Your Dad is not supposed to be your best friend
The highest-rating story on News.com.au today, by some margin, is about the retired naval commander Nick Crews and his letter to his three children.
He describes his “bitter disappointment” in their inability to hold down jobs and relationships. In the process, he’s incurred the wrath worldwide of everyone who blames their failure in life on a strict upbringing.
The central question arising from the story is this: If you’re a dole-bludging no-hoper, do your parents have the right to tell you? Of course, the acceptable answer is no, but deep down I suspect many of us empathise with Mr Crews. I certainly do.
It’s wrong to see your kids as an investment on which you expect a decent return, but it’s a dire reflection on modern parenting when society expects us to idly stand by while our children make a complete hash of their lives.
I have two beautiful daughters. I see it as my job to give them the best opportunities I can through education, finance and whatever personal values I can muster. As far as I’m concerned, once they hit 18 their lives are their own. Marry a boy, girl, dye your hair blue, go into the funeral directing business, I don’t care.
But if they fail to reach their potential, give up and blame society or their upbringing for their misfortunes, I won’t be providing a shoulder to cry on. There are enough hangers-on in the world to tell you your life decisions are unreal when they’re clearly deluded. Dads should not be one of them.
Somewhere along the line – and Mr Crews is learning this to his detriment – we decided that parents should support their children regardless of the insane decisions that have the potential to change the course of their lives.
In other words, that we should play the same role as their circle of friends. Fred Crews, 35, certainly sees it this way. When asked for his reply to his dad’s letter, sporting a bare torso with a stomach tattoo, he was straight to the point. “He made me,” said Fred. When you hear from his kids, Mr Crews’ letter seems somewhat restrained.
The kind of parents who ban the word “no” from their households will have a field day with the retired naval submarine captain. But there’s another way to look at it. At least he cares enough to explain why he doesn’t particularly want them coming around for tea anymore.
He’s given them some detailed advice: it’s up to them whether they want to use it. In other words, he’s worked out the difference between a dad and a best friend.
Comments on this post will close at 8pm Eastern Time.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…