(PLYMOUTH, England) — A retired British naval officer’s scathing email to his three adult children about his bitter and frustrating disappointment in all of them has gone viral with its eloquence and biting honesty.
Nick Crews, 67, of Plymouth, England, sent the letter to his two daughters and son to express his deep disappointment in them and their life choices.
“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,” Crews wrote. “I wonder if you realise [sic] how we feel — we have nothing to say which reflects any credit on you or us.”
He criticized them for failed marriages, lack of maturity and their inability to provide for their families.
“Fulfilling careers based on your educations would have helped — but as yet none of you is what I would confidently term properly self-supporting,” he continued. “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 predictable result has been a decade of deep unhappiness over the fates of our grandchildren,” Crews wrote. “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.”
Crews said he and his wife were sick and tired of listening to their children’s complaints and failures. The children are 35, 38 and 40. The disgruntled dad wrote that he did not want to hear from his offspring again until they had good news.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
His last sentence before signing the letter was, “I am bitterly, bitterly disappointed.”
Crews sent the email in February and his eldest daughter Emily Crews, 40, recently asked him whether she could make it public in order to create some buzz while she works on a book about starting over.
The former commander has since told London’s Telegraph that he does not regret sending the email, but fears it might have been misinterpreted.
“It wasn’t meant as a furious dressing-down; more like a finger raised to my lips in church, when I spotted them picking their nose or scratching their bottom, down the pew from me,” he told the paper. “I was trying to express my frustration at these wonderful grown-ups who had yet to make the best of what they had. They have read the criticism, but not seen the enduring love through the lines.”
He paused before adding, “I haven’t done well as a father, have I?”
Emily Crews is reportedly the only child still speaking to her father after receiving the letter.
“It was horrendous receiving that email from my father,” she told London’s Daily Mail. “What he said in his email was quite correct, but I don’t think it was the right kind of support or the kick up the backside he intended it to be. I think he has created a monster out of the worst of us and ignored the best.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN