I totally understand what it’s like to have your parents become disappointed with your career choices, but one of the things I’ve got going for me is that I’m completely self-sufficient, so their disapproval is limited to some extent. Unfortunately, the three middle-aged children who received this critical email from their “bitterly disappointed” father, a retired Royal Navy officer named Nick Crews who lives in the U.K., may not be able to say the same:
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.
The youngest child works in a sailing shop. Fred, who is 35, works for a taxi firm. Emily, 40, is “struggling as a business interpreter,” and was the one who asked permission from her father to have his email published in The Telegraph. The public has generally sided with Crews, but in a followup article, he wonders: “I haven’t done well as a father, have I?”