Elton John is mindful about his approach to parenthood.
The music icon and his husband, David Furnish, have two sons, Zachary and Elijah. Since becoming a dad in 2010, he’s opened up about shifting priorities, keeping his kids down to earth and more.
In honor of his birthday, we’ve rounded up nine quotes about parenthood from John.
On How Parenthood Changed Him
“Having children changed everything about my life. I’ve learned that the simplest things in life ― like having a minute with them ― are worth more than any painting, any photograph, any house or any hit record.”
On Writing His Memoir For His Sons
“I wanted my boys to know what I was like and what happened, so that when I’m not here, they can read the book and read the truth. I just want them to understand what I was like when I went through the journey I had before I had them. How they made my life complete. How they’ve, you know, finished the circle. And that, you know, they were the last chapter in an incredible life.”
On Becoming Less Materialistic
“Before we had the children we just had our lives, and would spend money because we didn’t have anything else to focus on. We have really toned things down because we have enough stuff. There is nothing else we need.”
On Keeping His Kids Down To Earth
“Of course I want to leave my boys in a very sound financial state. But it’s terrible to give kids a silver spoon. It ruins their life. Listen, the boys live the most incredible lives, they’re not normal kids, and I’m not pretending they are. But you have to have some semblance of normality, some respect for money, some respect for work.”
On Showing Love
“[My dad] never told me he loved me, he didn’t hold me, and he didn’t come to see me perform. And when [David and I] had our own children, I never stopped telling them I loved them, and they never stop telling me they love me … My son Zachary the other day said, ‘I love you all the way up to God.’ He trots it out on a regular basis in different guises, and so does Elijah. And it means to me that we’re doing a good job raising our children, that they feel loved, that they feel nurtured, that they feel tactile love as well as verbal love.”
“I think what Sting said is very right, it’s a good idea. I came from a very working class family and was born in a council estate house. I earned everything I did from hard work and that’s the way they’ve got to do it as well. They have to do chores in the house ― take their plates to be cleaned, help in the kitchen, tidy their rooms and help in the garden, and each time they do they get a little star to put on these charts they’ve made. They understand they need to do these things, and they enjoy it.”
On His Approach To Parenting
“I was determined I was not going to hit them, I was determined I was not going to shout at them. They were going to be disciplined, but they were going to be disciplined in a way where we talked about things. I don’t want them to live any of their lives in fear and they don’t. They’re amazing children.”
On Life Away From Show Business
“I’m their dad, I’m famous, they live an extraordinary life. David and I talk about it all the time, we’re fully aware of the pitfalls that might happen. They are spoilt in the way they live and how they’re living, but they’re not spoilt when it comes to the rules they have to live by. They get £3 pocket money, but £1 is for charity, £1 is for saving and £1 is for spending, they get three coins and put them in separate jars. And they have to work for it – help in the kitchen, help in the garden. They’ve got to learn the value of doing something and earning something for themselves. They live a very local life in Old Windsor, they go round their mates’ houses, it’s not a showbiz life as such. They’re not stuck behind the gates of a mansion. Saturdays when I’m home, we go to Pizza Hut with them, we go to Waterstones, we go to the cinema. I’ve never been a recluse, I’ve never hidden away. I’m on the school run.”
On Homeschooling During The Pandemic
“It’s not easy! We’ve been here since May … It’s very hard, but they’ve been amazing … Children need to interact with each other. But the circumstances are what they are … We are in a situation which, I hope, is getting better with the vaccinations of people but you just have to pray that the situation gets better because people have been through terrible hardships.”