What Will Your Children Say About You?

As fathers, we will leave a legacy for our children, whether good or ill. Start working on your legacy today, that your children may have a brighter tomorrow.

I can remember, as if it were yesterday, the last day I spent with my Dad. We had an enjoyable day together meeting with business leaders in the Sydney CBD. Three days later, the police knocked on my door to notify me of my father’s passing.

I was shocked at my own expression of grief and how long I took to get over his death. I wrote about it in an article titled, “You Are Never Ready to Lose Your Father.”

My dad was 74 years of age when he passed, which was the average age of death for a man in 1984, so arguably a good innings, but still a shock. It is 38 years down the track, and I still miss my Dad.

My Dad was a massive inspiration to me. Thankfully, I have been able to pass some of that inspiration on to my own children.

As Shannon Alder wisely said,

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”

My daughter-in-law lost her Dad in March 2019. She misses her Dad so much. He was a salt-of-the-earth man with some colourful language to boot. He was a brickie, so he always got straight to the point.

As a fellow tradesman, I wrote a tribute piece to his passing titled, “A Man Called Mick.” At his funeral, this is what my daughter-in-law said about her Dad.

“Even though we were loved, Dad always made it really clear to us that Mum was his favourite, he called her his sweetheart. They were like two peas in a pod.

  • Cuppa every afternoon (beer in summer). Mum put it in the freezer 30min before Dad got home. If we came out the front, we were told to go away. It was their time to chat and catch up.
  • Every Valentine’s Day, Dad would pick Mum a rose from the garden and make her a cup of tea and put it next to her bed before leaving for work.
  • He always said that the best thing about his day was seeing Mum when he got home.
  • Mum would tuck Dad into bed every single night. Even when they weren’t on speaking terms, Dad would still let Mum know he was going to bed, and she would tuck him in.

The truth is, Mum and Dad really loved each other, for better or worse.

The four of us (my brother & two sisters) got together this week to talk about what we wanted to share about Dad. We had so many stories, so many funny times and great memories, but more than anything it was some of Dad’s simple character traits that we really loved and will miss the most.

Dad had a strong presence that always made you feel safe.

He was full of integrity, and taught us about responsibility, honesty and a good work ethic.

We all knew that honesty and telling the truth was important. You could get away with a lot of things in the Robbins household, but if you got caught lying… *whistle*… LOOK OUT

Dad always made sure we were ok... We had great Dad. And we know we did…

We have put together some photos of Dad’s great life, so get your tissues out.”

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I came across a great article by Nick Saban called “The Story of My Dad.” Nick’s story reminded me of how we miss our own dads. I will let you be the judge.

Not a day goes by that I don’t miss and think about my Dad. His passing at forty-six years of age seemed unreal and was devastating to our family; yet he is always with me in spirit, in my heart, and in my mind.  

We had a unique relationship because he was my Dad, my boss, and my coach. I loved him very much and want everyone to know that I wouldn’t be the person I am nor have had the success I’ve enjoyed without the experience of Dad in my life; he was my champion! 

He set a standard of excellence and provided a set of values and direction for my life that I still follow today.


The last conversation I had before Dad died of a sudden heart attack was just after the start of my first season as a GA in 1973. I told him I wanted to be a coach like him and he gave advice, as always, “I’m happy you want to be a coach, however, the expectation, no matter what you choose to do, must always be to do your best and to be the best.”

I promised him I would always try… that was the last time we spoke. I am so thankful I had my father as an example of uncompromising values, standards to live by and, especially, his love for me and compassion for others…

Dad’s headstone recalls his legacy, “No man stands as tall as when he stoops to help a child.”


As fathers, we all leave a legacy.

What will your children say about you? That’s why I write to you every week. Give it your best shot before it is too late!

Yours for Leaving a Legacy,
Warwick Marsh

PS: If you want to build a greater legacy for the ones you love, please join us at the Men’s Leadership Summit, Tops Conference Centre, on the weekend of 26-28 August 2022.

Bookings close midnight this coming Friday 12 August 2022.

See video promo here, or watch below.

Download Summit flyer here.

Register here.

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First published at Dads4Kids. Photo by Alena Darmel.

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‘Top Gun – Maverick’ is Action-Based “Dad Cinema” At Its Very Best

The moving story in “Top Gun: Maverick” of a fatherless son’s journey toward healing is proving popular with audiences worldwide. This is a film highlighting the importance of fatherhood, portraying a tale of reconciliation and redemption.

Top Gun: Maverick is smashing box offices, and it’s easy to understand why.

The film is spectacularly outpacing its weak-because-they’re-woke counterparts, because the film’s unapologetic dad themes resonate.

