The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

The words of the father

I am sure we can all remember some of the snippets of advice and wisdom that our fathers imparted to us over the course of our lives. Being a young boy raised in Canada, one of the first ones that I remember from my dad was 'Don't eat the yellow snow.'

The relationship between a father and his children is a very important one. A father is the most important male role model in a child's life and for many, especially son's, their father is their first hero. How a dad goes about sharing life lessons with their children will be different from one to another, however the time he spends with his children provides an opportunity to teach those little gems of advice and expectations that he hopes will take root in his children and help them to develop into the kind of people he would want them to be.

When I was growing up I had the opportunity to do things with my father. These were special moments where I learned from watching, learned from listening and learned from doing. He taught me by spending time with me. Whether it was playing catch with me in our yard, so that I could learn how to play baseball; whether it was coaching my ice-hockey team when I was a four-year old playing outside in freezing temperatures and rubbing my feet between periods telling me 'It will be okay' and getting me back on the ice; or whether it was the hours he spent making an ice rink for me in our backyard so that I could learn how to skate. It took me a while to learn and understand and appreciate the efforts he made for me when I was young.

Most fathers try not to lecture or give long diatribes to their children about how they should be, they try to model it. As a father, I would hope that the things that I say and do day-to-day with my children will help them to grow up into the kind of people I hope for them to be. I try to model to them love through the way I treat their mother and politeness in the way I treat other people. I hope that the way we talk about the things we value and most importantly demonstrate this in my day-to-day actions will help them turn into good people.

When we celebrated the Scotch Parents' JS Fathers' Day Breakfast on Thursday 31 August, it was more than an opportunity for dads to come together and have breakfast with their sons. It was an opportunity for their sons to say 'This is my dad and I am proud that he came here and joined me this morning.'

I guess, as a father of young children and the son of a father, proof of the efforts we put in as parents comes out when they become grown-ups. Do we see in them the values we try to instill? Are they good people? Are they kind? Are they good family men? Do they work hard? Do they make us proud? I guess time will tell but each little effort we put in now, each word that we say to our children at this age and each moment we spend with them will help with the construction of the man (and the woman) we hope they will become.

Mr John Stewart
Head of Junior School