Adrian Barich: sit down with your father and ask him these questions before it’s too late

Opinion

That’s it, I’ve peaked. As Will Smith once said, “I just can’t imagine what else I could do beyond this. It’s really a bittersweet kind of feeling”.

Surely there can be no higher honour as a writer than to have your column posted on someone’s fridge.

For many people, their fridge door represents all the love in their heart. It’s the place for the things and people that are most important to you. Lasting memories and reminders.

And remarkably, amongst one lady’s most beloved photos was my scribblings, attached with a magnet that said “never give up”, which had a cartoon of a frog who’s being eaten by a stork while he’s strangling the bird.

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The lady’s husband told me all about the display in their kitchen at a function this week and I was incredibly impressed.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought my words would survive beyond the coffee table, but his wife had been interested enough in an article I wrote about things to do before you die to cut it out and stick it up where she could see it.

At least, I think it was that column — the fella wasn’t quite sure, which led me to believe he might not be as enamoured with my musings as his wife. But que sera, sera. You can’t be all things to all people, can you?

And so, emboldened by one of my Being Barra columns living beyond a week, I decided I should now pontificate about a subject dear to my heart. I think the timing is right, with Father’s Day a few months away, and if I pass on this information now, you’ll have time to prepare for the task.

And here it is: questions to ask your dad before it’s too late. It’s not the lightest of subjects but surely a timely reminder to engage in meaningful conversations with your father.

Each question is designed to help bridge the gaps in families, deepen connections and create lasting memories. A great way to further cherish and understand the person who can be possibly the least emotionally forthcoming of our loved ones.

So let’s begin. Start with, what are you most proud of in your life? (A soft opening always works well).

When were you super proud of me? (After all, you want something out of this too).

What’s the best thing I’ve ever done for you? (Ditto).

What’s one thing you would like me to always remember about you?

Is there anything you regret about your life?

Who was the most influential person in your life? (This is really a tricky way to understand the principles that are most important to your dad).

What did you admire most about your own father? (Which can, of course, lead to you telling your dad what you admire about him).

How would your father describe you? (Which can lead to you asking, “how would you describe me, Dad?”).

Then tell your dad about a mistake you have made which taught you a good lesson. This, of course, leads into, what mistake taught you most about life?

What do you enjoy most about being a father? This should now turn things joyous, before you ask what his hardest moment as a father (this is my personal favourite, due to its capacity for learning).

And then the big finish: what’s one story I don’t know about you? (Be prepared for some potentially wild responses here).

I’m sorry to finish on a sad note but thanks to everyone who took time to respond about last week’s article about that beast of a illness, motor neurone disease. It is with great sadness that I write that my friend Damian, who I mentioned in that column, passed away last week.

I want to say, rest in peace my friend; you were one of the Perth Football Club’s greatest supporters. You fought the good fight, you’ve finished the race now. You kept the faith.

As the American doctor and author Edward Stieglitz one said, the important thing to you is not how many years in your life, but how much life in your years.

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