What’s Your Takeaway?

agoodmanThe goal of this blog post is to begin a conversation during the first night of study hall tonight among students in all four of my classes about individuals’ reaction to our community text, Mark Shriver’s  A Good Man. Please reflect on this text and write about one useful takeaway that you had after reading this text. Then supply one sentence or phrase from the text that supports your takeaway (your idea, insight, or claim), and then compose a few sentences explaining how your quotation explains and supports your takeaway. Your total comment should range from 5-7 sentences in Standard English. Please follow MLA guidelines for citing your page number so that we can look up your passage easily. Here’s a great model for help: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/02/  Also recall to italicize titles.

While English teachers usually do not assign many memoirs, this book is interesting in that Sargent Shriver’s life and the way he connected with people b6a00d8341cca7b53ef0148c7dbdc30970crings up so many more topics besides his famous public life of service. There are many topics beyond politics and history, such as parenting, caring for aging parents, career counseling, a great awareness for families who have children with special needs, responding to the call to service, faith, and the reward of serving others. So many readers just appreciate Mark Shriver’s perspective on his father is another way to appreciate this truly great individual. That’s the interesting intimac that a memoir can provide. So feel free to explore any of these or other topics that arose when you read the book.

I have enjoyed going back to our community text, Mark Shriver’s  A Good Man, for the above topics, and have had a fun time building to my knowledge of the Kennedy dynasty. In fact, I recently visited the Kennedy Library and Museum with our family (two of our boys studied JFK during the school year), and purposely looked through the exhibits with a “Sargent Striver” agenda and found him in the key moments that the memoir delineates, particularly reaching out to Martin Luther King during the 1960 election, the launching of the Peace Corps, and executing the details of JFK’s funeral. It has also been interesting to see how Striver played a key role in the Johnson administration for the War on Poverty. What an amazing political journey. I now want to bring the biography Sarge to class in case some folks want to pursue his impact on history more. Here’s a link to an interesting video from Meet the Press that was produced after his death.  http://www.nbcnews.com/video/meet-the-press/41220320#41220320  What political or historical topics in the memoir did you find interesting?

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About bsullivan35

I am an English teacher working with great students at an independent school in Ct.
This entry was posted in 21st Century Learning, Reflective Assessment, Service Learning, Summer Reading. Bookmark the permalink.

73 Responses to What’s Your Takeaway?

  1. bsullivan35 says:

    Compose your 5-7 sentence takeaway in this comment thread.

    • beccacollins says:

      One important item from “A Good Man,” that I can take away is how to appreciate everything you have. Even if it is the smallest most insignificant thing, you must learn to celebrate and cherish it. In the preface of the book, the author, Mark Shriver, tells a story of a time that he was with his father driving over the bridge on a beautiful day. At the time he didn’t really think anything of it. But, later in the story he refers to how precious those incredible moments were with his father. This is just one of the many takeaways there is in this story.

    • Erin Hayes says:

      After reading the book “A Good Man” by Mark Shiver I thought a key point that the author was trying to get across to the reader was being faithful, loving, and hopeful no matter what life throws at you. In the book Mark didn’t know what to think about his dad slowly diminishing from having Alzheimer’s. When he told his dad, “you are losing your mind. You know that” and asked him, “How does that make you feel? How are you doing with that” his father told him, “I’m doing my best I can with what God has given me”. What I took out of that section was that even if times are tough you can view the situation however you want to view it. Mark Shiver, the author, didn’t really know how to respond to the fact that he was going to lose his father to Alzheimer’s, but his father knew exactly how to respond to the situation, by staying positive. His father was so faithful that he could overcome all the negativity life threw at him with positivity and I found that to be a key part of the memoir about Mark Shriver’s Father.

    • Isabelle says:

      “Do something about it” is a common theme supported through many of Sargent Shriver’s speeches. This theme is supported when Mark Shriver quotes his father saying, “You ought to believe in something in life, believe that thing so fervently that you will stand up with it till the end of your days” (126). Sargent Shriver is saying that one should have enough passion about a certain issue or topic that one wants to do everything one can stand up for what they believe in. This quotation supports the reoccurring theme “Do something about it” because Sargent Shriver does not want people to just sit around and watch; he wants people to act for what is right. This quote breaks the theme “Do something about it” into two parts. The first part is about finding out what one believes in and the second part is about believing in that one thing so much that one will do anything they can to help what they are passionate about.

      • Ashley Sarris says:

        Isabelle and Tanner had the same quote but found two different themes from it. Isabelle focused on the theme of “Do something about it” instead of wasting the time that you are given while Tanner focused on the theme of believing in something to find meaning in life. “You ought to believe in something in life, believe that thing so fervently that you will stand up with it till the end of your days” (126). This was eye-opening to our group because we did not think about this quote the same way but can see the point of view that Isabelle took, if you believe in a cause you should stand for it and do something. Contrasting to the view point that we originally saw that you should believe in a higher power or people around you for internal power.

    • Max Wiener says:

      A theme that is very boldly expressed in “A Good Man” is the importance of family and family values. Throughout the chapters in this book, the redundant reminder that family is the most important thing that you have is drilled into our minds. Mark Shriver bound his family together through God, and lived his life teaching his descendants how to be a good man like he once was. At a very young age, the Shriver children were taught the basic values of respect, courage, and leadership. He also instilled his family values to his kids. One occurrence of the importance of family values was when the Shrivers and the Kennedys were battling it out in their rowdy sports competitions. During one of the games, one of the Kennedy boys got hurt, and the parent said “You can’t cry, you’re a Kennedy!” Sargent Shriver did the opposite. When Mark Shriver, the author of the book, fell, he said “You’re a Shriver, it’s ok to cry.” This shows how compassionate of a father that Sargent Shriver was; a man who could, in the midst of intense competition, allow his kids to show their deepest emotions. Out of the many things that Mark Shriver showed us through “A Good Man,” a key and rather important point was the importance of family.

