Dear Dad… 51



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Fathers Day.  Emotional for some, touching for others, and an important day in most families.  I love a good reflective moment, so we’re going to take the time today to look back on what makes dads special and the things your dad taught you.

Selfishly, I have written down all the awesome things my now 68 year old dad taught me that he probably doesn’t even realise.  That’s the funny thing about dads – they teach by values rather than by consciously knowing they are doing so.   So, it reads a bit like a “Dear Dad”… why don’t you join in with your own additions, personalising it to your dad.


Dear Dad…

Thanks for teaching me things in life by example. You’ve got an amazing knack of teaching me by example not by lecturing me, and that means I feel like I have really learned how life works, rather than just learned to live “by the rules”. In fact, if someone asked me what you’ve taught me the list would be endless, and yet so very unlistable, simply because you’ve let me learn it all myself, by not telling me the answer, just pointing the way and letting me make choices and mistakes, each one another lesson.

It’s great to know everyday is more important than hallmark days. Perhaps because my family was a newsagent family, hallmark days lost their lustre.  We worked on Christmas and Birthdays, and Fathers’ Day too.  Hence, we made up for it on other days.   Hanging out with my father is getting better and better with age. We always have good fun, particularly as I get older. The wisdom and wit, the energy and the discussions and the reflection on life is so entertaining.

Thanks for challenging me. As a young girl you taught me that anything is possible and there were plenty of times I thought I “knew it all”. You rarely told me I didn’t but instead posed some clever questions to make me wonder myself whether I had a clear view of the situation. Some might call it “planting a seed to grow a tree” instead of “cutting me down”. A wonderful approach.

I like that you’ve taught me to use my emotions without losing myself to them. I’m overjoyed to have learned your pragmatic perspective that they’re no good if they get in the way of progress. Although you’ve never really said it in such a harsh way, I can imagine you saying “Don’t regret having them, but don’t let them get in the way either.”

I love that you know how to choose your battles.  My dad took crap from lots of people in his life so far (including me as a horrible teenager) – none of which fazed him, and he did what was right at the time. On this basis, he taught me to choose my battles well. That’s another awesome lesson in life from a father to a daughter. If you fight over everything, you’ll be left with not very much.

Thanks for teaching me to be kind. This one I learned by watching, not by lessons.  My dad taught me people were most important, all types of people just by going the extra mile for those less fortunate. He has quietly, and unnoticeably helped those who needed to be helped, without asking for people to reward him.  Cool huh!

And so I ask you what your dad taught you!  Are they similar values?  Or have you played an active role in your childrens’ lives in a similar way to my dad, instilling values rather than consciously forcing them.

Happy Fathers’ Day to all the dads in Australia and New Zealand.


Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. No, I don’t feel anything positive about my father on Fathers’ Day. He was extremely abusive and certainly not protective of me (quite the reverse in fact). He’s been dead a long time, and I’d have liked the opportunity to find out “why”. I never did get the chance.

  2. Treasure your father. I lost mine he was only 46yrs old still miss him heaps after 40 odd years

    2 REPLY
    • I lost my Dad in 1976 suddenly, & couldn’t afford to attend his funeral. I guess I’ll never get over that, but I did visit his grave 2012. So there’s a few blessings.

  3. Born 1943. Never knew my father – or at least too young to remember him. Have my mother to thank for the example she set in my life.

  4. I like Rebecca’s comment on ‘Sowing a seed to grow a tree rather than chopping the tree down’ – a very apt saying.

  5. Dear Dad….you are no longer with us but I think if you had your time over you would do it differently…the dreaded drink changed your personality for the worst….you were always a hard worker and you and Mum passed that on to us 12 kids …things were a whole lot different back in the 40’s 50’s and 60’s … showed us what not to be like …especially the boys…thank you Dad….love you…..xxxooo

  6. My father lost his own father in the Great War. He was only 7 years old. There was a younger girl and boy as well. My granny married again to a horrible man who made their life hell and eventually left.
    My grandfather is buried in a war grave in France. We have no photos of him.

  7. Just such a shame my father was so sexist, it took a long time for my sister and I to realise this, he made us leave school when we were 15 and to get a job, all I wanted to do was to be a pharmacist but wasn’t allowed, in those days you did as you were told.

  8. My Dad never raised his voice or his hands. One deadly look was enough to stop us in our tracks 🙂 He used to tell us that, if we always do the right thing, then nobody can criticise us.

