Raising Up Strong Husbands and Fathers
In a previous guest article, Judge Ernestine Grey wrote about the responsibility of parents in raising their children. She stressed the significance of this responsibility and underscored “ that rarely is physical beauty, athletic achievement or popularity sufficient lifetime goals.” She said, “Teach them to be good adults and later how to be good parents.” They should focus on the work needed for character development. I would like to continue Judge Grey’s thoughts looking at examples of men who viewed life differently.
Tiger Wood’s father spent an inordinate amount of time with his son from an early age teaching and coaching the boy in the art of the game of golf. Early on the boy showed promise as a great athlete. He had a scholarship to Stanford. His golf skills improved in college. When he turned professional he soared into being the greatest golfer of all time. When Tiger was in a tournament he could seemingly make other golfers fold up in his presence. You know the rest of the story with Tiger being exposed with a number of illicit affairs outside of marriage.
After the scandal, when Tiger went back to the Tour to play at Augusta everyone thought he would move right back to the top of his game. He didn’t. Phil Mickelson won that Tournament. Phil had taken time off from golf the previous year because his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. He said his wife’s health was more important than any tournament.
Tiger was asked by a reporter at the end of the match what he thought about Phil winning and he said something about Phil playing well. What he should have said was, “Phil was the best player here today, I wish I could have played as well as he, but more importantly, I wish I could have been as good a husband and father as Phil.” That would have shown his humility and his ownership of the injury he caused his wife and children. It would have been a great message to his wife who was contemplating divorce. He didn’t say it and my guess is he probably didn’t think it.
Dave Robinson was the star center for the San Antonio Spurs basketball team. Dave was influenced by both his mom and dad. He excelled as a student and basketball was not a focus for his family. He began playing late in high school and after he was accepted into the Naval Academy he played college basketball. Drafted by the San Antonio Spurs he completed his military obligation and became a star. Dave described that when his team went on the road the team members went out for dinner and drinks after the game to either celebrate a victory or lament a loss. At each restaurant the players were surrounded by very beautiful young women who wanted to meet these millionaire athletes. Dave told his teammates that he would go back to his room and have his dinner provided by room service. His teammates teased him that his wife wouldn’t let him go out with the guys. Dave said, “I’m married with kids why should I put myself in a situation of temptation. It would not be good for me to be away from home in the company of very pretty women who tell me how good looking I am or what a great athlete I am when I may have been criticized by my wife for not having done some chore at home.” He said, “I have a responsibility as a husband and a father.”
Dave was also offered a fortune to do television commercials endorsing various products. He said, “I travel a lot during the season and if I do these commercials I will have to travel away from my family in the off-season. I am away from my wife and kids too much as it is, I need to be home to fulfill my role as husband and father. Also, I am paid a lot of money to play basketball, why do I have to have more money? Dave set up a foundation to establish rigorous academic schools for poor disadvantaged kids believing he also had a responsibility for others.
Men raised differently. One acquired a set of values that the other didn’t. As parents we must convey those values to our offspring as the bedrock for whatever they will do in life. Tiger’s dad spent thousands of hours with his son, thousands of opportunities to emphasize family values, family commitment. If Tiger could have given just a percentage of the intensity he gave to golf on his family, he could have rivaled Phil Mickelson and Dave Robinson.
About Frederick "Fred" Tully
Retired Clinical Director, South Dakota Children's Home Society Former Development Director, Crazy Horse Memorial Hill City, South Dakota Read Frederick "Fred" Tully’s Bio