Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“One Father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.” An Old English Proverb
“You’re something, kid.”
The words spewed forth in a choking torrent of tears. He had rushed the eighteenth green after the final putt to celebrate the moment with his son. But the best that Kenny McDowell could do to describe how he was feeling was to bear-hug his son’s neck while they sobbed on each other’s shoulders.
It was enough. His son got it.
Kenny’s son, Graeme McDowell, a thirty-year-old professional golfer from Northern Ireland, had just become the first golfer from the United Kingdom in forty years to win the Unites States Open. He scaled the mountain of the 110th U.S. Open on the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links with an even par effort over four days and seventy-two holes, and by holding off some of the world’s best golfers lurking just behind. He did it while a proud Dad watched from the gallery on Father’s Day on just his first visit to Pebble Beach.
You can’t help but believe that father and son embraced in that victory hug every moment they had spent together during the years that led to this Sunday afternoon in California. A Dad’s life of nurturing and teaching by example and occasionally words, no doubt helped to carry Graeme McDowell forward, over, around and through the obstacles he faced, and on this very special day, into the winners’ circle of the United States Open Golf Championship. And more than winning, it was another God-ordained moment that transcended golf and all the other lesser things in the lives of those gathered around that eighteenth green or watching on TV sets around the world—and pointed us all toward the important.
Between individuals, it’s simply the most powerfully molding influence in life—that of the relationship between a Father and his child. And sadly today it’s absent in too many homes. Sadly today, too many allow personal painful memories to color and overshadow those memories of joy and affirmation lying just beneath the surface. But yesterday, amidst newspaper and television stories everywhere highlighting Fathers, many of us paused to reflect, remember and honor that relationship.
They’re all different—father-child relationships. Most are full of joy, nurture and wonderful memories; others heartache, neglect and disappointment. Despite what the relationship was or is like, an honest appraisal will uncover the truth that many of the good qualities that others see in us, are a reflection of the best in the man who did the best he could to raise, nurture, and by his example, teach us. And if somehow we feel shortchanged in that relationship, perhaps recognizing that forgiveness of those shortcomings, and our thankfulness for others who came along-side us to stand-in-the-gap, will help us to bridge beyond things that never were—and to overcome any longing which would hold us back from becoming all we were meant to be.
Reflecting on the events of yesterday reminded me of a story I read in the Guideposts devotional book more than thirty years ago. My son, Nathan, was nine at the time, and after dropping him off at school, I found myself still unable to penetrate the clouds that covered my attitude as I woke that morning—for no reason that I could identify. As I was about to drive away from his school, the pages of the book opened on the seat next to me to reveal this story…
It was about a very successful businessman who finally found time from his busy schedule to take his 12-year-old son fishing. An achiever and a very efficient one, this man considered leisure an extravagance. After a long day spent catching nothing, the pair returned home. “Waste of time,” the man grumbled to his wife that night as they got ready for bed. “Didn’t catch a thing all day–waste of time.” His wife turned to him and handed him a small book which his son had showed her earlier when she was putting him to bed, and said, “Maybe you should look at this.” It was his son’s diary, and in it his son had written, “Best day of my life. Went fishing with my Dad.”
It changed more than the man’s mind. It changed the man.
And, for me that day, it cleared the clouds. No matter what was going on at the office or in the world—it pointed me once again toward the important. The hours couldn’t go by quickly enough for me to pick up Nathan after school later that day.
Congratulations to you—Kenny and Graeme McDowell—for yesterday’s reminder to us all of the important things in life. Thank you for the reminder of the importance of the Father—child relationship. Thank you for helping us to remember to be grateful for ours.
And by the way, congratulations to you both for the new name now engraved on the trophy for the United States Open Golf Championship.
You’re something—both of you!
In His Name—Scott