      • Jae Woo Lee says:

        One thing that our group sees as the most valuable in your comment is how you emphasize the Mark Shriver’s impression of family values. Also, one line that really pinches a string in one’s heart is that in which it says, “You’re a Shriver, it’s ok to cry.” in controversy to the Kennedy’s comment. This sheds light onto how one of the family values is true acceptance of each other’s feelings.

    • Jae Woo Lee says:

      “FATHERHOOD,
      The pressures we all live under are getting so furious that it’s more of a challenge to be a responsible breadwinner and a responsible father at the same time… It is a battle…” (P. 99)

      I was interested towards the pages that had the main theme and the explanation of that theme from Sargent Shriver. I got my takeaway from one of these pages: “Fatherhood”. I felt about how fathers sacrifice for their children. Fathers are stressed out because they are responsible for both children and their lives; doubling the amount of pain that one person gets. Also, fathers are the ones that still accept their children if the children are facing a hard time. For example, in the book, when the main character was arrested for selling drugs, the dad did not moralized or criticized; he just told him that he is responsible for the main character since he is a dad. In conclusion, I felt that fathers are the ones that loves us and they can sacrifice their lives for us.

      • Collin Parrow says:

        Fatherhood is an important theme in this book not only because of the sacrifices they make for their children, and how hard they work for them, but also because of how much mark shriver looked up to his father, and how he compared everything he did as a father to what his father would have done for him. when he didn’t know what to do, he asked himself what his father would have done.

    • Riley Miles says:

      In “A Good Man” by Mark Shriver, a common theme is to appreciate the little things in life. Throughout the whole book, Mark was searching for his father’s source of happiness. The problem is happiness is not a destination but actually a mood. When Mark finds old letters from his fathers friends and family, he discovers that the reason for his father’s successes is due to the amount of happiness and support he got. Something as small as a letter could change the man’s mood. Rather then receiving one answer, Mark found out multiple different happiness’s throughout his fathers career.

      • Kate Rookey says:

        Hi Riley, our group agreed with your response about enjoying the little things in life and finding happiness within those things. It’s important to remember that material things don’t give you the same satisfaction that you can get from the smallest genuine actions.

        -Kate, Bailey, Lexi, and Jack

    • Juhi Rayonia says:

      In the book “A Good Man” by Mark Shriver, I was able to learn more about the extraordinary life of Sargent Shriver. The most important theme that stuck out to me in this novel was Sargent Shriver’s ability to seek happiness and joy in the little things in life. In this society, many people are focused on the future and the bigger picture. Sargent Shriver’s beliefs are different in the sense that he is able to live in the moment and focus on the present. Shriver is passionate about what he believes in, and is not afraid of the future. In the introduction, Sargent Shriver expresses his love for the beauty around him, “I can’t wait to meet God. I can’t wait to meet the Creator who made such a beautiful sunrise!” It is refreshing to see someone have so much passion about something they believe in.

      • Isabelle Ricke says:

        It’s admirable how Sargent Shriver was able to focus on the little moments in life over the big picture. It’s something that people overlook often. The quote you chose could be used to support many themes throughout the novel, but the theme that you have it supporting is very unique. He isn’t afraid of the future because of his faith in God; therefore, the little things are more enjoyable because is not constantly focused on what might come to pass.

    • Allison Hayden says:

      A big takeaway I got from “A Good Man” is to appreciate the little things in life. When Kennedy died, Sargent Shriver planned the whole funeral for the family. He did not have to do this, but he put his mourning aside for the good of the family. After going through all the arrangements, he got little to no recognition. This taught me to recognize every persons contribution to any event and to appreciate what others have gone through to make an experience i have possible.

    • Jake Selbst says:

      Sargent Shriver was a man with incredible integrity and conviction. His conviction and dedication to his ideas helped change the world in so many ways. For one, the Peace Corps was created by him. Nobody, even the president thought it would work but he stuck to what he believed in and created something special out of thin air. This was seen on his wife’s side as well as she believed that people of all mental and physical capacities should be able to have the same virtues in life which is why she created the Special Olympics. This was met with much scrutiny because many people around that time discriminated against people with special needs. The Shriver family teaches us incredible lessons about sticking to what you believe is right even if it may seem that everyone is against you. If what you believe is truly correct then everything will work out.

  2. Collin Parrow says:

    One important takeaway is to be positive. The quotation I chose is from chapter 26, “‘Dad,’ I said, ‘you are losing your mind. You know that. How does that make you feel? How are you doing with that?’ ‘I’m doing the best I can with what God has given me,’ he said.” (Shriver 190). I picked this quotation because even though at times life can throw you curve balls, it’s important to stay positive. Not everyone would be able to handle a situation like this with positivity like Sargent Shriver did. When Sargent Shriver was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he knew it was out of his control, and he left himself in God’s hands. I really admire the fact that he could let go and be as happy as he could while this disease slowly took his life. It really does take a great man to step back and decide how he wants to spend the rest of his life. He could have been angry and sad that a disease like that had befallen him, but he decided that he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life thinking negatively. It’s a commendable trait that someone like him is able to step outside of his emotions like he did, because it certainly paid off in the end, he enjoyed his life to the fullest extent he could have.

  3. 17ahc says:

    “A Good Man” written by Mark Shiver is about a son rediscovering who his father was as a person as well as learning the secrets to his fathers legacy. The story questions the reader to understand what being called “a good man” really means. Throughout the story Shiver begins to realize that who he is as a person, father, a social justice advocat has been influenced by his father. In chapter one Shiver states “When I was a young boy, that quality in him saved me from hopelessness… it shaped my vision for how to live…”( 25). This quote shows the reader that the relationship between Mark Shiver and his father had a great impact on the type of person Shiver became.

