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A month ago we lost our wonderful Dad and Grandad. We were very close so it has been an incredibly sad time, made even sadder and more difficult because the COVID restrictions meant that we couldn’t get back to NZ to be with Dad and Mum, neither when Dad was in the hospital nor for his funeral.

Fortunately, technology enabled us to send a video tribute and to watch via live stream – not what we would have liked but much better than just receiving the order of service as you did a few years ago.

We learn much from our parents and I was lucky enough to have a Dad who taught me much, both with his words but more so with his actions. Here are 3 lessons I learnt from Dad.


#1 Never Give Up!


Dad was competitive, determined and disciplined. When he had decided to do something he stuck with it until he achieved it.

This enabled him to be a top middle-distance runner (in fact one of his records still stands!), a representative rugby player even though he was short and small, and a championship-winning golfer when he retired.

We grew up knowing that if you committed to a team, to piano lessons or to helping someone that you carried that out for the duration. Mum and Dad always supported us and especially if it got tough, but they were clear that you didn’t quit. My friend Deb and I still laugh about our cross-country running, Dad would always be halfway up the steepest hill saying ‘come on Di, come on Deb’ when we felt like walking or stopping completely!

When you don’t quit you find out what is really possible, in fact, you often find a new way to make it possible.


#2 Enjoy the Beauty in Nature


Dad loved mountains, lakes and forests. So many of our holidays involved walking through lush NZ bush, around beautiful lakes, and towards snow-capped mountains. We would walk and then ….. stop. Stop to take in the magnificent view, to hear the birds, to admire the ferns.

There is so much beauty in nature around us. Sadly we are so often too rushed to walk or to stop and truly appreciate it. It is there, in those quiet and beautiful moments that we can appreciate all that we have, that we can be inspired and that we can take the time to think more deeply.


#3 It’s Not the Number of Relationships that Matters


Dad had close friends rather than lots of friends, and his best friends from his youth remained his best friends throughout his life, even though there were many years when they didn’t live close to each other.

As he got older you could see the depth of these relationships. As younger people they shared their achievements and adventures, when they had families they shared the fun and also the frustrations of parenting and juggling life, in older age they supported each other when their partners became unwell and had deeper conversations than they perhaps ever had previously.

Dad’s best friend was, without doubt, Mum. They were a brilliant team, and we were blessed with a fun and happy home. Of course, life had its bumps but Mum and Dad always overcame these. As they got older Dad would often say to me, ‘and the most important thing Di is that I have Mum and she has me.’



It is so important to nurture the relationships that matter in our lives. These take time, energy and work and we must ensure we give enough time to these relationships and not get fooled into ‘collecting’ friends and acquaintances. Sometimes less is more!

I hope these lessons Dad taught me may also resonate with you or at least cause you to think about some of the important life lessons you have learnt from special people in your life.