will reveal themselves to you because you have assumed a different position about your own existence you'll start to attract that kind of stuff because you're investing in the gifts that you have because you can do it there's people who have had by far an infinitely more complex and difficult situations than I have but I mean if people have been on their own since they were teenagers you know without a mom or a dad and you start looking within your unique are you are a gift you are a representation of God so celebrate that and I think when you do that you know situations can arise you know that you may not have expected [18:56]
Jerrad: yeah I think what you're saying there it takes me back to what you were saying earlier like you know a baby's foot starts to develop as it starts to walk and the teeth come in as it starts to eat yeah I think the same is true about our spirituality in regards to what you're saying there like there is a point where we need to be nurtured and grown up and we find our identity kind of spiritually and we need people pouring into us because we're young maybe you're young in your faith but as you grow up there becomes a point where I don't always need somebody feeding me I've grown in my faith I've matured in my faith to the point where I can now pour into others and I'm not always needing people to pour into me and that I think you said it right like this isnt an excuse to just try to be alone and never have anyone else we always [19:38] need people around us and a small group of people who are going to pour into us but eventually I think you're right that becomes a place where I'm spiritually mature and now I'm able because of who I know who I am I'm able to pour into other people and not always need it to be poured into myself does that make sense
Harry: yeah and spiritually mature also means being able to accept that sometimes you might be spiritually immature
Jerrad: yeah that's right
Harry: like being spiritually mature to me means that you'll have to be okay with discomfort now and then you have to be okay with being scared you have to be okay with wanting to crawl into a hole and curl up in a ball and die you have to be okay that's the way it is [20:15] that's part of that so just because you might think you're spiritually mature does it mean you don't experience grief or loss and pain and insecurity and doubt like that to me is what spiritual maturity is is knowing that you're human being and that you're going to fail and you're going to question things and being okay with that knowing that's not always going to be like that necessarily you know what I'm saying?
Jerrad: Totally yeah I mean I'm a dad right like I'm 33 I'm a dad I'm a husband I've been I've been doing dad and husband stuff for 10 years and yet there are times any given week you pop into my house and I'm acting like a child right like just because I'm [20:54]
Harry: you don't know what the hell's going on yeah I know and like acting like a child that's we laugh at that but what about the times when you genuinely do not have a clue how much are supposed to do as a dad what about those times
Harry: what about when somebody in your life dies or you have a serious family issue what about those times when you think I don't know if I can get through today knowing that that's okay is spiritual maturity to me and believing that you know existing in that doubt or pain and being okay with that is really a great accomplishment [21:30] that you should celebrate as opposed to say agh I'm not there yet because nobody has a pain free life you know my Dad we talk about it all the time I mean he's 94 I mean he's a lot further along than me spiritually but you know he has questions and I think that we need to remember that that it's okay to doubt and the question and to hurt
Jerrad: yeah I think you know I told my wife the other day I still feel all the same emotions and pains and fears and all the same stuff I felt as a 13 year old boy but my mentality towards those things is what matured you know it's not that those things went away
Harry: absolutely you're just growing out of your core you're just putting more layers on the onion and the onion is just going to get bigger and bigger and bigger I mean you are hardwired to feel those things [22:15] and you know it's great to hear I mean you're 33 I'm 20 years down the road from you and we like the same guy you know it's just have a little bit more time under my belt to have thought about some of those things but you know it sounds to me that you and your listeners are ahead of the curve because you're aware of these things and that's a gift in itself and and I applaud you for opening some of these doors because it's you know it's hard to face some of these things being a dad you know it's heavy stuff man like you are their dad like you are the idea of a dad to them in real life and there's nobody else in the world but you that does that and that is freaky [22:56]
Harry: like that's scary like you are driving the car now dude do you know what I mean like you got to get them there safely nobody's going to take the wheel for you you know and that's like oh crap and it gets more complex as they get older because they get more complex you know but I think if you think like we've been thinking and talking you're going to be okay you're going to be okay because you're aware of it and you're embracing it as opposed to different attitudes of not communicating you know not being truthful you know so you're doing all the right stuff
Jerrad: Ah man well I appreciate that I feel that heaviness and that weight of it and it is sobering feeling every morning I wake up man and I appreciate you saying that
Harry: and the only thing that outweighs that is the fact that it's the greatest blessing ever
Jerrad: that's right that's right [23:45] yeah
Harry: you know to have these little munchkins call you Dad just like makes it like you know you're going to be all right you're going to get through it no matter what happens you will be okay you know so it's a good feeling
Jerrad: well bro I know you're out talking about the new album and you got a lot of great music obviously your pudding out so much good music over the years but you pause for a little bit have kind of a different conversation about some of these heavier and deeper things
Harry: I loved every minute of it I'm proud of it I'm real proud of you
Jerrad: I'm so thankful man and any last word do you want to say to the 20-something dad early 30 your old dad who's just like he's tired bro he's trying to work hard it's the middle of the pandemic and he's trying to put food on the table and he's like all the stuff just feels so bigger than him right now when he's just trying to pay the bills and get through this week any last words for that guy?
Harry: [24:37] Well I just want to tell all y'all that I love you and you know what I mean by that obviously I don't know you but I love you and I pray for you and we can do this you can do this this is something that's well within your abilities and the fact that you're listening right now to this fantastic show says to me that you are right where you should be and our lives are all full of pain and tragedy and joy celebration and everything and everybody goes through that but the fact that you're a father that you're tired that you're doing everything you can to provide for your family I love you God loves you you just keep on doing what you doing because it's appreciated and you're going to be okay
Jerrad: that's a good place to [25:26] end man I'm so thankful that you took the time to hang out with us today bro is so great meeting you
Harry: I loved it I look forward to meeting you in person
Jerrad: thanks man.