On father’s day, we celebrate all that you have achieved in your sixty years of life.
Your love for family, your values – and stand for justice, what is right, has taught me so many things and has made me who I am today.
I would like to share some of my earliest memories that I love and have influenced my life.
- Dad, I loved it when we discussed that a new car is not an investment – thank you for not letting me get a loan for a new car – I still have not indulged but feel it will come one day soon!
- Dad, I loved it when we talked about happiness, independence and wealth – that I could not depend on a husband or anyone, that I must search to create these within my own life – thankfully, I have! I am certain that you think I am taking it too far now and know that you wish that I would “settle down.”
- Dad, I loved it when we would tackle high school maths and chemistry homework together – I pretty much hated maths from the time I had to learn fractions in primary school but somehow your accounting acumen must have made me exceptionally good at personal finance and finance for business.
- Dad, I loved it when you taught me to earn money from cleaning chores even though when you tried to set a good standard for me as a young girl by cleaning my room I soon asserted that it was my personal space - sorry! I still get untidy with my crazy lifestyle – lucky it fits into three suitcases!
- Dad, I loved it when we worked at your investment properties on the weekend (probably the reason that I am so driven to invest in property, above all else);
- Dad, I loved it when we talked on the phone about love life – professional and personal! You always made time to listen to me, no matter how many times I got rejected from DFAT, rejected from law or wanted to drop out of uni all together!
- Dad, I loved it when we would spend time with your friends, and particularly you time with “the boys” playing cards. You taught me to nurture friendships and relationships – I have always admired how you have kept your group of friends that you practically grew up with.
- Dad, I loved it when you worked at the elections and would bring me the ballot box – I always thought you were a member of parliament and I probably wanted to be too – definitely inspired my work in politics!
- Dad, I loved it when we have family dinners - your crazy cook ups just to keep the family together – one of the epic ones being when you must have thought I had no food, spent about $300 worth of groceries and stacked my freezer in Canberra with pasta sauce, cutlet crumbs and meatballs – yes that was when I ate meat!
- Dad, I loved it when we realised how hard you have worked for your family and to keep us together during difficult times, even though it seemed like it was all falling apart.
With time, I realised that we ever really grow up and have the answers to everything so I and more that I always looked to you as the strong one even though you may not have had the answers, you always have been there to guide me – especially since you were a considerably young father – I cannot imagine having the responsibility of a child when I was 25, which is how old when you had me!
I do not always agree with you – but to an extent, that is what you are here for – to offer guidance and allow me to make my own mistakes and learn from them.
You have always been only a phone call away, my general counsel (normally to test the risk associated with an idea and take the risk anyway) and now I treasure every coffee that we get to have at your house, your beautiful property which now represents a sense of tranquillity and comfort that you have found in your life.
May you continue to guide us for years to come. I try not to think of the day that I will no longer be able to call you for your advice that I will only take what is relevant and do my own thing any way.
These words probably do not seem much compared to the influence that you have had on my life – and that of my brothers, your friends and family around you. Without you, I would not be who I am today and perhaps not have had the confidence to take the risks that I do, (especially the courage you gave me when I decided at the last minute, to join a Stuart Watkins yoga retreat in India, which created so many opportunities for me – some that I am still realising today.)
Now for you, life is to stop living for others and to start living for yourself. Enjoy the fruits of your hard and really start to live and enjoy your life for you.
This is the speech I wanted to give at your sixtieth birthday last year, however, like always with my crazy pace of life, I did not get the chance to write or execute it the way I wanted to on the day. Ironic really, because I did not let you speak the words you wanted to on my 30th birthday. So my tribute to you is to have it published as an open card for Father’s Day – also because when, as a young girl, I told you that I wanted to be a journalist you advised me how competitive the field was and how poorly paid they are. That may have been true, however, today we live in a world where content is critical so I will choose your advice to be flexible and adaptable (amazing foresight) – I think I have already had fifteen career changes!
I hope it resonates with others, maybe who have not have the opportunity to know you and that your guidance to me may influence their lives too.
With love to you on Father’s Day and always, your daughter
Belinda (BJ the Bear)
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