Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver by Mark K. Shriver

Mark K. Shriver has apparently written a memoir of his dad: A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver.  NPR interviewed Mark Shriver recently and the book sounds fascinating:

For those who are not familiar with him, Sargent Shriver was married for 56 years to Eunice Kennedy.  He was a deeply religious Catholic Christian who attended daily mass.  He is well-known for running Special Olympics and the Peace Corps.  He also founded Head Start, Job Corps, Foster Grandparents and Neighborhood Health Services.  But his son’s book focuses apparently on the elder Mr. Shriver’s parenting and what he was like outside of the spotlight.  The younger Mr. Shriver describes his father as giving his five children “unconditional love.”

The title of the younger Mr. Shriver’s book apparently comes from his observation that “great” people have power, prestige and money, but “when the lights are turned off and no one’s paying attention, they’re not good.”  His son describes his father as being kind to everyone from waitresses to presidents or cardinals. 

There were two anecdotes from the interview that really moved me.

The first involved Sargent Shriver in his later years when he had Alzheimer’s.  The Messieurs Shriver were at a lacrosse game of Mark Shriver’s daughter.  Mark Shriver was yelling at her and encouraging her to be more competitive.  Sargent Shriver asked his son, “Did I yell at you like that, too?”  Mark Shriver was stunned at his father’s question and realized that at that moment, despite his disease, Sargent Shriver was still fathering him.

The other anecdote involved Mark Shriver’s brother falling down and crying when he was a kid.  Their uncle, Bobby Kennedy, was around at the time, and reportedly said “Don’t cry.  Kennedys don’t cry.”  In response, Sargent Shriver scooped up the little boy and said, “That’s OK, you’re a Shriver, you can cry.” 

1 Samuel 24:17

And he said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil.

Mark 6:20

[F]or Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him.

1 comment:

  1. I just listened to a wonderful archived interview the book report radio show had with Mark Shriver about the very same book he's written ( What also stands out to me, and isn't really delved in too much, is the past Sargent had to have brought him to be the good man he was. A very strong emphasis is made on How Sargent based his life on God.