  4. bsullivan35 says:

    Great job getting the comments and the dialogue started here, Collin. You have a good lead (topic sentence) for your excellent takeaway, and you support it with one of the many great sayings that we read about Sargent Shriver in this memoir. I agree, too, with your admiration of how Shriver came to terms with having Alzheimers.

  5. Zoey Zheng says:

    Reading through the book, I was able to witness the profound and incredible life of Sargent Shriver. What the book really teaches me is the power of belief. It is rare and touching to see that a man can hold his belief so firmly. Because of this belief, he gained the appreciation for the tiny joy and beauty in daily life. Because of his belief, he is thankful of what he has and does not fear of death. This characteristic of him is even shown in the introduction. ‘”Look at that!” he cried, awestruck. “I can’t wait to meet God. I can’t wait to meet the Creator who made such a beautiful sunrise!” ‘The God as what he believes gave him the courage and clam attitude to face the death. Thus, his mental burden caused by the fear of death has never worried him. He is able to live the moment, which is incredibly valuable in our lives. It is impressive to know that the belief can bring so much to a person and changes our lives dramatically.

    • xinziy1617 says:

      Your takeaway shows the power of belief and how it can change a person to someone who values all the second, moment in his life. When a person is no longer afraid of death but regarding it as a way to embrace the god, he can free himself from the body and live immortally in the spiritual world. He feels blessed to join God after death.

  6. Kate Rookey says:

    In today’s day and age, most people seem to be focused on establishing a successful career and often fail to develop lasting relationships with those around them. Sargent Shriver defied this norm and was able to do both. He describes this accomplishment to his son Mark by saying, “I suggest this: When you get to be thirty, forty, fifty, or even seventy years old, you’ll get more happiness and contentment out of counting your friends than counting your dollars.” This quote stood out to me because it made me remember that there is more to life than making money, because ultimately, that is not what will make you happy. Once retirement comes around, if you have no one to share it with, I think you have had your priorities wrong. Sargent Shriver is telling us that it is better to realize this before you begin your adult life rather than when it is too late.

    • Kate makes great points on how Mark’s life was imapcted by his fathers wise words. The quote used to back up her claim supplies the reader with great textual evidence. Kate opens the reader up to a bigger message found in the story.

  7. Nadezda says:

    ” It was their last kiss.” (p. 199)
    Mark Shriver’s father, Sergeant, never thought they would have their last kiss. We do not know when out last day, second moment comes. We have to live in the moment and appreciate every breath we take, every word we say and glance we make. Life is very fleeting.
    “A Good Man” teaches us to celebrate little things and never take them for granted. Every moment and every second is a gift, not a given right.
    You never know when you have your last kiss, so enjoy it now!

  8. Caleb Wurster says:

    A quote that stood out to me personally was in chapter 21 when Shriver had begun to receive phone calls about the election and decided that he would run in the 2002 election. Beside his competitive nature that was driving him to run, he states that “I also think denial played a big role – I was denying that Dad was really sick.” I admire his ability to admit this because there have been many times in my life where I have even denied my denial. Shriver did this because it falsely assured him that everything was really going the way it should be. It was just another piece of the puzzle that had given him a false sense of security, and I too have been guilty of that at times.

  9. David E says:

    The main takeaway I got from Mark Shriver’s “A Good Man” is that a father can commit so much to a cause and still be able to understand what matters in his life. It is mentioned how dedicated their father is “Because he judged his success as a father by our happiness and not by any ego boost he’d attain from our achievements, or his own.”(Shriver, 103). This clearly shows that his career did not affect his family life. Mark’s father did not allow his work to affect what mattered to him, his family. That Is what truly mattered to Mark’s Father and It shouldn’t be ignored. Family is what mattered most of all to this man.

  10. Max Wiener says:

    A theme that is very boldly expressed in “A Good Man” is the importance of family and family values. Throughout the chapters in this book, the redundant reminder that family is the most important thing that you have is drilled into our minds. Mark Shriver bound his family together through God, and lived his life teaching his descendants how to be a good man like he once was. At a very young age, the Shriver children were taught the basic values of respect, courage, and leadership. He also instilled his family values to his kids. One occurrence of the importance of family values was when the Shrivers and the Kennedys were battling it out in their rowdy sports competitions. During one of the games, one of the Kennedy boys got hurt, and the parent said “You can’t cry, you’re a Kennedy!” Sargent Shriver did the opposite. When Mark Shriver, the author of the book, fell, he said “You’re a Shriver, it’s ok to cry.” This shows how compassionate of a father that Sargent Shriver was; a man who could, in the midst of intense competition, allow his kids to show their deepest emotions. Out of the many things that Mark Shriver showed us through “A Good Man,” a key and rather important point was the importance of family.

  11. Jackson Bischoping says:

    My biggest take away from “A Good Man” was that the people who seem like they have all the biggest things in life like fame, glory, or love always do all the little things. Mark Shriver’s dad who is highly upheld in the political community did all of the little things on a regular basis. Things like holding the door open, saying thank you, and always being respectful. By doing all of these little things it almost forced him to have a great life. Along with having a great life because he did all of the little things right he set a great example for his son, Mark. Mark writes “I saw it every day I was with him, though I couldn’t articulate it this consciously and — at least for me — usefully until after he died.” This quote shows how much Mark learned from his dad and how big of a positive influence he had on his life. In conclusion, by doing all the little things right it made him “a good man”.

  12. robj1313 says:

    In “A Good Man” by Mark Shriver, a takeaway is to always be trying to improve. “It is well to be prepared for life as it is, but it is better to be prepared to make life better than it is” -Sargent Shriver. Everyone tries to be prepared for what life throws at them, but what they should be focusing on is improving their current situation to make a better future. The quote I chose speaks to how you should be preparing to improve. Not to be settled with an ordinary life, to enhance your life and make it better. Live life to the fullest, and make it the best you can.

