This is some funny stuff. A UK father, and former nuclear submarine captain, apparently sent the following e-mail to his three grown children. I don't think I've ever seen a more masterful written evisceration. There are some brilliant pull quotes in this thing.
Dear All Three
With last evening’s crop of whinges and tidings of more rotten news for which you seem to treat your mother like a cess-pit, I feel it is time to come off my perch.
It is obvious that none of you has the faintest notion of the bitter disappointment each of you has in your own way dished out to us. We are seeing the miserable death throes of the fourth of your collective marriages at the same time we see the advent of a fifth.
We are constantly regaled with chapter and verse of the happy, successful lives of the families of our friends and relatives and being asked of news of our own children and grandchildren. I wonder if you realise how we feel — we have nothing to say which reflects any credit on you or us. We don’t ask for your sympathy or understanding — Mum and I have been used to taking our own misfortunes on the chin, and making our own effort to bash our little paths through life without being a burden to others. Having done our best — probably misguidedly — to provide for our children, we naturally hoped to see them in turn take up their own banners and provide happy and stable homes for their own children.
Fulfilling careers based on your educations would have helped — but as yet none of you is what I would confidently term properly self-supporting. Which of you, with or without a spouse, can support your families, finance your home and provide a pension for your old age? Each of you is well able to earn a comfortable living and provide for your children, yet each of you has contrived to avoid even moderate achievement. Far from your children being able to rely on your provision, they are faced with needing to survive their introduction to life with you as parents.
So we witness the introduction to this life of six beautiful children — soon to be seven — none of whose parents have had the maturity and sound judgment to make a reasonable fist at making essential threshold decisions. None of these decisions were made with any pretence to ask for our advice.
In each case we have been expected to acquiesce with mostly hasty, but always in our view, badly judged decisions. None of you has done yourself, or given to us, the basic courtesy to ask us what we think while there was still time finally to think things through. The predictable result has been a decade of deep unhappiness over the fates of our grandchildren. If it wasn’t for them, Mum and I would not be too concerned, as each of you consciously, and with eyes wide open, crashes from one cock-up to the next. It makes us weak that so many of these events are copulation-driven, and then helplessly to see these lovely little people being so woefully let down by you, their parents.
I can now tell you that I for one, and I sense Mum feels the same, have had enough of being forced to live through the never-ending bad dream of our children’s underachievement and domestic ineptitudes. I want to hear no more from any of you until, if you feel inclined, you have a success or an achievement or a REALISTIC plan for the support and happiness of your children to tell me about. I don’t want to see your mother burdened any more with your miserable woes — it’s not as if any of the advice she strives to give you has ever been listened to with good grace — far less acted upon. So I ask you to spare her further unhappiness. If you think I have been unfair in what I have said, by all means try to persuade me to change my mind. But you won’t do it by simply whingeing and saying you don’t like it. You’ll have to come up with meaty reasons to demolish my points and build a case for yourself. If that isn’t possible, or you simply can’t be bothered, then I rest my case.
I am bitterly, bitterly disappointed.
I'd pay good money for a Clint Eastwood audio version of that letter.
I'd be curious to know what the mother thinks.
"None of you has done yourself, or given to us, the basic courtesy to ask us what we think while there was still time finally to think things through." -- Because with an open-minded, dialogue-driven dad like that, he'd be the first person I'd go to for advice.
Yeah, I could parse the meaning of each sentence, but I'm with JB. This letter is hilarious, and out there enough that I wouldn't be surprised if it were a hoax ("what every parent wants to say but doesn't," etc.).
I need to find a way to use the word "whinge" in a sentence tomorrow at work.
yes, its unfortunate that the children cant be prefect like the father.
Sounds like an incredibly sad family. If he feel he has to write this letter to his adult children, more than likely something went wrong long, long ago. It could be his fault, it could be not. This letter is the kind of thing that certain types of people enjoy and feel like justifies their viewpoints on parenting or society, but you'd be in a sorry state if you were writing it or reading it. As one blogger commented, it's pretty self-centered to assume that your children grow up to please you, or that this letter can make up for absentee parenting via boarding schools.
Yes! The language actually reminds me of a quote from V for Vendetta;
"We are adrift in a sea of your inadequacies!"
I saw something on the response someone gave (link to the article is on page 2 of this thread): Jack, the author, relates something his father had said to him:
“You know, Jack, you always will have my unequivocal respect and admiration, no matter what you do or don’t achieve. You’re my son. That’s all the achievement I care about.”
We who are fathers can still bless our children, even if they are grown. A son or daughter who has his/her father's "unequivocal" love, blessing, and approval, is THE most richest person on the planet.