Agnetha Fšltskog in an openhearted interview:
"I'm worried about my children's future"
By Yan Friis
-Todayís upbringing of children isnít very good, says Agnetha. Look whatís going on in school, children arenít even learning how to spell! But I wonít accept whatís wrong Ė Iím going to get as involved as I can.
She doesnít look like a primadonna at all, Agnetha Fšltskog, as sheís sitting there on the couch across from me. She is slender and pleasant and relaxed and her eyes glisten.
Agnetha is talking about her new LP, ďEyes Of A WomanĒ. She tells me about the movie ďRaskenstam 2Ē with Gunnar HellstrŲm that has been postponed time after time and perhaps wonít be made. But there are other movie plans for something next year but she doesnít want to talk about it yet.
She talks about a TV-program that she has made, with six songs and interviews and talking in between.
What do you talk about?
-About myself and things that concern me.
But I thought that Agnetha absolutely didnít want to about the private side of herself.
-Well, I do, but I donít get too personal. I talk about subjects I think are important.
And what do you think is important?
She squirms a bit and smiles shyly.
-So many things. We live in a stressful world. Parents are worried that their children will hang out with the wrong crowd. And then thereís childrenís fear of nuclear weapons. And itís tough in school. SmokingÖ There are so many things.
-But I still have a positive view of the world today, Agnetha quickly adds. You get tired and depressed by being worried about everything. As an artist you have to do anything you can Ė to bring a message out to other people. These days people donít think theyíre adequate, that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, that only material things matters. But thatís not the way it is. I think itís important to realize that you also have weaknesses.
Then Agnetha begins talking about school issues.
-Look whatís going on in school! You canít accept whatís wrong. I mean, for exampleÖ. I help my 12-year old daughter Linda with homework and she gets very sad when I correct words she has misspelled. Why do I correct her when her teacher didnít? Iíve spoken with her teacher and I was told that itís not that important if children misspell. Not that important?!
-Iím going to get involved! This fall my son Christian starts going to school and Iím going to stay at home and make sure that they donít teach him things that are incorrect.
Now weíre talking about problems that Agnetha really cares about.
-And now they donít have grades in junior level and middle school! Children want to know where they stand. Otherwise they lose their footing and their self-confidence. Children should be encouraged in areas they do well in. Thatís the way it was when I went to school. I know it was good for me and it has helped me a lot.
Not all children are so lucky to have parents who really care about how things are in schoolÖ
-People are so occupied with their own lives, by having a career. Especially since womenís liberation began. Career, itís the most important. You donít have time to get involved in school issues. Everybody constantly experience the same stress. You have to live up to a lot in order to be accepted. Then relations between people get cool, as cool as our Nordic climate. You isolate yourself. In the summer itís different during those few warm months. But mostly the weatherís cold, thereís snow and winter and that affects people.
Maybe they donít like you very much at school.
-I havenít gotten involved that much yet. But I feel I want to. Because how will things go if they donít think itís not that important if children misspell? Then what is the purpose with school? And keep in mind the problems it creates for the children. Later on in life they have to spell correctly and then they have to learn all over again.
-Todayís upbringing of children isnít very good. Parents donít have the time. Itís terrible because if itís something children need, itís their parentsí time. And the gap gets wider if the parents donít get involved. Mathematics today is completely different compared to when I went to school. So is geography. In order to be able to help your children you have to get involved in what theyíre going to learn. I have. The connection between parents and children is incredibly important. By the way, the same thing is important between all people, you have to try to understand each other.
Does it happen that you write down what you think about?
-No, I donít. For example, I donít write lyrics. But I hope that some of my thoughts show up in the music. I have to feel for the lyrics that I sing. Mostly theyíre about love Ė that simple feeling reaches people. People have so many emotions but they keep them inside, theyíre shy. But they like to listen Ė songs about love engage people a lot.
-People should dare to show more emotions and warmth. Just think about the difference of going in an elevator in Sweden and New York for example. In New York people arenít afraid to talk to each other but in a Swedish elevator itís dead silent. There you stand and glance at each other and feel insecure and inferior.
What about yourself, do you talk in an elevator?
-No, Agnetha says and laughs heartily, Iím exactly the same! You have no idea how nervous I am if thereís a press conference. I become very shy when I attend an event where Iím supposed to be in the center of attention. Itís the same at parties, if I walk into a room and everybody turns around and looks at meÖ I feel so lost.
-Itís something completely different to spend time in a small crowd. I love to sit and talk together with a few good friends. And even if Iím shy in larger crowds, I can be quite tough in other situations!