  13. Bryce Butler says:

    While reviewing “A Good Man” to reply to this blog post, there was nothing more that stood out than the contents of Chapter 1. In this Chapter, Sergeant Shriver has the crucial task of planning JFK’s funeral. During this time, it was inevitable why this was our community text with the overall theme of “Service”. Sergeant Shriver had the “strength and the discipline to orchestrate the funeral events,” something that not every man could be capable of (Shriver 21). At a time that most individuals would be heart broken and vulnerable, Sergeant stayed strong for the well-being of his family and all of the surrounding people that were affected by the president’s assignation. This was the ultimate example of putting one’s own well-being aside for a greater cause. Not only was he occupied with the planning of the funeral, but he also played a great role in the smooth transition for the new President Johnson, lead the Peace Corps and being a great husband for his pregnant spouse, doing all of this with very little rest. The biggest take away from this book that I observed is that Sergeant Shriver would go to the ends of the earth to service all of the people around him before doing anything for himself and that is a very important trait for “A Good Man.”

  14. I decided to focus on the tireless dedication that Sargent Shriver had when it came to working for others around him. This part was especially prominent in the wake of his brother-in-law’s death; when Sargent was chosen by Jackie Kennedy to head the planning of her husband’s funeral.
    “For the next few days he slept just an hour a night; he stopped working only to make his frequent calls to Mom…” (Shriver 20). This part of the story really stuck with me because no matter what problems Sargent was facing, when his family was in need of assistance, he was always willing to put aside all secondary work and focus head-on on what his family required. By working tirelessly, he showed not only his family but the world that his main priority was the people close to him. I firmly believe that this is one of the most important traits that someone can possess because it shows others that they have a true dedication to the people close to them. Going off of what Kate said earlier, at the end of the day, friends and family are the most important possessions that someone can have because when all they have gained in their life is a good reputation, the life of retirement quickly becomes one of monotony and loneliness.

  15. Maddie Kauffman says:

    One takeaway I got from “A Good Man” by Mark Shivers was no matter what your title or status is, your legacy is how you treat people. This spoke out to me because of all the things his father did for others. Not only was he on president Kennedy’s staff but he also started special Olympics with his wife, was a Sargent in the navy and so on. A quote in the book that stood out to me was when Mark received a letter from his friend Phil Lee regarding Marks father and his actions. “I ran over to tell you that you needed to get off the phone but your dad said no…Your father found me a couple of minutes later and yelled at me like I had never been yelled at before… Someone told me that you were on the phone with your brother Bobby, and nothing was more important to Sargent Shriver than family.” (Shriver, 122). This quote represents Sargent being a good man, putting his family over political press. Marks father did not care about his status as much as he cared about his family and helping those around him.

  16. A Good Man, written by Mark Shriver, tells the story of Sargent Shriver’s life and all of its unexpected turns. The overarching theme of Shriver’s book is service. Rather it is lending a helping hand to a sick family member or working to create programs such as special Olympics or the peace core; in one form or another there is service. Shriver heavily focuses on service towards his family, and shows this through memorable quotes his father said. If there was to be only one takeaway from this book, it would be the service family members deserve from one another when dealing with hardships.

  17. ninochen says:

    After Mark K. Shriver’s father heart attack is over, Mark comes to his room and see his father: “he was curled up in a ball, like a child.” (218) . When people usually treat someone as a child, they are vigilant that anything might hurt them, and protect them to avoid danger. Because children are “fragile”, people need to pay many attentions to them. As the author grows into a mature adult and his father is getting old and sick, Mark Shriver would take care his father just like his child. It’s clear to say that the author is filial (devoted) to his father and that is based on emotion and respect from his heart. It’s doesn’t need any report back on what he has been done, his love for his father is really natural and soft. It’s a life cycle, parents look after their child, and when parents get really old, child becomes adult and replace the position to take care of them.

  18. Jenna Polidoro says:

    One useful takeaway I had from reading “A Good Man” is that you should always prioritize others before yourself. An important theme of this novel was selflessness and I thought it was interesting to read about this topic while living in a society where people are brought up thinking and worrying about their own needs first. This idea of prioritizing others was clearly addressed in Sargent Shriver’s 1994 Class Day address at Yale. As said by Shriver, “And I have one small word of advice…Break your mirrors! In our society, which is so self-absorbed, begin to look less at yourself and more at each other”. This is clearly a call to action by Shriver who is asking all those gathered for his speech to look at others before they look at themselves. He even recognizes that this is especially hard in a society that is excessively self-absorbed and worries about their own image. I think this is an overall important lesson for the people living in today’s society and more people should heed this advice because greater change would happen in the world.

    • Jackson Bischoping says:

      Jenna Polidoro had a great comment about putting other people before yourself. Our group liked this interpretation because none of us viewed that on our own. The way she talks about selflessness makes sense because Sargent Shriver lived his life putting others before himself. This allowed him to help others and achieve great things through working together.

  19. Nick Vardakas says:

    After reading “A Good Man” by Mark Shriver, I felt that a major takeaway from the book was that if you want to do something for the world, you have to work hard for it and remain truthful to what you have learned and the close resources you have. A quote that I feel sums this takeaway up is “I always loved the fact that Dad – a ‘great man’ in so many people’s eyes – had a best friend like Rags” (93). This quote shows that even though Sargent Shriver was looked up to by so many people for the things he had done, he still remained true to what he knew in that his best friend was and will forever be Rags. Staying true to your roots and what you have known for your whole life is something very special and important in our lives. Many celebrities we see nowadays have let the “fame” get to them and start to lose touch with the real side of their lives that they grew up with. I admire the fact that even though Sargent Shriver was a “good man” to so many people, he stayed true to his roots.

