This Sunday we celebrate the value and importance of our fathers.
I was very fortunate to have an involved father growing up as a country kid in the small town of Donnybrook. My dad, no matter how buggered he was from work, would always have time to play with my brother and I. One of our favourite activities was a game we called “Jump over legs” which involved a spare mattress and a fairly literal interpretation as my brother and I would take run-ups from the kitchen into the family area and perform all kinds of stunts as we jumped over dad’s legs and onto the mattress. Some bruising may have occurred and the glass cabinet was always in danger, but we never broke anything (I don’t think!).
My dad will be the first one to tell anyone that mum is the best thing that has ever happened to him. They were always on the same page when it came to parenting and they both wanted kids and to have a family, which made having my brother and I a very loving experience and gave me a childhood that I cherish greatly to this day. We were (and still are) a really close-knit family, we would always be doing stuff together and going places and have a lot of fun in the process. We were always great at creating something entertaining or beneficial out nothing (or very little).
Fathers are important for many reasons as highlighted in Dr Warren Farrell’s book, “The Boy Crisis”, in which he illustrates 70-plus ways that children benefit from significant father involvement (or from which dad-deprived children are more likely to suffer). These can range from school achievement and employment to suicide and drug use, from crime and incarceration to trust and empathy, to list but a few.
My father has helped me with my sports over the years and facilitated my interest in cars, but motorcycles especially. Forever the hands-on type of man, my dad has taught me many practical skills and helped me overcome my apprehension to manual labour. Dad has also influenced my musical taste, of whom I attribute my love of a lot of 80’s music to. My father has cared for me even if he has not always understood me.
I have been fortunate to share many great experiences with my father. Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge together has created a long-lasting memory that will forever be entrenched. The many motorcycle rides we have shared over the years (and on many different bikes!), including an incredible opportunity to day a track day at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit which is unforgettable! Our family holiday to Queensland in 1999 still ranks highly on my list and one I have very fond memories of.
I love my father, I still love him and I will always love him.