A little over a year ago, Generations United devoted a blog post to Sargent Shriver, a great service advocate and leader, who passed away in January 2011. Yesterday, Shriver’s fourth son Mark Shriver released a book dedicated to his father entitled A Good Man: Rediscovering My Father, Sargent Shriver. The title could not be more befitting for a man who sought goodness in all aspects of his life.
Sargent Shriver made an impressive impact in both his community and his country. In addition to creating the Peace Corps with his brother-in-law John F. Kennedy, he began programs like Head Start, Job Corps, and Foster Grandparents. However, Mark Shriver writes that “most importantly, was his role as a father and grandfather.”
A Good Man acts as more than a remembrance of the great public works of Sargent Shriver, but rather a love letter to a father. The book’s introduction recounts Mark and his dad on an early morning hunting trip. While the younger Shriver agonized over the fact they were running late, his father noticed only how beautiful the sunrise was. Sargent Shriver regarded all life this way.
Sargent Shriver’s Alzheimer’s advanced in his later years, but he maintained devotion to his family. On the Today Show, Mark Shriver described one of his daughter’s lacrosse practices that he attended with his aging father. At one point, Mark yelled at his daughter. His father, whom Mark thought no longer recognized him, turned and said, “Did I yell at you like that?” This led Mark to discover that “I needed to give my daughter the unconditional love and support my dad gave me.”
As father’s day approaches, it is important that we appreciate our role models who have acted as father figures in our lives, whether they are a dad, grandpa, uncle, or neighbor. As Mark’s father was and continues to be his inspiration, so are these men an example to us. Sargent Shriver’s legacy of serving all generations should act as a guide to work to improve the lives of all people.
Photos courtesy http://www.sargentshriver.org/
-Written by Annie Cleary