When I was nine or so, I buried my Barbies in the mud of the backyard, then told my Dad that I had no idea where they’d gone. There, I’ve said it.
We all have something we’ve never told our dads.
It’s normal. By their very nature, dads can be difficult to confide in. Family issues often default to mothers, siblings, or close friends.
What if you were given a chance to express what you’d never told your father?
We wanted to creatively explore the relationship we all have with our dads, so The Book of Everyone began the What I Never Told My Dad project. We traveled to London and Glasgow, armed with thousands of blank postcards (postage paid). We connected with folks of all sorts, everywhere we could find ’em. We explained the project and invited everyone to take part: take this postcard away with you, write down what you never told your dad, and pop their words into the post.
The response we received was overwhelming. Postcard after postcard made its way to our mailbox, filled with honest confessions, hidden stories, and heartfelt thank-yous.
(see more cards in the second slideshow at the bottom!)
There are so many reasons why certain words are never spoken. Maybe our relationships with our fathers are rocky. Maybe we haven’t gathered up the courage. Maybe some words are better left unsaid. Or maybe we just never get the chance.
The range of stories was immense. They made us giggle like adolescents, wipe away stray tears, and reflect profoundly upon our own relationship with our own fathers.
We scanned every single card onto the What I Never Told My Dad website, adding a submission box where online visitors could send their words to us too. People poured into the site to take a peek into miniature windows of what other people had never told their dads.
We’re all sons and daughters, but plenty members of the TBOE team are also dads themselves. Steve Hanson, one of the three TBOE founders, took the opportunity to consider the other side of the anonymous collection:
What the site doesn’t explore is how important it is to listen, and to see things from someone else’s perspective. I wonder how dads feel when they see this site, or if the dad would sit down with their child and look through it. I know for me that as my son becomes a teenager, finding ways to chat to him presents itself more and more as a holy grail. It’s right for him to have some things that he keeps from me, but if you are reading this Saul, here is a little something that I’ve never told you. I’m really frightened by the idea of us, someday, not having something to say to each other that could make the other’s heart sing.
So… what have you never told your dad? We’ve gotten over 600 physical cards so far, and countless submitted online. If you’d like to participate, either send us a note through the website, or send us a postcard to C/ Pamplona 88, Barcelona 08018. Include an email address if you’d like to be notified when we add your words to the collection.