  20. “A Good Man,” by Mark Shriver tells of distinct relationship between Mark K. Shriver and his father, Sargent Shriver. Sargent Shriver was esteemed and admired by all as a leader and activist whose accomplishments included: founding the Peace Corps, Job Corps, and acting as the author for Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” Mark recounts the intimate moments of his youth, growing side by side to the Kennedy’s, comparing the two families and the affect his father had on the world around him. By detailing the specific and unique attributes of his father and analyzing why exactly he made the decisions and choices that led to his display of outstanding morals and love for service, the world has the ability to zero in on who exactly Sargent Shriver was. A desperately curious son asked himself how exactly his father amounted and became the person he was and if there was some sort of formula or key. What is taken away from the text is the idea that foundationally, having a base as a truly good human rather than one who strives for prestige or fame is one that encourages reverence and esteem. “His faith demanded his hopefulness, and his hope underpinned his work. He worked to give others the opportunity to hope – that was his abiding ambition.” (A Good Man) As a political figure, it was obvious that Sargent Shriver genuinely cared and strived to better the people of the world for a greater good.

    • Hi Isabel,
      We really enjoyed how well written your response was. It was positive, personal and thoughtful. It pushed us to consider a new view point on the book and think more about what being a “good man” truly is.
      -Liz, Shane, Daria, Isabella

  21. Ashley Sarris says:

    A significant and reoccurring theme that is interesting in A Good Man by Mark Shriver is faith. Sargent Shriver’s unwavering religion is the basis for who he is, how he interacts with others, and, most importantly, what he does. There are plenty of references to Sarge’s relationship with God, but one that stood out is when Mark notes, “Going to Mass daily, having a daily relationship with God– that’s what gave Dad “power,” gave him his hope” (43). Sarge found this ‘power’ and ‘hope’ from his relationship that he established and maintained throughout his entire life. The most important takeaway that anyone could take from such a dominant faith is the need to believe. Not necessarily in a larger power or God but to have beliefs in the people that surround you and to have trust. Moreover, these ideas need to strengthen through dedication and love. Through these beliefs in others or a greater power, people can find power within themselves.

    • Hi Ashley, our group read your blog post and were intrigued by the point and relation of belief to religion and how Sargent Shriver used that to achieve success. In addition to this, it was interesting how you pointed it out how his faith in God personally powered his will to inspire others. Not only did you note that Sargent Shriver valued trust in others, but you expressed how he felt about the “greater power” and the ability it had to motivate people.

  22. Maggy says:

    My favorite sentence from “A Good Man” was “One of the great pleasures of my childhood was driving up I-95 with Dad to Baltimore to watch Orioles baseball games.” (Shriver, 133). The reason why this sentence in particular stood out to me was because of my own memories of going to ski races and events with my dad when I was younger. What I took away from this chapter was how invested Sargent Shriver was in everything he did. In addition to my personal connection to the topic, I like Sargent Shriver’s persective on personal relations, as well as the importance they have to him.

    • Juhi Rayonia says:

      Our group found it interesting how Maggy was able to take an experience that occurred in “A Good Man” and connect it to an event that happened in her own life. Additionally, we agreed with the idea that Maggy introduced of how Shriver was invested in his everyday life.

  23. Shane Pornprinya says:

    Another important lesson is to look beyond the flaws. In chapter 25, Sargent Shriver said, “Nowadays, everyone wants to change what God has given them. Look at those wrinkles on your mother’s face. Have you ever seen a more beautiful woman in your life?” (Shriver 182) Life is imperfect; but we do not have to be perfect to have a great life and, in Sargent Shriver’s case, a loving life. As a species, whenever we get something, we yearn for more. And it is hard not to. It satisfies us and makes us happy. However, Sargent Shriver took a different approach; he appreciates what he has. Even though he was diagnosed with a disease that is deteriorating his mind and had a wife who has wrinkles, he still saw past that and admired the gift he got. That gift from God was enough to fulfill his loving life.

    • Nick Vardakas says:

      We love the point you have brought up because it is unique and something that has not been touched on a lot yet. It is a very relevant issue at this time in our lives and everyone can associate with this. Many people of our age often judge themselves and even judge others based off of many physical appearances at a time when we are all growing and learning. We do not take the time to appreciate the true qualities of everyone and more often than not, we focus on the negatives rather than the positives.

  24. Rishi Patel says:

    In A Good Man I found that the most insightful lesson to be learned from Sargent Shriver is how to be ‘a good man’. I chose two quotations from the introductory part of the book when Mark writes about Sargent Shriver’s funeral. The first quotation is from Brad Blank, who is a childhood friend of Sargent Shriver. He said, “Your father knew more about Judaism than I do… It means your father was a good man.” The second quotation is from Joe Biden who was running for President at the time. Sargent Shriver was the one to help Mr. Biden win the Presidential nomination in a matter of a few hours. He said, “I was an unknown kid who wasn’t expected to win. There wasn’t much, if anything, in it for him. But that was the least of what he did for our country—he was a good, good man.” I feel that these two quotations illustrate how Sargent Shriver became a good man in everyone’s hearts and minds. Sargent Shriver had taken the time to get to know all types of people from all walks of life, allowing him to become an even better person in everyone’s eyes. Even though Sarge was a very famous and reputable person, his faith, love, and understanding was shared to the most common man such as Brad Blank to the most elite, prestigious man like Joe Biden. Sargent Shriver’s will to be a ‘good’ man demonstrates that understanding people from all different perspectives of life can have an impact on your own.

  25. Justin Levsky says:

    “A Good Man” by Mark K. Shriver has many themes and takeaways you can get. After reading it I felt like perseverance and faith was a main theme. On page 190, Sargent Shriver says “I’m doing the best I can with what God has given me,”. He wants him to keep working towards his goal and to not get discouraged by the little things. He always wanted God to be in control since he knew he couldn’t. Even when fighting Alzheimer’s disease, he believed that everything was a gift from God. God was a key part in the family’s life and to do the best one could.

