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“Letters to Dad”: children perceive the love of their fathers through simple daily activities

Letters sent by DELFI readers during the campaign “Write a letter to your dad” organized by the channel “DELFI Pilietis” prompt several conclusions.

In our society, a father is often viewed as the breadwinner whose most important function is to make money and thus guarantee financial security for his family.

The problem is that, in this case, a father becomes sort of a sentry of the family who guards the gates of his home, rarely comes inside, and therefore seems alienated from his family. Perhaps that is why the submitted letters often reveal a mental return to the human dimension of a father – we had forgotten that fathers also have their own personalities, their own uniqueness, individuality, unique attitudes, opinions, and areas of interest, and that they are not just simply the faceless sentries of their families,” says Donatas Paulauskas, an expert of the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson, while summarizing the letters sent by DELFI readers.

For example, one letter writes about how the writer’s father became her creative project partner after the writer discovered her father’s talents, creativity and professional abilities. You can say that in these letters a father is discovered as an individual with his unique personality.

“My dear father, I would like to talk to you about the things that are interesting to both of us: about the orchard, the workshop, the machinery… About a world that is changing rapidly at this very moment. I would like to philosophize with you on various subjects, and to compare our views and concepts,” the author of one letter says, emphasizing the importance of his father’s opinion.

Tėtis iškėlęs vaiką į orą

Dad Gediminas with a child / MOSTO photography

“13 years ago I was just a teenager who didn’t care too much about your past, wasn’t interested in your roots or youth years, or the most memorable moment of your life, the experiences you had, or the knowledge that you accumulated over the years. Paradoxically, when you left, I felt a strong desire to know you. Every detail, everything you touched,” said the author of another letter.

“Perhaps I wanted to talk to you and tell you that it’s not easy for me in the academic world, that it’s hard to climb the career ladder here. I would have asked you how you wrote your own dissertation. From the perspective of eternity, I think I wouldn’t have asked specifically how to do it, I would just want to listen to your story, your insights, and talk to you about why do we always strive for something more?,” one woman writes in her letter to her father.

“I am mostly happy about the fact that he is not only a great and caring grandfather, but also someone with whom I share common interests. We have become a wonderful creative team, combining our know-how and preparing joint projects. I encouraged my dad to try his hand at these activities, because I saw what a professional he was and I wanted to learn as much as possible from him: how he thinks, how he considers things before making a decision, and how he is able to maintain high standards in this day and age, when everyone seems to want the fastest and cheapest solution,” one daughter writes, emphasizing the knowledge and experience of her own father.

D. Paulauskas notes that after assuming the role of a sentry of the family, a father may forget about himself, believing that he must devote himself fully to this new role, sacrificing his health and personal well-being.

One letter written to a father emphasized this precise aspect.

“I would ask you to take more care of yourself, work less, and allow yourself to rest more often. We need you, and only by taking care of ourselves can we maintain our well-being,” another letter says.

It ends with an encouragement: “We must take care of our fathers, since they are the only ones that we have. I love you, Dad. You are my greatest gift”.

These letters also emphasize the importance of a father’s presence, closeness, and talk about the simple moments spent together, which show that no matter how fathers spend time with their children, the important thing is to simply be around.

“It is wonderful to remember how, as a child, I held your hand and felt that I could go anywhere, as long as you were with me,” one letter says.

The author of another letter shares her memories of how she and her father used to walk to the river and stop in the forest to pick some mushrooms. She also describes other details that still linger in her memories.

“I remember how we used to go to a restaurant for lunch on Sundays and how you carried me on your shoulders when I was tired,” the author says.

“These moments of everyday life with your father are saved in your mind as the warmest memories which only confirm that a caring father plays a very significant role in the life of his child,” D. Paulauskas notes.

This article is part of the project “Everybody’s Talking: Work-Life Balance Goes Mainstream”, partially funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020). The content of it is the sole responsibility of the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.