Posts Tagged ‘loss’

Olympics 2010: Brian Burke-A Father’s Story

February 18, 2010

The Olympic Games are always great fodder for moving stories.  This one is especially touching about the recent death of the son of the US Hockey Teams coach, Brian Burke.  Here’s an excerpt of the story from Olympics Fanhouse website:

It was comforting to watch Burke on the dais alongside head coach Ron Wilson and four Team USA players as they held their first press conference of the Games. For close to an hour Sunday in a room off the glorious waterfront, Burke talked shop with fellow hockey lovers, and it made him smile, especially when he got to tweak the Canadians, and maybe for a nano-second it made him forget.

Five days ago, Burke buried his 21-year-old son Brendan, who was killed in an automobile accident on a snowy Indiana road Feb. 5. If Burke had any qualms about fulfilling his Olympic duties, they were shushed when he looked around at his son’s funeral and saw thousands of mourners, many of them from the tight-knit hockey brotherhood, guys he had played with in college and scouts and broadcasters and general managers from nearly every NHL team — they had come from all corners of the world to say goodbye to an extraordinary young man.

“My family needs me to be strong and my team needs to be strong. I think part of leadership is dealing with personal adversity or personal difficulty,” Burke said. “So no, there was never a thought of not coming (here) or doing anything different. I couldn’t bring myself to march in the Opening Ceremony even though I’d planned to because my heart wasn’t in it. I would have been an impostor. But my son would have wanted me to be here.”

Read the full story at Olympics Fanhouse by clicking here

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Using tragedy to discuss truth!

June 26, 2009

Today, the world is mourning the loss of two entertainment icons; Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett. Big news! Nearly every channel, radio station, news feed and internet site has carried some aspect of these stories.This was a status update from a friends Facebook this morning, “Dang, can’t get Thriller out of my head this morning. It’s on every channel.” We’ll see television specials on it for the next week at least. Last night alone, two of the major networks ran an hour piece on each of the stars.

It’ll soon be like reliving my teens and early 20’s again —Farah Fawcett posters will probably be reprinted and hanging all over town and we’ll be hearing Michael Jackson’s music all over the radio.

We can’t avoid the attention the deaths of these icons of entertainment bring.  Regardless of how you feel about these individuals, there is no debating their impact on our culture during their lifetime. And, their sudden deaths will be a topic for a long time to come.

How are you handling the discussion of the death of Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett in your families?  The reality of life (and death) produces opportunities to discuss pertinent and biblical truths with our children.  Death is a subject we’d prefer to “leave on the shelf”.  Despite the anti-aging craze our culture is embracing, we will age and, eventually, die.  Death’s reality is unavoidable.  When it happens to those seemingly “bigger than life”, it takes on a certain aura that “if it can happen to them, it can happen to me.”  For those who have lost loved ones, that truth is all to real.

As a dad, I’ve used times like these to approach the “unapproachable” with our children.  I consider it a great opportunity to ask questions about the lives of those in the news.  The lives of Farah and Michael were marked by both the spectacular and the scandalous.  One of the most interesting questions being asked out of their deaths is, “how will they be remembered–for their artistic and professional accomplishments or their personal demons?”  Regardless of how you’d answer that (and there is no right or wrong response), it is an interesting discussion topic.

So, dad, I encourage you to use the upcoming media blitz covering these tragic deaths of well known people to spur conversation with your family.  Here are just a few thoughts to help you begin to stimulate that discussion:

  • If your kids are at an appropriate age, discuss the fact that even stars die and that one day so will we.  How will we be remembered?  What legacy do we want to leave?  Do we have the assurance that when our days on this earth are over, we can know where we are heading?
  • Use Farah Fawcett’s reluctance to marry to open up a discussion about why co-habitation is not part of God’s plan for a man and a woman…Marriage and commitment are.
  • Discuss some of the changes in Michael Jackson’s appearance over the years to discuss how God looks at our hearts, not at our external beauty.  What would drive him to be so consumed with his appearance?
  • Talk about how they each used their God-given skills to impact the world.  Yet, they each seemed unhappy in many ways, including the use of drugs, unwilling to commit to relationships, seclusion, surrogate children, hiding in public and living with accusations of child abuse.
  • Financial discussions about how you can make $20 million / year and be $400 million in debt?
  • Discuss the pain of loss and how that loss is not God’s plan.  Death is separation but, thanks be to God and Jesus Christ that it isn’t  the end for those who are in Christ.

Certainly Michael and Farrah have left an indelible mark on this world.  We will listen to his music for the rest of our lives (maybe more than we want over the next few days 😉 and admire and emulate his dancing.  We will admire Farrah’s beauty and recall her roles on TV and in movies, too.  Yet, in the end, the real issue isn’t what they will be remembered for on this earth (what they sang, how they looked or how much money they had or didn’t have).  No, what will matter for them as it will be for us is “how does God see us”.  Remember to share that with your kids!