  9. Fathers… How important are they really?

    Research performed by the National Fatherhood Initiative has indicated that children, both boys and girls with involved loving fathers, are more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem and avoid high-risk behaviors.

    But just as the presence of a loving father has positive overwhelming effects on a child, the lack of a father carries extremely negative effects.

    Children who live absent from their fathers are two to three times more likely to use drugs, experience behavioral problems, be victims of abuse, and engage in criminal behavior.

    A few years ago, a greeting card company offered free cards to inmates from a prison to send to mothers on Mother’s Day. Nearly all the prisoners took the offer and sent cards to their mothers. So the greeting card company was somewhat encouraged by the success and they decided that they would then make the same offer when Father’s Day came around. They offered free cards to send to fathers on Father’s Day, and they had zero takers.

    There was no one in that prison who wanted to send a card to his father on Father’s Day, which is a real sad indictment, I think, of the situation in regard to fatherlessness of those who end up in prison.

    Our country and our children need THEIR Father and THEIR mother..

    The Best thing parents can give their children and grandchildren is THEIR PARENTS and live an example for them to follow… It’s almost impossible because we can’t give our kids something we don’t have and this is why we desperately need a close relationship with our creator trough Jesus Christ… Who created marriage…

    Happy Fathers day!

    12 REPLY
    • What a load of crap, throughout history women have been raising children by themselves that have grown up to be healthy, happy, successful, well adjusted members of the community, what about fathers that assult & abuse children & wives, yes it would be nice to have two caring parents but it’s not always the best environment to raise children, just being married does not always mean it’s the best thing for children, having one caring & loving parent is more important than two dis functional parents.

    • You’re opinion Lyn not worth much… I find it interesting that a lot of men can’t stand to stay with their wives… While I’m not blaming all women for everything they certainly must bear the blame for much of destruction

    • And is it the woman’s fault that some fathers sexually abuse their children & physically abuse them as well?..& the wives as well..I find your opinion is the one that’s not worth much.

    • Yes I dare say often it’s the woman’s fault… AND not excusing Men for their failures or abuses..

      So we can blame the woman for the state of the world?

      Women raised the abusers … Something is missing which cannot be provided by mothers

    • Obviously you don’t like the truth Lyn but the facts bear it out… I would like to see some stats on you and would almost lay odds but I won’t venture there…

      It’s time women woke up and realised there place in a mans life… Once again I would never condone wrong behaviour by men and women toward the rif spouse or children but this doesn’t fix the problem.. Both must take personal responsibility for their lives and their children’s lives… Selfishness is at the root and there is no point in attacking me for my opinion… I’ve raised six and still have an excellent relationship with my first wife of 43 years… Go figure

    • OMG John Plummer you spout about Jesus Christ etc and then you say the most unchristian things. I think you should wake up and know your place in a woman’s life, never mind women knowing theirs in a man’s life. I agree with all Lynn says.

    • John how come you didn’t stay with your first wife? I have been with my husband for 51 years. Our grandchildren don’t have a dad in their lives, through circumstances beyond control, and they are well balanced, happy individuals with good jobs. A credit to their mothers. Yes, ideally it is wonderful to have a mum and a dad, but I do not think the stats are anything to worry about. Lots of single women do a brilliant job bringing up their children.

    • You don’t think I wasn’t expecting opposition from women lol you can’t help yourselves… Your going to have to get your acts together if you wish to keep your husbands..

    • John, if you are going to continue to argue, can you please pay attention to your grammar. It is “you’re going” (as in you are) not “your going” which is “possessory” (as in your handbag). Thank you.

  10. I lost my Dad when I was 23 years old and my husband lost his on his 16 th Birthday ! We have both missed our dads but have wonderful memories ! The time I had with my Dad and the things he taught me ,including love and respect , will never be forgotten ! It has been 45 years since he passed away and yet he is never far from my mind !

    2 REPLY
    • My dad passed away 46 years ago when I was 17. He taught me how to be a good person with respect for other people. I wish he was still here but I think of him often & put flowers on his grave on these occasions

    • Lyn Griffiths – that is so lovely ! I know how you feel and glad that at such a tender age he left you with so much ! He would be proud of you, I am sure .

  11. I was lucky to have my Dad until he was 84yrs old…but my own children lost their Dad when he was only 25… They were 7, 3 and 2weeks old at the time….and thy are all grown up now and have all turned out to be wonderful adults.

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