Parents are expected to be unwaveringly supportive of their offspring, but there are times when it's important to offer your children some honest criticism in the hope that they will try to improve their lives. Nick Crews, a retired royal navy officer in the United Kingdom, recently wrote up a letter to his three grown children after hearing of a few major disappointments. His letter has gone viral across the world and gives some insight into the pain it causes a father to see his children fail to reach their potential.
(Scroll down to see the original letter)
When asked by the Telegraph whether he regrets writing the letter which he sent to his kids in February this year, Crews answers with an indefatigable no. He does, however, regret releasing it publically - a suggestion made by his oldest daughter who wanted to use the letter as a way to draw attention to a French book she is working on.
The result has been an online explosion of agreement from parents everywhere. Friends and former-colleagues of Crews have got in touch to show their support too. "They’re saying, ‘I feel exactly the same about my children.’ Or, ‘You’ve said what I wish I’d said a long time ago," he told Cristina Odone of The Telegraph.
At the end of the day, all Crews wants is for his children to reach their full potential.
"It upsets me that they occupy basic-wage positions instead of working at the upper periphery of their capability," he shares, saying that modern attitude makes younger generations feel exempt from taking responsibility for their lives.
Read more in his original letter below.
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.
Do you think Crews is right to have sent this letter to his kids? Tell us in the comments section below.