Sunday, January 18, 2015

Fame And Father

I often pray in the morning that our Father will give me something to write about that day. Sometimes that gift comes from odd places and sources of inspiration. Sometimes one thing I see leads to another. Yesterday, I saw a Facebook post by Mike Tune with a youtube link about a song called The Rain, The Park, And Other Things. It often is called  simply The Flower Girl and it came from The Cowsills, a family band from Rhode Island. The group had some successes with several other songs (Indian Lake, Gimme A Kid With Hair) and were the real life inspiration for the smash TV show, The Partridge Family. As I often do on youtube, I perused the comments and found that several years ago, a documentary was made about them, entitled, A Family Band: The Cowsills. I was able to locate a ten minute clip, also on youtube, and what I saw was fascinating, and sad. I thought this was fascinating. Their dad, Bud, who served as manager, insisted his wife and band member, Barbara, play the role filled by Shirley Jones when The Partridge Family was being cast, even though Barbara had stage fright and did not want the job. But the rest of what I saw just made me sorrowful. Bud, was by all the accounts of his children, an alcoholic and abusive. The mom was caught in the middle. The siblings blame dad for breaking up the band and mismanaging the money that should have been banked. There was never any real reconciliation and the kids were left with bitterness. It shattered what I had assumed, knowing as little as I did, that the Cowsills were an idyllic family. I was so wrong.

This morning, I was in charge of communion thoughts in both our English and Chinese speaking services. In the English worship, I referenced Dad and how he (and Mom) modeled consistency for always being with our congregation on Sundays and always partaking of the Lord's Supper to remember our Savior. I told our church family, along with a large contingent of visitors, that the last meal Dad ate on this side of eternity was communion on a Sunday afternoon only thirty-six hours before his passing. Up until his death, our father was teaching us even as we prayed he would stay with us just a little while longer. I was struck by the contrast of the interview of one of the Cowsill's sons who remembered how when their parents went out, the kids prayed they would never return. I know what I saw of the documentary was only one side of the story- I was reminded of similar reported dysfunction in maybe the two most famous American family bands, the Jackson 5 and the Beach Boys. And while the dads were obviously instrumental in at least the early steps to stardom, their offspring were left with differing depths of bitterness. In Colossians 3:21, Paul makes this appeal to dads:
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
Easier said than done in some families. And no catalog of # 1 hits can take the place of a father whose children love him with all their heart. I miss my father.

To watch an overview of A Family Band: The Cowsills, copy and paste the link below:

To listen to The Rain, The Park, And Other Things, copy and paste the link below:

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