  26. Justin Levsky says:

    “A Good Man” by Mark K. Shriver has many themes and takeaways you can get. After reading it I felt like perseverance and faith was a main theme. On page 190, Sargent Shriver says “I’m doing the best I can with what God has given me,”. He wants him to keep working towards his goal and to not get discouraged by the little things. He always wanted God to be in control since he knew he couldn’t. Even when fighting Alzheimer’s disease, he believed that everything was a gift from God. God was a key part in the family’s life and to always reach the goals.

  27. xinziy1617 says:

    One simple thing everyone can do in his time is enjoying the moment. Mark’s father was a religious person who attended church regularly to seek the beauty of life from the god, while Mark thought his father was slightly wrong at this point. “His boundless energy was focused on creating a heaven right here on earth, on creating moments of beauty-like that sunrise-that all of us can share.” (Shriver 232) It is clear that the beauty of sunrise is really seen by Mark’s father, but he just can’t appreciate that moment of miracle in their life. Instead, he went to heaven to experience the goodness.
    “Take time to smell the roses”. This is what Mark truly wants to deliver to both his father and readers. People shouldn’t overlook the beauty they have daily and need to savor the little things from now.

  28. LJ says:

    I agree with Ashley in that one of the major themes that I found playing a role in this book and Sargent Shriver’s story was faith. Ashley picked out the same quote that I found to be largely symbolizing this in: “Going to Mass daily, having a daily relationship with God– that’s what gave Dad “power,” gave him his hope” (43). You can see that this was a large part of what fueled Sargent Shriver to work so hard and give so much. He saw the leading and change within his faith community and seeing the power it had over his father had to influence Shriver. The conversations he saw his father have with God could provide a strong driving force and allow him to have a force that he could credit part of his drive to as he tells the story. the name of God and the topic of faith also comes up in his modern to the connections that he makes to how society functions now and how judgmental and difficult it is here. In the quote that Shane also used bring out the power of faith to Shriver and how he sees that he is allowed to work with God has made and that he must be respectful and thankful for what God has done to him: “Nowadays, everyone wants to change what God has given them”(Shriver 182). Shriver was obviously a very spiritual man and I enjoyed looking into his take on faith and it’s impact on his life.

  29. bradenk1617 says:

    “A Good Man” by Mark Shriver touches greatly on how relationships are in one’s life. It points at showing gratitude even towards the little things that are within the relationship. Mark Shriver, the author, shares a growing relationship with his father. As his father, “Sargent” Shriver, ages, he unfortunately becomes diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This makes Mark wish that he cherished moments earlier in life with him but to still be thankful for everything they had together. “Nowadays, everyone wants to change what God has given them.” (Shriver 182) Therefore, to enjoy the good that life offers to you, like Mark’s relationship with his father. Make the best out of what you have, and enjoy it all.

  30. Tanner says:

    The strongest theme I took away from “A Good Man”, was you have to have a belief and live by that belief because otherwise you aren’t really living. The quote I chose to back this theme was from Sargent Shrivers graduation speech at Yale. “You ought to believe in something in life, believe that thing so fervently that you will stand up with it till the end of your days” (Shriver 126). This was very powerful as he is addressing the graduating class before they step out into the real world, and this was the advice he chose to give them. This theme reminded me that It’s not so much about what you believe in, but why. Everyone will believe in something different at the end of the day but whatever it is, you must stand by it and stay true to yourself.

  31. Milan Ghosh says:

    I was particularly impressed by the way that Sargent Shriver consistently showed a passion for greatness in all aspects of his life. Mark Shriver recounts a story from his dad’s 93rd birthday when his dad finished his cake and despite being “Alzheimer stricken and hobbled,” he still brought his plate to the sink and washed it. But the most important part of this story was that Tommy, Shriver’s 11-year-old grandson, had taken notice of “what a good Dad man was, right down to the smallest detail of etiquette.” Additionally, his excellence in being great could be seen by how his death had such a great effect on someone as seemingly simple as their trash collector, Calvin. There was never a person in his life, whether it be Joe Biden or the waitresses at his favorite lunch spot, who didn’t receive the absolute best from Shriver. He placed emphasis on greatness in even the smallest details of life, and that is what makes him a truly good man.

  32. Ryder says:

    Mark Shriver’s “A Good Man” really resonated with me because after having lost my grandfather and favorite companion to Alzheimer’s, I understand the loss experienced far before someone’s passing. Alzheimer’s takes over slowly yet strongly, and we realize bit by bit how little is left of the person we once knew and loved in their last days. A quote that stuck with me from “A Good Man” was this: “It is well to be prepared for life as it is, but it is better to be prepared to make life better than it is.” The reason I appreciated this quote was because it showed Sargent Shriver’s zeal for life and gave us a clue as to where his motivation came from. While I did not necessarily relate to all of Shriver’s faithful or spiritual incentives, I truly appreciated his dedication to bettering the world and people around him.

    • beccacollins says:

      Hi Ryder!
      We really enjoyed how you related your personal experiences to the book to make us see from a different point of view. Rather than a lesson or a moral from the story like others have given, we appreciated how you took away this story in a more intimate way. It is interesting how differently all of us see the book.
      -Riley Casey and Becca

  33. Tyreek Scott-Grayson says:

    In “A Good Man” what caught my eye was all the information he gave in chapter 1. Mark Shriver talks about all the things Sargent Shriver has to do and doesn’t complain not one time about it. First off, he has to plan JFK’s funeral. On top of that he is the founder of the Peace Corps and has to organize that. Not to mention while he is doing all of this his wife is home pregnant with his baby. Somehow he finds a way to get the job done without getting nothing in return. With all of this taking up his time, sleeping just doesn’t exist in his world. It states,”For the next few days he slept just an hour a night” (Shriver 20). To conclude all of this, Sargent Shriver is really doing this out the kindness of his heart because doing everything he does with nothing in return is characteristics of “A Good Man.”

