When Michael Jackson died, he left behind an unparalleled musical legacy.
But the pop icon, who died three years ago, was also known—for better or for worse—for his dedication to children's causes. And it turns out he envisioned the whole country setting aside a day to honor young people, just as they do mothers, fathers, veterans, momentous dates in history, etc.
In a recording exclusively obtained by E! News, Jackson can be heard discussing his wish for a national children's day with confidante Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who is now running for congress in New Jersey on a platform that includes a proposal that, in his view, could help keep his late friend's dream alive.
"If there was a children's day when I was little...do you know what that would have meant for me?" Jackson told Boteach. "That would have meant so much to me, Shmuley."
"You would have said, 'Daddy, today's Children's Day, what are we doing for it?'" Boteach agreed.
Jackson envisioned children paying the kindnesses they received forward when grew up. "They complete the circle and take care of their father and their mother because [of] how they were treated when they were young," he mused. "Come on, what's more beautiful than that? I think that's beautiful. We need to bring back family."
Asked if he and his family would eat dinner together, Jackson replied, "Kind of, but it was on the go. 'Quick, go, quick, eat, run. I'll eat in the car, eat in the studio. Here's something, take the chili in the car with you'...My mother would make a big pot of it for all nine of us."
Jackson's now 82-year-old mother, Katherine, shares custody of his three children with their 34-year-old cousin T.J., Tito Jackson's son.
"Michael complained to me constantly that there is a Mother's Day and Father's Day, but no Children's Day," Boteach said in a statement. "It was my commitment to him to try to create one that led to my policy proposal for tax breaks for businesses that close on Sundays, so that families can spend time together...As Michael argued...giving time to your kids makes you even more successful."