Alongside the gutsy F-18 camera shots, audiences are in love with the Tom Cruise/Joseph Kosinski sequel because its father-son backstory hits home.

Even the, “it’s all flag-waving, MAGA propagandist tripe” critics are applauding the sequel for keeping to the consistency of the first film’s deep relational backbone.

As The Atlantic’s David Sims explained, the film’s ‘emotional weight rests on Pete Mitchell (Maverick) fighting to earn the respect of Goose’s son (Rooster), who blames Maverick for the tragic loss of his father.’

Childhood Memory

For me, Top Gun: Maverick cut deeper.

My family and I recently saw the film for a birthday bash. The only thing missing was my dad.

Watching the first Top Gun at the cinema with my dad was to be one of the only long-lasting positive memories I would have of him.

It was 1986, I was 9, and we’d turned up late to the cinema.

Missing the iconic afterburner intro of the first Top Gun, dad and I slid into our seats in rhythm with Tony Scott’s smooth golden orange sunset, shot high above a lone F-14 landing on the silhouette of the USS Enterprise.

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It became a shared interest, a mutual pursuit, a common bond solely shared between father and son.

From the soundtrack, which always seemed to be on repeat in our broken-down housing commission home, to the old-school Amstrad computer game, the movie connected us.

This was true, right up until my dad’s final week, when, knowing he would never get a chance to wear it, I gifted him a T-shirt with the Top Gun logo on it.

Now covered in dust, I still hold onto the volumes of Warplane magazines he’d chosen to buy me, instead of paying “through the teeth” for participation in a weekend sport.


I related to the second film because of the first.

Similar to ‘Goose’s’ son in the film, I was confronted by what was lost, what might have been, and what my dad chose to abandon somewhere along the way.

The sequel made the memories all the more material when Val Kilmer (Iceman), tells Maverick — still haunted by the death of ‘Goose’ — “It’s time to let go.”

Seeing the first film at the cinema in 1986 with my dad was an oasis event, an anomaly of normalcy in a wasteland of ash.

This explains why, in almost every scene of Top Gun: Maverick, I heard, and felt my dad’s absence, and choked up at Hans Zimmer’s rendition of Faltermeyer’s iconic Top Gun anthem.

We’re taught in The Good Book to raise up thanksgiving in the face of suffering. Even the smallest object or event that is worthy of our gratitude puts points on the board when it comes to healing trauma.

In retrospect, watching Top Gun with my dad in ’86 was the first, and only time he offered me a healthy introduction to manhood.

His wasn’t perfect, but that was a perfect day. That day my dad did good, and for that I thank him.

For me, the only thing missing from Top Gun: Maverick was the man who took me to see the first one, sitting, at his best, beside me and my uber-impressed family.

Top Gun was, and is, about loss, grief, and recovery; fatherhood, and fatherlessness — as much as it is about courage, defiance, and the determination to overcome obstructions encountered along the way.

The sequel builds on its original father-son backstory. It is “dad cinema” at its very best.

To lean on Miles Surrey’s review in The Ringer,

‘Every single dad — past, present, and those who are expecting to be dads in the near future — should check out Maverick, if not for the sanctity of ensuring Dad Cinema doesn’t fade away, then for experiencing a blockbuster that surpasses its predecessor in every respect.’


First published at Dads4Kids.

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No Regrets

Seize the moment and spend time with the people you love and doing the things which you actually want to do. We are not guaranteed tomorrow — let us make the best use of today.

We need to live now, not in the past, or in the future. Jonathan Larson was wise to say,

“Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.”

Steve Maraboli put it this way,

“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.”

Yes, I do have regrets, but I try to keep them to a minimum for all the above reasons. Yes, I have made mistakes, but I am trying to constantly recalibrate myself away from the negative and towards the positive.

Perhaps my single biggest danger is I work too hard and too long. It is because I am committed to a cause. But commitment can destroy you and your relationships if you are not careful.

This week I had some losses, but I also had a win. I had a 1.5-hour breakfast with one of my sons for no other reason than I really love to be with him. It was wonderful. I have not done it for a long, long time (to my shame), but I am going to do such things more from now on. I cannot change the past, but I can change the future. So can you!

The video below is titled “70 People Ages 5-75 Answer: What’s Your Biggest Regret?” — it has inspired my thoughts for you this week — “No Regrets”. I hope it inspires you.

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Well-known author Colin Falconer has written a great article called “11 Ways to Live a Life with No Regrets.” Read the first four below and the full article here.

We all hope to live a life with no regrets — but how many of us do?

