Papa Roach and Broken Homes

Bryan Davis

"The cockroach represents longevity. Like when the bomb hits, what's going to be around? Cockroaches. That's like us. We're dirty, underground. When you see one of them, you know there's a million of them, and that's our plan, to infest." - Papa Roach

They were nominated for Best New Artist at the 43rd annual Grammy Awards. They are in Rolling Stone's Top 10 Albums of 2000. And their explicit mission is to Infest. They are Papa Roach.

sadteenonstreetTheir songs contain explicit language, disturbing images and offer malcontent and hopelessness.

While on the outside the band itself is profusely decorated with tattoos, they admit that on the inside they don't offer much beauty. But why would this group write such lyrics? I think Papa Roach answers that in their hit song Broken Home. Here's the first stanza:

I can't seem to fight these feelings
I'm caught in the middle of this
And my wounds are not healing
I'm stuck in between my parents
I wish I had someone to talk to
Someone I could confide in
I just want to know the truth.....

For these seemingly hardened musicians, they must take their Broken Home seriously to come up with such heart wrenching and honest lyrics.

Papa Roach is deeply hurt and outraged at the lack of communication they had with their parents. What is amazing is how profoundly they feel about their youth experiences in the midst of their current success. This can serve as a lesson that all children and young adults, no matter how they look or what stage of life they are in, need parental affection and attention. Let's look at the second stanza:

I know my mother loves me
But does my father even care?
If I'm sad or angry
You were never ever there
When I needed you
I hope you regret what you did
I think I know the truth
Your father did the same to you

The second observation is the grief expressed at an absent father.

Everything from crime to emotional instability rises dramatically when the father is "never ever there". The value of a father in a child's life cannot even begin to be expressed. It is no coincidence that most juvenile delinquents were fatherless growing up. Single moms can raise up great kids with a lot of hard work and love, but there is no replacement for a strong, caring male in the household. Now for the third stanza:

I'm crying day and night now
What is wrong with me?
I cannot fight now
I feel like a weak link...
It feels bad to be alone
Crying by yourself in a broken home
How could I tell it?
So all y'all could feel it
Depression strikes hard just like my old earth would tell it
To me, her son, she told me I'm the one
Pain bottled up, 'bout to blow like a gun
Stories that I tell
Are nonfiction
And you can't take it back cuz it's already done

We see the incredible emotional upheaval that Papa Roach faces.

Their broken homes are leading to a broken life. Broken Home reflects the broader picture of what is going on in our society. Another very popular band, Everclear, has a similar hit song called Father of Mine. It contains such lyrics as: "My daddy gave me a name, then he walked away...Father of mine, tell me how do you sleep, with the children you abandoned, and the wife I saw you beat, I will never be safe, I will never be sane, I will always be weird inside, I will always be lame."

If musical groups are now singing such heartfelt songs, how many thousands of kids must be feeling exactly the same way?

Be there for your kidsWithout, of course, an audience that cares to listen. As Everclear so aptly points out, many, many children are emotionally distraught because of a dysfunctional family life. So parents, listen up. Do everything, everything in your power to give your kids the best you have -- time, love, patience, listening ear, or whatever else they need. Even if they don't seem to be responding quite how you like, do it anyway. They need it. They want it. Not sure where to start? Perhaps take the lyrics to the song Broken Home (you may be surprised that they may already know it) and talk to your kids about the importance of family and what happens when family is not a central part of our lives. And, where possible, reach out and encourage other parents to be there for their kids, no matter what the cost.

While it would be easy for us to criticize Papa Roach and just believe they're fringe rogues, remember they were a "kid next door" know, just like the boy across the street...or, perhaps, sitting in your living room...

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