Michael Douglas has often publicly castigated himself for not being a great father to jailed drug-dealing son Cameron when he was younger. In private, one guesses he’s given himself a lot more grief for his perceived parenting failures.
As it happens, 31-year-old Cameron probably doesn’t merit such concern since he’s wilfully screwed up the many chances he’s been given to make something of his life.
Nevertheless, Michael Douglas says again and again, from the heart, that he loves his feckless son.
For a man who has earned vast fame and fortune, Douglas certainly seems to have a great sense of values. Where many of his Hollywood colleagues obsess about trivia like their hair and their wrinkles Douglas has clearly shown in recent years that he understands only too well how important love and health are.
Not long ago he and wife Catherine Zeta-Jones moved to New York from Bermuda purely to give their son the education he needs. Douglas announced recently, without going into detail, that his son has educational needs that require special teaching.
He has also made it clear that he’s giving both Dylan, 10, and daughter Carys, 7, the best childhood he can.
“What I worry about” he reecently told America’s Parade magazine “is trying to maintain the family unit with all these outside influences on them. The internet, for example; there aren’t borders anymore. You look at the sites on the internet. Depravity can probably go pretty damn far on it. I’m not happy about it.How do you, with all your abilities, maintain a family unit for as long as you can with just your values? You want your kids to have those values. They’re watching us, which is important. My kids can see what we do, and they’re pretty comfortable in that.”
And then he added something that indicates clearly what his values are.
“Do you know what absolute happiness is?” he asked. “For me, it is to wake up my kids in the morning – these little pieces of innocence – to wake them and find they’re so happy to see me! It is unequivocal love, no question about it. And oh God is that rare!”
The Oscar-winning actor/director seems pretty clear that while the money and fame he’s accrued from his film career are nice to have, love and health are a whole lot more important.
His father Kirk is also a man who easily expresses fatherle love. He wrote about Michael on his Myspace page: “I admire my son, he’s quite a guy. He has talked with dignity and humour about his bout with cancer.”
Love, admiration, dignity, health and humour. It seems the Douglas family has its collective head screwed on when it comes to what life is really about.
Kirk could easily have added courage because his son is dealing very courageously with his Stage 4 throat cancer, maintaining the school run for daughter Carys as long as he can, helping son Dylan with his schooling, encouraging his anxious wife, visiting Cameron in jail and doing what promotional work for his new film he can manage.
Kirk Douglas seems to have passed on to his son some sound values. Let’s hope Michael Douglas has also inherited his father’s undoubted strength and longevity.