Ask yourself this question:

If it were all about to end for you tomorrow — if that meteor out there in space is headed right for us, if that drunk doesn’t stop for the red light — would you have regrets at the way it all turned out?

Many of us have known regret. Some regrets are unavoidable, but sometimes they can take over our lives. As Mick Jagger said:

The past is a great place, and I don’t want to erase it or to regret it, but I don’t want to be its prisoner either.

And what about the regrets we are in the process of creating today?

Let’s look at 11 things we can do right now so that when we write the final chapter on our own personal story, we can make it a happy ending.

1. First, Celebrate Your Failures

It’s really okay to screw up.

Have you ever watched a hurdler in the Olympics? Have you counted how many hurdles the winner knocks over in that 110 metres? About half of them! They don’t even break stride. Because it’s not about running the perfect race and not knocking over any hurdles, it’s about getting across the line.

It’s the same in football: the only guy who ever makes a mistake is the one involved in the play. So don’t ever regret failing — at least you were giving it a shot.

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games.
26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.
I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that’s why I succeed.

~ Michael Jordan

2. Claim Your Life

You’re the one bearing the consequences of your life — but are you the one living it?

Do you make your decisions based on your dreams and aspirations — or because it’s what your mother wants, what your father expects, what your husband needs?

Are you always afraid of what others might say about you if you live life your way?

One day life will be gone — imagine how you’ll feel if you get to the end of it and never made any of the important decisions in it. This is something you can change today.

One’s real life is often the life that one does not lead.
~ Oscar Wilde

3. Say Yes or No Today to Your Dreams

Do you have a dream? Are you actively pursuing it — or have you left it for ‘one day’?

One Day is the one day that never comes.

So if you want never to have regrets then make the decision here, now, even before you finish reading this post: either say goodbye to your dream or start pursuing it today. That way you will have consciously made the decision to follow it or abandon it. So go for it — or forever be comforted by your reasons not to, then let go.

Then there will be no regrets.

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time;
it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
~ Sydney J. Harris

4. Don’t Let Your Kids Grow Up Without You

We need to spend time at work if we’re going to succeed.

But we also have to remember what we’re doing it for. Kids are not kids for very long — and if you miss them growing up, you won’t ever get a second chance.

Your children love you, they want to play with you. How long do you think that lasts? Soon Jack may not even want you to come to his games.

We have a few special years with our children, when they’re the ones that want us around. After that you’re going to be running after them for a bit of attention. It’s so fast, Peter. It’s a few years, and it’s over. And you are not being careful. And you are missing it.

~ Moira Panning, in “Hook”

Read the full article here.


For this week, the lovework comes from Colin Falconer, the writer of the above article.

It is a wonderful challenge. Colin said,

“The greatest regret you can have is having someone leave your life forever and you haven’t told them how you really feel.

‘I love you.’

‘Thank you.’

‘I’m sorry.’ 

Is there someone you would like to say those words to?  

Do it now — you can never possibly know if this is not the last chance you’ll ever have to do it.”

Yours for No Regrets,
Warwick Marsh


First published at Dads4Kids. Photo by Arina Krasnikova.

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We Can Be Heroes

The Christian faith called us to be heroes, to lay down our lives for the sake of the Gospel and bring others into the Kingdom of God.

When I returned from walking our dogs the other day, my ailing wife said, “You’re a hero”. Little things done in love for others can often be regarded as heroic. The fact that we are in our 41st year of marriage might be considered heroic, especially in an age where many do not marry, and if they do, it does not last long.

I recently saw this headline: “Freedom Convoy leader Tamara Lich given hero’s welcome upon release from jail.” Yes, I think she is indeed a hero, as were so many of the truckers who stood against Trudeau’s ugly statism. Heroes can come in all shapes and sizes.

Yet sadly for many young people today, they are growing up in a world — at least in the West — that seems to be devoid of heroes. The ones often elevated are more like anti-heroes. Think of 20 years of the television program Keeping Up with the Kardashians. A bunch of filthy rich and narcissistic celebs are hardly the stuff of hero worship.


So we all need to have real-deal heroes in our life. And I have written on this topic before. See for example this piece from 15 years ago, or this more recent piece.

Here I want to look at a few more aspects of heroism, and draw upon a few books I have recently been perusing. One theme I have already hinted at above: ordinary people can be heroes. Let me offer one story. Now that my wife is dealing with cancer, I recall something that happened maybe 20 or 25 years ago.

A woman my wife knew had recently discovered she had cancer. She also had five small children, and her husband had just walked out on her. Imagine that: struggling with cancer and seeking to raise your children all on your own. So other folks came along and tried to help out. For a while there, I would take one or two of her girls to basketball practice. It was the least I could do, but it may have seemed to be a heroic effort for this poor mother.

