Happy Birthday to me

What is the measure of a man's success? When you look back over your life and you have built a family like I have ... you have every reason to call yourself successful. This week I was indulged by my family, on occasion of my seventieth birthday.


I thank everybody from the bottom of my heart ... especially my little grandson JJ, who's sung me the most lovely birthday song (learnt at his Steiner school):


It was 70 years ago today

That Opa did come down from heaven to stay

He came to bring goodness and joy to the earth

Good people and angels attended his birth

So let us all join in singing

Birthday bells are ringing

Happy happy birthday 

Happy happy birthday


Among the many best wishes I received, my wife thanked me for …

·      my emotional and physical support

·      giving her permission to be herself

·      being engaged and always willing to discuss issues

·      upholding truthfulness at all times

·      being the best comfort in the world


My daughter Saskia has - over the years - often expressed her love to me in writing (this is a small, very small excerpt from the many cards & letters I hold so dear) … then she followed up with a  wonderful note,  thanks ... Sas.

·      I love you so much, daddy, and every day I am thankful to have such a loving, caring honest and generous father/male figure I so look up to in my life 

·      I know I can chat with you about anything; to have a relationship like that with my father is something I cherish so much and something that I know is far and in-between with families, so I will never take it for granted

·      thank you for being so supportive of me, adoring me and being my best friend in time of need

·      I am writing this on my last day before I jet off to Europe; to say I have truly enjoyed my time staying with you is the understatement of the century. I’ve always known I have a special dad - someone I look up to as a father, but also as a good human being … centered, loving, peaceful, generous, open and always there for his children. Know this, daddy, your faithfulness to your children is not lost on me. I’m very proud to call you my daddy - but most of all grateful

·      I still and will for-ever-more want to be ‘just like you’ and still look up to you in every way


To my sons I issued a wish: On my seventieth birthday will you please let me bear witness to the speech you would hold at my funeral … Yani wrote this poem for me:


His weaknesses made me stronger


his strengths made me wiser.


His wisdom guided


he always provided.


He mentored


he sacrificed


he supported.


As I take the honour of parenthood


he guides me


he cares for my son


he even walks besides me when I am wrong.


He speaks the truth 


he never lies


boy am I lucky


to have seen the world


through my father's eyes …


Happy birthday dad.


Happy 70th birthday to my dad!


My big boy Radjin wrote this speech for me …


Today we celebrate Dad's 70th birthday

What a milestone that is

Having my own son I can only imagine what it must be like having 3 children and 4 grand children

Our father is by far one of the most giving people any of us know

He gave up his life in Germany to come and raise us 38 years ago

He gave up working in his studio to be able to be there when we left for school and got home in the afternoon

And we are all the better for it

Dad has always been selfless

As a child I remember he supported everything we ever wanted to do

The effort he put in to allow us to pursue our hobbies was amazing

Yani, Saskia and me have all developed amazing passion and skill in our chosen areas of expertise and so much of that has come from dad’s support over the years

I’ve often thought to myself how lucky we are to have been raised the way we were

Dad spent so much time and effort in teaching us about integrity, truth, love, wisdom and compassion

I always felt like we were being raised in a way that was teaching us an understanding of life on a different level than our friends

I’m certain of that now

What I was exposed to in the army was a rude awakening as to what happens when you aren’t raised properly. The attitudes of my friends was often appalling and I used to think to myself how lucky I was to have been raised the way I had been


SO many of the lessons dad had spent so much effort in teaching us became clear and relevant

For me to be exposed to that mentality and come out the way that I have, untainted by the hate and fear that the military instills in people is due to my upbringing

We all now have wonderful relationships and gorgeous children

We have our parents to thank for that

I wouldn’t have been able to attract such an amazing partner as Alanna and create such a gorgeous baby as Keanu if it wasn’t for you, dad

In one of the many books I’ve recently read it talks about how up to 90% of our beliefs and attitude comes from our parents

SO thank you, dad

Thank you for everything you’ve done for us

Thank you for your sacrifices

Thank you for your dedication

Thank you for your wisdom

But most of all … Thank you for your love