June 30th, 2009
12:40 PM ET

My Childhood, My Sabbath, My Freedom

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/06/25/michael.jackson.heart.health/art.jackson.2005.gi.jpg caption="As a young boy, Michael Jackson writes he wished for nothing else but 'to be a normal little boy.'"]

Program Note: This story originally was published on Beliefnet in December, 2000. For a closer look into Michael Jackson's faith, tune in to AC360° live from Los Angeles tonight at 10p ET.

Michael Jackson
For Beliefnet

"Have you seen my childhood?
I'm searching for that wonder in my youth
Like pirates in adventurous dreams,
Of conquest and kings on the throne…"
Written and Composed by Michael Jackson

When people see the television appearances I made when I was a little boy–8 or 9 years old and just starting off my lifelong music career–they see a little boy with a big smile. They assume that this little boy is smiling because he is joyous, that he is singing his heart out because he is happy, and that he is dancing with an energy that never quits because he is carefree.

But while singing and dancing were, and undoubtedly remain, some of my greatest joys, at that time what I wanted more than anything else were the two things that make childhood the most wondrous years of life, namely, playtime and a feeling of freedom. The public at large has yet to really understand the pressures of childhood celebrity, which, while exciting, always exacts a very heavy price.

More than anything, I wished to be a normal little boy. I wanted to build tree houses and go to roller-skating parties. But very early on, this became impossible. I had to accept that my childhood would be different than most others. But that's what always made me wonder what an ordinary childhood would be like.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Sandra Robertson, GA

    I thank God for everyday, but most of all, like Michael, I thank God for Sundays.

    As a young child I learned that no matter how hard life got during the week, Sunday would always come and I would attend church and sing with joy or cry with sadness, and I would go home feeling refreshed and ready for another week of life's lessons.

    I believe Sundays gave Michael a release and freedom to be who he wanted to be. It's too bad all of his days could not be Sundays.

    June 30, 2009 at 8:06 pm |
  2. Raymond Sheppard

    The world cared and cares about Michael Jackson, not because a few money hungry individuals saw a way in this gentle person to scam a few million, but rather for his contribution to mankind.

    June 30, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  3. Sabrina In Las Vegas

    I used to be orthodox Jewish and Shabbat was my favorite time....forget the TV, Cell Phone, phone, car, work...all of it didn't exist.

    We call Shabbat an "island in time" because you arrive on it with the sunset on Friday and depart from it at nightfall on Saturday.

    Technology doesn't exist during that time...if it was on, it stays on, if it was off, it stays off. The phone rings....it goes to voice mail. After a while the only calls you get are solicitation so you are not hyper when the phone rings.

    No traffic to deal with, just hanging out with family and friends, going to God's house and enjoying good food and conversation.

    Not all aspects of Judaism, the people, are as nice and welcoming.

    Shabbat is God's gift.

    June 30, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  4. Geneva Hunt

    I think that Michael was very musch misunderstood. I really believe that he so much elated to Peter Pan that as far as his changes in looks is concerned , he was in fact Peter Pan. He neever had the childhood we so take for granted, so he created his own childhood fantasy world where he could retreat and become a kid again.

    June 30, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  5. Naren

    Then what happened later ?? Surplus bank balance and henious thougts went lookin back for 'child'hood..

    June 30, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  6. Anthony Ching

    It's so sad to know how Michael Jackson craved his childhood that he had to recreate it in adulthood which inevitably lead to legal troubles surrounding his "need' to be around children. Rest in peace; you are at peace.

    June 30, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  7. Cindy

    I have to say that this is an excellent article! I knew Michael was a Jehovah Witness but had no idea he still practiced it and thought so much about God. Too bad that he didn't allow God more into his life to help with the pain instead of using drugs! And too bad he didn't allow others more into his life to help him. But I guess when you can't trust your own parents because they were bad to you then it's hard to let anyone else in.


    June 30, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  8. Teresa, OH

    What a wonderfully written piece.

    June 30, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  9. Tamara

    Parents, let your kids be kids. Childhood is the time to be carefree cause Lord knows adulthood is not carefree.

    June 30, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  10. DawnMD

    This is a beautiful article.
    Michael was truly our gift from God.
    His spirit will live on through his music.

    June 30, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  11. Sheryl Coronel

    This is so heartbreaking! To be adored almost like a god himself- with the power that money and fame gave him, but it was these that also kept him a prisoner. I'm sure keeping his sanity in such circumstances had been a daily struggle. I feel really sorry for this special man. I feel he was done much injustice during his lifetime.

    June 30, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  12. Linda

    Yes, well all normal little boys would have liked to be Michael Jackson. Problem with humans they are never happy with what they have. Its all about choice. Its about being able to say NO! I don't want to be a child star anymore. At a certain phase in Micahel's life it only took the word NO, to set him free. Free from his father, free from the public, free from the drugs that MAY HAVE taken his life.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:57 pm |