Almost everyone has heard the sermon. It begins: "Your father walked five miles through the snow to school every day," and ends with a great big, "So don't complain about your work."
But, not many have had fathers such as Chuck Bittick, a former Olympic water polo player who held the world record in the 200-meter backstroke while working three jobs and attending college. If they did, they probably wouldn't need The Lecture to understand the expectations.
Chuck Bittick is a walking guilt trip.
"Compromise is not something we like in our family," he said.
It's no surprise that his son, Jason, an 18-year-old senior at Esperanza High School, spends more time each day on the golf course than anywhere else besides home.
It's also no surprise that he has become one of Southern California's top junior golfers.
But, Jason surprised many last month at the Shearson Lehman Brothers Andy Williams Open in San Diego, including Tom Watson and Bob Tway, who found themselves driving next to the tournament's youngest qualifier ever.
Jason's tour debut seems even more remarkable considering the fact that he qualified in a five-hole, sudden-death playoff with his father literally peering over his shoulder.
The night before the qualifying tournament, Jason's caddy canceled, leaving him two equally disheartening choices: Ask dad, or don't play.
"My dad said he'd do it and I just kind of thought, 'Oh, no. There's no way I'm going to qualify now,' " he said. "I seem to put a lot of pressure on myself when he's around."
That's not hard to believe. Chuck broke 35 national swimming records before graduating from USC in 1961, where he played water polo on the three consecutive Amateur Athletic Union championship teams.
His college schedule was cluttered by daily six-hour workouts and three part-time jobs, which he says interfered with his studying, but left plenty of time for competing--and winning.
Chuck's only apparent athletic limits were those imposed on him by his coach, who told him he had to choose between Olympic swimming and Olympic water polo, though he had qualified for both.
He has never seen any limits for his son's success.
"I knew he was going to be good," he said. "It was just a question of what sport he chose to concentrate on. He didn't have any limits in terms of where he could go in any sport."
Jason took up golf at 13 when he quit baseball and soccer for a more individualized sport, any individualized sport besides swimming.
"I don't understand why people swim," he said. "You compete until you're about 22, and by about 25 you're not very good and you don't get paid."
Jason's 16-year-old brother Matthew doesn't share this sentiment. He swims and plays water polo for El Dorado High School and qualified for the Junior National water polo team the same day Jason qualified for the Andy Williams Open.
"It was a great surprise that my second son wanted to go into aquatics," Chuck said. "I was not ready to aim my children anywhere but where they felt comfortable and where they could perform. I didn't want anybody to live in my shadow."
He didn't have to worry.
By the end of Jason's sophomore year, he was the Empire League's top golfer, winning the the 1984 league championships by seven strokes.
Though he was plagued during his junior year by a back injury that left him in bed for a week and off the course for a month, Bittick recovered to capture his most prestigious victory to date last summer at the 1985 Southern California Junior Championships.
He also competed for the 1985 Junior America's Cup Team in Calgary and was chosen as one of five Southern Californians for the USGA Junior Championships in Brookfield, N.Y. in July. He became the only Southern California selection for the National PGA Junior Championships in Palm Beach, Florida last August.
These victories came as no surprise to Jason Bittick.
"I don't think I surprise myself because I expect so much of myself," he said. "I expect to get better, too. Sometimes I surprise myself, but then I look at the shot and I think I should be able to do that every time."
Just to make sure, he goes straight to the Yorba Linda Country Club each day after school and practices until the course closes at dark. Then, on Friday evenings, he goes to the Big Tee Driving Range in Buena Park where he can practice until 9:30. He's back out on the course by 8 Saturday and Sunday mornings for a nine-hour stretch.
"There aren't enough hours in the day," he said. "When I'm not practicing, I'm always thinking, 'When am I going to be on the course next?' "
Besides, this is no more than dad ever practiced.
Chuck carried a favorite philosophy to practice each day that eventually carried him to world-class competition in two sports.
"To be good, you had to be there first and leave there last and work hardest between those two time periods," he said.
When he broke the national junior college record in the 400-meter individual medley by 14 1/2 seconds, he attributed it almost solely to his persistence.