We recently moved house. The house we had been renting for 13 years was sold and there was no other option.
According to the USA Employee Relations Council, moving house is the third most stressful event in life, following death and divorce. Other lists put it lower, but whatever the case, it usually makes the top ten of life’s worst events. Moving house is stressful because you have to make decisions about what you have to throw out. We were moving to a smaller home so there were a lot of those decisions to make.
Through the moving process I unearthed a pile of personal letters and cards from my wife and children. During the move I had thrown out several trailer loads of rubbish and even what I would call ‘good things’, hence the trauma, but there was no way in a million years I could ever throw out those letters.
Those letters and cards are my very own collection of love letters, and you can’t put a price on love. It is not just paper, but an expression of appreciation, thanks and love, from one person to another. Both the giver and the receiver of these love letters place immense value on them and they can never be replaced.
One of my sons wrote to me on a Father’s Day,
“Dad you are a powerful man and I’m proud to be your son”.
One of my daughter-in-laws wrote with a thankful heart,
“You love and encourage me and accept me no matter what and I really love and appreciate you”.
My wife wrote a letter to me twenty years ago while I was on an overseas music tour,
“Thank you for marrying me, thank you for loving and caring, thank you for being the wonderful husband and father that you are”.
If those letters and cards are important to me, how important are the cards or letters that I have given to my wife and children over the years, showing appreciation and love? The trouble is I don’t give them that often. Why? I just don’t get a round tuit. A dad joke, but I hope you get the picture. The sheer busyness and distractions of life sometimes rob us of the presence of mind to put pen to paper and record some of our loving feelings for posterity.
I have news for you! You have two options: Stop being apathetic OR do a Dads4Kids ten week Good to Great Fathering Course. Either decision precludes apathy. But let me tell you a story about the second decision.
In one of the first Good to Great courses that Dads4Kids ran 9 years ago, a friend of mine named Steve Stylianou completed the course. He was a builder and a good footballer, tough and to the point, a man of few words and at that time, limited emotional expression. He was one of those guys, that if he liked you he would never tell you because from his point of view, that’s the way it is. Love does not need to be expressed in words, because it just is, and that’s all the matters. Many men think like Steve, but it’s a mistake.
The good news is that Steve enrolled in a Good to Great Fathering Course and the rest is history.The Dads4Kids Good to Great Fathering Course is like no other. Good to Great is modelled on the training plan of the Australian Army’s Special Air Services Regiment (SASR/SAS). The SAS is recognised as one of the top three elite military units in the world. Those who survive the training regime are the best of the best: proficient, disciplined and committed leaders. The Good to Great Fathering Course is also like a high level corporate training program worth thousands of dollars. Good to Great runs for ten weeks, one night per week, and requires an investment of $250 which also covers the training course materials.
The Dads4Kids ‘Good to Great’ Fathering Course is also a course in: relationships, marriage, self-development, leadership, men’s health, sexual integrity, how-to-be-a-great-husband, listening and communication and how-to-have-fun-with-your-children.
Steve invested $250 and committed himself to becoming a father of excellence, moving from good to great. Steve was a good father, there was no doubt about that, but he rarely, if ever, told his wife or children he loved them, by letter or by spoken word.
The Good to Great Fathering course had a profound effect on Steve Stylianou. One of the requirements to pass the course is to learn how to write letters to your children, wife and others. To pass the course you have to learn how to express love to your children and wife in both word and deed. I can say with absolute confidence that I have seen dozens of fathers and families revolutionised by completing the Good to Great Course.
Steve’s investment paid off. When he died tragically just a few years ago at the age of 57, his funeral was packed as many came to show their respects to a great man and a great father who had lived a hard working life, admired by many. Steve’s daughter, then in her early twenties, a confident young woman, spoke at her Dad’s funeral. She read the letter her dad had written to her because of the Good to Great Course, an unbridled letter of love and commendation, a written outpouring of a father who was intensely proud of his only daughter and didn’t mind telling the world about her. Read it for yourself.
Letter to My Daughter
My mouth does not say enough of what is in my heart so I am writing this to you.
It is not easy. I have had this on my heart for a while. So here it is.
As a Father I have seen you grow from a baby into a woman. The years go so fast and it seems like you will be leaving the nest on another journey in life soon. I want to say I love you and your brothers and mum so much. I have seen your trials and victories, you are like me, you do things the hard way but I think God uses that to install perseverance in us. I say sorry for not being the support in your relationships over the years. You need to know Mum is my support, listen to her pearls. Sometimes you think you have got it as a father but it can change the next day. But I realise fatherhood is not a short race but a long one so I will be there for you till the end of the race.
You wrote once about things you don’t know about me, you wrote, “I know what you do Dad but I know little about who you are”. Basically what you see is what you get. I don’t think I am too complicated. Stick me under a mango tree or near a duck pond. I enjoy the simple things in life. You wanted to know what my favourite colour was. It’s red. When I first met your mother she had a red flower in her hair. God must have set that up. My dreams are for you kids that God’s Spirit will remain in your lives till you go to be with the Lord and to work hard to build an inheritance for the kingdom and family.
Your maturity goes beyond your years. I’ve seen your spiritual walk from lows to highs. God certainly is faithful in the work He starts. Your Christian walk inspires me. As you go through another chapter in your life my prayer is for you that you seek God’s kingdom first in your life and all other things will be added. Fulfilment in life does not come through money, relationships etc. It comes in the Godhead. May God bless you abundantly in all the things you do in life
Your loving Dad
There was hardly a dry eye in the place as she read that letter. Many were surprised because they knew that Steve was a man of few words but I was not surprised. Steve had written that letter because of the Good to Great Fathering Course. On the day of his funeral, I was so glad that Steve had completed the Good to Great course and had written that letter because a father’s love letters have a life and legacy of their own.
So in spite of the trauma of moving house, the discovery of my treasure trove of love letters from my family members has inspired me to tell Steve’s story once again, and to put pen to paper for the ones I love.
You know what you gotta do: put pen to paper and tell the ones you love why you love them. There is something amazing about ink and paper. Texts and emails can be accidently deleted or lose meaning in their transfer. Love letters have a funny way of surviving all sorts of trauma, including the many ‘moves’ of life.
Yours for more love letters
PS. If you want to up-skill yourself as a father I would strongly encourage you to consider attending a Good to Great Fathering Course. Dads4Kids has over a dozen ten week, Good to Great Fathering courses starting all over Australia in the next six weeks.
For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org