The Greatest Hero

In his recent book How To Destroy Western Civilization, Peter Kreeft has a chapter on heroes. He says this in part:How to Destroy Western Civilization book

We can be heroes. In fact, we must. The whole point of the greatest book of the twentieth century, according to its author, is to show the mutual dependence of little heroes and big heroes, of hobbits and warriors…

Middle Earth was saved by hobbits. The greatest hero in history was not a warrior or a wizard or an elf … He was like a little hobbit. He was a poor, obscure carpenter-rabbi who was born in a stable, never wrote a book, never traveled from His tiny country, and never entered politics. He was crucified as a criminal.

He was, by all worldly standards, a spectacular failure, like one of Gandalf’s firecrackers, that gave itself up, burned brightly for a moment, and then was no more. And yet He is so real and so alive that He split history in half forever, like a coconut, into B.C. and A.D., and inserted eternity into the crack.

Part of a Whole

A Company of Heroes bookAnother theme of heroism is how we need to see ourselves as part of a much bigger story. A few years ago, Tim Keesee penned a book called A Company of Heroes. In it, he discusses around 20 champions of the Gospel — some well-known and others not so well-known.

In his introduction, he mentions how he went to Albania a while ago, not long after Communism collapsed there in 1990. Having been under 50 years of godless Communist dictatorship, it had no churches then. But after a decade or two of evangelism, most cities did have congregations of believers.

He was asked to teach a short course on church history to some of these first-generation Christians. He spoke about ordinary men and women like Paul and Polycarp and Perpetua. He taught them about Luther and Hudson Taylor and Tyndale and Carey. He then writes:

When this reality took hold, light shown in their eyes and joy filled their faces! They had been told by family and friends that they were deceived and were part of a small cult of fellow fools who had drunk the same Kool-Aid. But now they saw that the church wasn’t just the forty or fifty people gathered in an apartment sitting on fold-up chairs.

Instead, they were inseparably part of something worldwide and wonderful. They were connected to the saving work that Jesus Himself started across the centuries and across the world as he gathered — and is gathering — his own from every nation and generation! Meeting this “company of heroes” from church history put iron in their souls and gave them greater perspective to endure the persecution and ridicule they faced.

Battlefields Are Not Beautiful

Another theme about heroes is that there are not always wins and victories, and setbacks can and will occur. In this same book, there is a chapter on Amy Carmichael and her incredible work in India.

Keesee tells of how a missionary society in England in the 1890s asked her to write a book about her ministry. She did, and sent it through to them. But they rejected her manuscript. It was not positive enough and uplifting enough. Thankfully friends later saw to it that it was published, and in 1903 it appeared as Things As They Are. Writes Keesee:

In her plea for more workers, Amy Carmichael presented not alluring stories but ‘the truth — the uninteresting, unromantic truth.’ Her book was not one of despair — far from it. It was a clear-eyed view of the situation on the ground matched with confidence in the cross-centered power of the Gospel.” He quotes from her book:

More has been written about the successes than about the failures, and it seems to us that it is more important that you should know about the reverses than about the successes of the war. We shall have all eternity to celebrate the victories, but we have only the few hours before sunset in which to win them.

We are not winning them as we should, because the fact of the reverses is so little realized, and the needed reinforcements are not forthcoming, as they would be if the position were thoroughly understood. Reinforcements of men and women are needed, but, far above all, reinforcements of prayer.

And so we have tried to tell you the truth — the uninteresting, unromantic truth — the work as it is. More workers are needed. No words can tell how much they are needed, how much they are wanted here. But we will never try to allure anyone to think of coming by painting coloured pictures, when the facts are in black and white. What if black and white will never attract like colours? We care not for it; our business is to tell the truth. The work is not a pretty thing, to be looked at and admired. It is a fight. And battlefields are not beautiful.

One last theme about heroes is to emphasise the one, true hero. Keesee also says this in his introduction:

I’m always amazed at God’s choices in the book of Hebrews to illustrate enduring faith. The company of heroes in chapter 11 is an uneven and unlikely lot that ranges from Abraham the patriarch to Rahab the prostitute.

That’s because the chapter is not a gallery for displaying human greatness, but rather one that magnifies God’s grace. It’s as if everyone in Hebrews 11 is pointing down the line to the next chapter to the real hero of the story, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2).

We can all be heroes. But we do this by keeping our eyes and hearts and minds focused on the world’s greatest hero.


Originally published at CultureWatch. Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels.

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