Articles from the July 1997 Unification News
Father of the Tiger
by Alex Colvin-Washington, DC
I must confess, I can't deny, that I do not play golf. Nor do I generally watch golf on television. However, this past Sunday, I got caught up watching Tiger Woods in the Masters. I was sitting in a pizza parlor, about ready to go home, when I saw that the TV was on and a few folks were watching the Masters. I was curious because I had seen Tiger Woods on the front page of the Sunday paper and I wondered what all of the fuss was about.
Before I knew it, I was late for dinner. I hurried back home and blurted out to my wife Linda, "We've got to turn on the TV, the Masters is on." She looked at me like I was crazy. I went into the living room and turned on the tube. My 13 year old daughter was sitting on the floor writing something on the laptop. She wondered why I was putting on something as dull as a golf tournament.
We were at the 18th hole. Tiger had just missed his first putt. He had a four and a half footer. If he made it he would finish 18 under par breaking Jack Nicklaus record. The crowd fell silent. I started to tell my daughter how critical it was. "This is history in the making." "This may be his only chance in his lifetime to break this record." etc. As tiger finished his calculations, we hushed and watched intently. Tiger tapped the ball. It inched its way toward the hole, then - Plunk - it was in. "Yes!" yelled Hanalyn, flushed with excitement.
Then we watched as Tiger made a beeline for the Gallery, a path cleared, and he walked into his father's arms. They embraced for about a minute. The camera focused in, and I saw a tears of joy in Tiger's eye.
The Beauty of Father-Son
Earl Woods received his discharge form the Marine corps and married a lovely girl that he met in Thailand. They had a son and named him Tiger after a friend of Earl's in the Marine Corps. Earl had a dream that his son would become a great professional golfer. He was a good loving father. He raised his son with tough love. The boy in turn loved his father. He inherited his father's desire that he become a great golfer and made it his own. He concentrated his mind on achieving his goal - their goal - and disciplined himself to become the greatest player in the history of golf. And he stuck to it!
Their embrace that evening in Augusta was a dream come true for both of them. A father and a son united in a common victory. It's an example and a testimony for us all.
It has become commonplace for us today to lament the rise of single-parent homes. A predominant percentage of the problems of modern youth are endemic to single-parent families. Now, research is leading us to the conclusion that a critical factor is the lack of the father. Single-parent homes in which the father is raising the children do not have the same incidence of problems as those in which the sole parent is the mother. This is in no way to cast aspersion on single mothers. They do their best to provide for their children. But the fact is that the father provides an important psychological role in the development of the child. The father provides vision and goals which help the child to develop self discipline. A good father helps a child to make sense out of the world and to define his direction in it. The relationship between Tiger Woods and his dad are a perfect example.
Axis of the Universe
It is not surprising that the role of the father is important. The family is a paradigm of love which God created. God is the original parent. We are created in his image. God's desire was that we could understand his heart and will just as Tiger understood the heart and will of his earthly father. God's desire is that, as we grow, develop our mind and body to reflect his nature, and share in the creation of a loving and just world, He can share the same type of embrace with us that Earl Woods shared with his son. The tragedy is that we became fatherless children when we abandoned God. We are the prodigal sons and daughters.
Winning a golf title is nice. But how much more valuable is it to be victorious in achieving an everlasting relationship with our eternal source of love? We can rejoice that Tiger Woods and the Woods family have established such a fine model for others to follow. But let's take the lesson and go further. Let us strive to discover the heart of God, the desire of God, the will of God, in the same way that Tiger related to the will of his father. Let us make God's will and desire our own, just as Tiger made the dream of his father his own. Let us focus our efforts to achieve a loving character, loving families, and a loving world to the same degree that Tiger focused his efforts to become an outstanding athlete.
It is more difficult to become a true child of God than it is to win the Masters. We need to master ourselves. But the prize is also greater - infinite and eternal love, profound and everlasting joy, and the healing of our wounded world.
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