Thursday, March 24, 2016

Father And Son

My Gospels classes will test Monday on the Parable of the Prodigal Son, perhaps Jesus' most powerful teaching on the love of the Father for his children. This entry, covering the complicated father/son relationship,  is from April 14, 2009.

I'm in the middle of my second biography whose subject is the most prolific score in college basketball history, Pete Maravich. Mark Kriegel's PISTOL: The Life Of Pete Maravich is a fascinating look at the complicated relationship between Pete and his father/college coach, Press Maravich. The elder Maravich groomed his son to be the first millionaire basketball player and in that sense, he succeeded. But in the larger scope of life, the son was an unhappy alcoholic who seemed to alternately love and despise his dad who had given him the opportunity to achieve stardom and accumulate wealth. Television sports journalist Heywood Hale Broun who interviewed Pete described him in these terms:
"He was so much the instrument of his father's desire that there wasn't much to Pete himself. I think it emptied him of personality." (PISTOL, pg 203)
Is there any human relationship struggle that predates tension between a dad and his boy, often over the future? Consider the words of Cat Steven's classic ballad, Father And Son:


It's not time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy.

You're still young, that's your fault,
There's so much you have to know.
Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry.

Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy.
I was once like you are now and I know that it's not easy
To be calm when you've found something going on.

But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you've got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.
How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again.
It's always been the same, same old story.From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen.
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

It's not time to make a change,
Just sit down, take it slowly.

You're still young, that's your fault,
There's so much you have to go through.
Find a girl, settle down, if you want you can marry.
Look at me,
I am old, but I'm happy.

(Son-- Away Away Away, I know I have to Make this decision alone - no)
All the times that I cried, keeping all the things I knew inside,
It's hard, but it's harder to ignore it.
If they were right, I'd agree, but it's them they know not me.
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away. I know I have to go.(Father-- Stay Stay Stay, Why must you go and make this decision alone?)

Press and Pete made peace at the end of their lives as they turned to the Lord to escape the demons that had marked their paths. In the in-between, they suffered setbacks, professional, emotional, and in the family arena. Not all dads and their boys reach that armistice, much less a fulfilling relationship with the one most like them on earth. As I recall my father, I am so thankful that he, along with Mom, raised his children in the teachings of God, never implanting a burden of guilt on us or turning our lives into a competition with him. Once when I was a small town high school basketball player, Dad was introduced to a stranger in a drugstore as"Steve Hawley's dad." He loved it...and I/we loved him.

Click here to hear Cat Stevens song Father And Son:

Applicable quote of the day:
"It's hard when your father's the coach. Sometimes you don't know where one leaves off and the other begins. My life had no meaning at all. I found only brief interludes of satisfaction. It was like my whole life had been about my whole basketball career."
Pete Maravich

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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Sherry Ann said...

Im excited that my Dad with my mom is coming over this weekend to visit. Its been a long time dream for me :) Do you know how i introduce my Dad to friends????

"Hey, meet my first love"... :)
We're blessed to have an awesome DAD, both in heaven and here on earth :)))

Michael said...

I am remembering your father and mother today. Two of the finest people I have ever met. I am grateful to God to have had the opportunity to know your dad as my professor, my friend and my colleague. And to know your parents as our mentors and co-presenters in strengthening marriages. They are missed and we are blessed. Love to you all, Mike and Deanie Runcie