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How having children changed Bruce Springsteen

“I am The President; he is The Boss,” then-President Barack Obama remarked to Bruce Springsteen before awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. This incredible praise is more than merited for one of the most iconic musicians to have ever lived. Bruce Springsteen’s extraordinary life is one of many ups and downs, making him one of the most multi-faceted artists in existence.

This extraordinary life has led to a lyrical density that is unmatched. His stories depict the working-class American condition through lived experience. His blue-collared, everyman nature is exemplified in how he sincerely reflects on topics such as mental health issues and politics. In interviews he shines, and endears himself to fans from every walk of life, confirming his mythical status as the voice of the people.

Regardless of what chapter of his career you listen to, his music is always extracted directly from the soul, whether that be the raw fire of 1973’s Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. or 2020’s retrospective Letter To You. Touching on a complex mix of themes, Springsteen continues to fascinate.

To sit and talk the world away with Springsteen would surely be a life-affirming moment. It’s a testament to him, that when you listen to him talk, you’re totally drawn in by his perception. He’s always possessed wisdom that makes us wonder if he’s really of this world at all. One area that he has specialised in, however, is parenthood. An open book, Springsteen’s thoughts on raising children are a real departure from the glossy self-help books you see ubiquitous in contemporary times.

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During a 2016 interview with The Guardian, Springsteen admitted that having children made him realise that his work isn’t his life, and that there is so much more to it than that. He explained: “I realised that previously I’d expanded my work life so that I’d have something to do during the day, and into the evening. Without it, what am I gonna do? Go home, sit in a chair and watch TV? So I’d expanded the time it took me to do my job.”

‘The Boss’ continued: “Once the kids came along, I realised, I could squeeze my previous 18 hours of work day into six or eight, without any problems whatsoever. I realised the song is always going to be there – there’s always going to be a song in your heart or in your head – but kids, they’re there and then they’re gone. And when they’re gone, they’re gone. Once I realised that, I found a tremendous freedom from the tyranny of my own mind.”

Once again, Springsteen spoke with the same sincerity that has endeared him to us for so long. Ever a realist, he’s a modern oracle, and his thoughts on everyday topics are necessary and refreshing given the amount of noise we hear in the media. If he ran for President, he’d have my vote. One comment at a time, he shows us how to lead a fulfilling life, and for that we thank him.

Listen to Springsteen spread his wisdom below.