  34. liz sacco says:

    Through Mark K. Shriver’s “A Good Man” I have begun to understand the robust power of faith and the large role it plays in so many people’s lives. I was raised being told that the most important thing in life is to create happiness from your surroundings. Shriver confides his firm belief that his father’s “joy was deeply rooted in his love affair with God” (Shriver, 241). I find it remarkable that although Sargent Shriver was undoubtedly surrounded by stressful, anxiety inducing events his whole life, he was able to find solace in his firm believe in God. This special relationship served as a buoy in the egregious waters of politics. It is clear throughout the text that many of this man’s actions were driven by his faith. The pureness of his motivation is readily apparent through his actions and provides an additional layer of depth and meaning to his life.

  35. Sergey Morozov says:

    “Dad,” I said, “you are losing your mind. You know that. How does that make you feel? How are you doing with that?”
    “I’m doing the best I can with what God has given me,” he said.”

    While it is arguable whether this very quote may set the tone of the whole book, it certainly is remarkable, since it reminds of something very important. Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how adults treat older people, whose consciousness (as they age) fades slowly, but unstoppably. Grown-ups start to regard them the same way they regard their children: with irritation, looking down. The older people, understanding the changes they are undergoing, simply adapt to this, «simplifying» their everyday behaviour in order not to discomfort the new «parents». Despite this cruel truth, of course, their experience of many decades and wisdom, collected through attempts and failures, cannot just disappear at once! A careful reader and a loving child or grandchild should never forget about it.

  36. Max Shlafstein says:

    Throughout Mark Shriver’s A Good Man, an emphasis on hard work and perseverance was clearly shown. Mark Shriver had many issues with his Choice Program where he was determined to show underprivileged youth in Baltimore all of the choices and opportunities they had. Shriver was forced to run his program from a janitor’s closet with no air-conditioning with the help of a James, a football player. After avoiding his duties, James was confronted by Shriver who was then lifted up by the neck in the air by the football player only to be dropped to the ground. After this incident, Mark Shriver said to his dad, “I hope I can make it happen. It’s so hard. I can’t believe it (113).” Shriver continues to say, “He looked at me as if I had spoken a different language. I don’t think I ever heard him say, ‘I hope so.’ Not in his whole life (113).” These lines truly show the perseverance that runs in the Shriver family and the hard working attitude that Sargent Shriver has. Mark Shriver never gave up hope in the Choice Program and after years of effort, he was able to create a successful program that helped thousands of kids every year.

  37. evashaecrouse says:

    Appreciation

    My favorite part of A Good Man is rather broad, but I think it is very important and goes unnoticed. Mark is busy telling the story of the good deeds of his father concerning the War on Poverty, and his founding of the Peace Core. However, we also often see Mark’s appreciation for the love his father shows him personally. The mere fact that this book was produced shows just how much the author truly saw something amazing in his father, and wanted to share that with the world. This clear love and appreciation is also telling of a good man.

    “He called me a few times, like he was calling from Mars. But he said “I love you.” I always heard those words loud and clear from whatever backwater village or bustling capital he said them to me.” (97)

  38. Hattie Bauchiero says:

    An important takeaway from A Good Man by Mark Shriver goes along with the theme of the school this year. The takeaway is to serve others. Both Sarge Shriver ad his wife incorporated service into their lives every day, whether it had to do with the Peace Corps, civil rights, the war on poverty, or the Special Olympics. When Sarge was pushing to eliminate discrimination in the church and the society in Chicago, he was praised for helping end racial inequality, “not in a warped spirit of condescension”, but rather in a way that “strives to bring men together in neighborliness” (68). His service was solely meant to benefit others, nothing more. This is important to take away because often people become consumed in their own lives and own problems that they forget about the other people in the world and how they may need help. Giving to others changes the embedded habit of self-centeredness, and can change the lives of people in need.

  39. Bailey says:

    A Good Man is a book about community and selflessness. Throughout the entire story, Shriver is telling the reader about how his father’s selflessness inspired him. The biggest lesson I took from this book is that it is more important to take notice in those who are less fortunate or just simply in need of help. “His faith demanded his hopefulness, and his hope underpinned his work. He worked to give others the opportunity to hope- that was his aiding ambition.”

  40. jerryt17 says:

    The most inspiriting theme I find in the book is dedication. Throughout the book, Mark Shriver regards his dad Sargent Shriver as a great person many times. Looking back upon all the feats Sargent completed for his nation, government, and family, I immediately aware that Sargent is someone who is inescapably optimistic. All the efforts and energies he invested were purely out of his high demand of himself and his kindness. Whenever people encounters obstacles, Sargent becomes the coordinator of the problem, relying on his resourcefulness and cool mind. Especially after the assassination of JFK happened when the whole country was simmering, Sargent fully dedicated to managing the funeral affairs and coping with the medias. Acting as a wire-puller, Sargent worked industriously to ensure the stability of the government. With the comprehensive knowledge about Sargent that acquired from interviewing the people around Sargent, Mark vividly delineates Sargent Shriver as a great man with seemingly endless energy in supporting others.

