Dear America

I am bitterly, bitterly disappointed:

Dear [America]

With last evening’s crop of whinges and tidings of more rotten news for which you seem to treat your mother like a cess-pit, I feel it is time to come off my perch.

It is obvious that none of you has the faintest notion of the bitter disappointment each of you has in your own way dished out to us. We are seeing the miserable death throes of the fourth of your collective marriages at the same time we see the advent of a fifth.

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.

So we witness the introduction to this life of six beautiful children — soon to be seven — none of whose parents have had the maturity and sound judgment to make a reasonable fist at making essential threshold decisions. None of these decisions were made with any pretence to ask for our advice.

In each case we have been expected to acquiesce with mostly hasty, but always in our view, badly judged decisions. None of you has done yourself, or given to us, the basic courtesy to ask us what we think while there was still time finally to think things through. The predictable result has been a decade of deep unhappiness over the fates of our grandchildren. If it wasn’t for them, Mum and I would not be too concerned, as each of you consciously, and with eyes wide open, crashes from one cock-up to the next. It makes us weak that so many of these events are copulation-driven, and then helplessly to see these lovely little people being so woefully let down by you, their parents.

I can now tell you that I for one, and I sense Mum feels the same, have had enough of being forced to live through the never-ending bad dream of our children’s underachievement and domestic ineptitudes. I want to hear no more from any of you until, if you feel inclined, you have a success or an achievement or a REALISTIC plan for the support and happiness of your children to tell me about. I don’t want to see your mother burdened any more with your miserable woes — it’s not as if any of the advice she strives to give you has ever been listened to with good grace — far less acted upon. So I ask you to spare her further unhappiness. If you think I have been unfair in what I have said, by all means try to persuade me to change my mind. But you won’t do it by simply whingeing and saying you don’t like it. You’ll have to come up with meaty reasons to demolish my points and build a case for yourself. If that isn’t possible, or you simply can’t be bothered, then I rest my case.

I am bitterly, bitterly disappointed.

Oops, I didn’t write that (nor would I have to my lovely children)!

But he does express my feelings toward my countrymen and women:

Retired Royal Navy officer Nick Crews, 67, sent his son and two daughters a devastating email in February in which he complained that he and his wife Sarah were seeing “the miserable death throes of the fourth of your collective marriages”.

He said his “beautiful” grandchildren had parents who lacked maturity and sound judgment, adding: “It makes us weak that so many of these events are copulation-driven, and then helplessly to see these lovely little people being so woefully let down by you, their parents.”

Mr Crews also told his children, who are aged between 35 and 40, that despite their private education they had “contrived to avoid even moderate achievement” and were not “what I would confidently term properly self-supporting”.

The publication of the email in the Daily Mail on Saturday has done nothing to calm the family row.

Mr Crews’ son Fred, 35, from Plymouth, Devon, said he responded to the message at the time but was “not going to dignify” his father with a full response.

Yesterday the former naval officer insisted he had “nothing to apologise for” and said he had received emails of support from friends who had been in similar situations.

“There are people in society who desperately need financial support and for that support to be sucked up by people, my children, who could do better is not acceptable to me,” he told The Mail On Sunday.

“My message to other parents who feel as I do is that you have a social responsibility to say your piece. I can remember my father saying things to me that I didn’t like to hear.”

One of his daughters not only agreed with his assessment, she wanted it published, which is how this private email became public. That means one-third of his children accept responsibility for their situation in life—about the same ratio of Americans who accept responsibility for theirs, by my estimation.

Like him, I am bitterly, bitterly disappointed.

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