  41. caseykap says:

    Not only did I enjoy this community text the most out of all 4 I have read during my Suffield experience but I also thought it was truly inspiring. Obviously after reading the back of any book you are about to start you think you know what you are getting yourself into, but in A Good Man, by Mark Shriver this tribute soars above and beyond in expectations of what Sargent Shriver has accomplished throughout his life. Among things like finding the Peace Corps and contributing to President Johnson’s War on Poverty “he also pushed to eliminate segregation in Chicago’s public housing and strove to en racial discrimination in Chicago’s hospitals, especially the Catholic hospitals” (68). Imagine accomplishing how much he did and also maintain the positive attitude he had all the time. While reading this I felt like Mark didn’t realize who is father was but when people would tell him how amazing his father was who barely even knew him he started to understand how many lives his father impacted. From this book I took away that their really is no such thing as spreading yourself too thin if everything you do is for a good cause. All though you might have a lot of things to do and be very busy at times if what you are doing is benefiting someone else it is all worth it.

  42. tonyxueblog says:

    There are a few spirits I learnt from A Good Man. From the Kennedy’s funeral, the main character held the funeral in the fashion as what Kennedy liked when he was alive. I learnt that respecting all people, including the dead people, is a quite essential spirit. Also, to love and appreciate everything we have, even if it is a small, negligible thing in our life, because they are the things the god gives us. In the book, the author was driving with his father, and he found out that the time to spend with family members in a beautiful nature is not only something he deserves, but also a gift from the god as a Christian.

  43. junyangc1617 says:

    that I can take away is how to appreciate everything you have. Even if it is the smallest most insignificant thing, you must learn to celebrate and cherish it. No matter is a big thing or small thing. When you can appreciate every thing you will get more confidence. That will help you to do some thing you thought you can not do.

  44. Lea says:

    “A Good Man” written by Mark K. Shriver in 2012. A common thread through the novel is his father underplaying goodness, generosity, hard work and faith. I think the author tries to show the readers the power of belief and work ethic. Like his father said “I’m doing the best I can with what God has given me”. I think this sentence really expresses the main theme of the book.
    Personally I enjoyed reading the book. Like I mentioned the book teaches both belief and strength, but at the same time the author also talks about his father flaws. For me this makes the book more real. Some people might “do more good” then others, but even so, everyone has flaws.

  45. Sasha Derby says:

    A Good Man, our community text this year is about service towards the people who surround you. The way Mark Shriver treats his dad with such respect is truly inspirational for me. The respect they have for each other is great because it really gets them through the though times with Sargent Shriver’s disease, Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s is a very though disease to deal with, and the way Mark dealt with his father is really inspiring. On another note, Sargent Shriver treats his son with so much respect as well. For example, when Mark, Sargent’s son decided to not attend the Peace Core at the last minute, Sargent Shriver was very understanding and let Mark make the decision he felt was best. This respect they have for one another is what every relationship should strive for.

  46. Cecile Meier-Scherling says:

    In the book “A Good Man”, Mark Shriver, the author, rediscovers the beliefs and the character of his legendary father. Mark Shriver throughout the book, combines faith, love, and hope. The main beliefs his father lived after. “It took me until after his death to see it clearly: his faith demanded his hopefulness, and his hope unpinned his work. He worked to give others the opportunity to hope – that was his ambition” (A good Man, 73) Sargent Shriver established hope in his work, through his relationship with faith and god. His hope influenced his work. He wanted to serve people with his work, which was driven by hope. He never was inspired by the power he gained with his political positions, he always worked in his positions to serve people and arouse their hope in themselves. I think the reactions of his service inspired him to continue his service and even do more for his community.

  47. Lexi Mnich says:

    One thing that stood out about Sargent Shriver in the book “A Good Man” was his ability to care for everyone around him. It did not matter how young or old they are or their importance in the world, but Sargent Shriver gave everyone the love and appreciation that he or she deserved. An example of this is in the nineteenth chapter when Sargent Shriver’s son Mark and his wife Jeanne had a baby and he seemed to be the happiest and proudest grandparent in the world. Mark Shriver writes, “And then, moments after our son Thomas Kennedy Shriver was born, Dad couldn’t take it anymore. He burst into the room” (149). This shows that Sargent Shriver was a caring human being because it was his thirteenth grandchild to be born and he was just as excited as a first-time grandparent. I find this quality important because in a world with a lot of bad things happening, it is inspirational to learn about the people who can appreciate the small things in life so much.

  48. Lexi Mnich says:

    One thing that stood out about Sargent Shriver was his ability to care for everyone around him. It did not matter how young or old they are or their importance in the world, but Sargent Shriver gave everyone the love and appreciation that he or she deserved. An example of this is in the nineteenth chapter when Sargent Shriver’s son Mark and his wife Jeanne had a baby and he seemed to be the happiest and proudest grandparent in the world. Mark Shriver writes, “And then, moments after our son Thomas Kennedy Shriver was born, Dad couldn’t take it anymore. He burst into the room” (149). This shows that Sargent Shriver was a caring human being because it was his thirteenth grandchild to be born and he was just as excited as a first-time grandparent. I find this quality important because in a world with a lot of bad things happening, it is inspirational to learn about the people who can appreciate the small things in life so much.

  49. Alina Ryan says:

    It was difficult for me to put down “Tribe” written by Sebastian Junger after I picked up the book and began to read. I thought the statistics and the reality behind the book were insightful and at many points shocking. Personally, I wrongly thought that soldiers hated being in war, surrounded by the incessant violence, but in reality the connection and community that evolves through war is something they find difficult to leave. Something else that greatly surprised me was that people in higher-class communities, people who seem to have it all, had greater suicide rates than people in the armed forces. Especially in the time of multiple natural disasters happening in America, it also stood out to me when Junger mentioned how communities come together more than ever to try and over-come the awful incident they endured. “Disasters, he proposed, create a “community of suffers” that allow individuals to experience an immensely reassuring connection to other”. When everyone is suffering around you and can relate to how you feel it is much easier to connect with them and become stronger through one another. Even in smaller scale situations like getting a bad grade on a test along with your friend makes you not feel as bad because someone is in the same boat as you. Not only was the book interesting but also educational.

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