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Evelin Ilves on Father’s Day in the Estonia Concert Hall 14th November 2010


Honourable fathers and grandfathers!
Dear audience both here, in the Estonia Concert Hall, and in homes throughout Estonia.


None of us would be here without fathers. Therefore, just recognition puts fathers on an equal footing with mothers, as together they give us live.

But this also provides the basis for an equal distribution of responsibility between a mother and a father for the welfare of their families. And, moving on, the duty of all of us – both as individuals and as a society – is also to recognise and support fathers.

We could talk for hours and hours about how Estonian men need healthier food, more exercise, and less alcohol. This goes without saying. So this time I decided to address children instead. Because, to use economic and public relations terminology, they form the target group of fatherhood. As a consequence, children know the best characteristics and behavioural patterns for the best father in the world. So I will give you some personal thoughts on this that were written down by first class boys and girls from our schools:

Here we go. The recipe for a perfect father:

The best dad in the world gets up in the morning, but sometimes he keeps slumbering and even stays in bed longer than me. Sometimes he can’t get up at all. Occasionally, he snores really loudly. Then he comes to wake my up with a big hug, cooks some porridge, eats, and reads a paper. The ideal dad talks to mam and does some morning exercises.

The ideal dad works with a computer in his office; he runs a car, choir, tractor, and the state. He is tired – yet happy – at work. I’m happy when he doesn’t leave for work at all.

Dad comes home after work, attends some training, is in good mood, wants to sleep, eat, and go to a café. But he has to go shopping. Dad also drags shopping bags into the house from his car, goes to the computer, and works some more. In general – a dad does what’s needed.

Every night, the best dad stays at home, does some more work, eats, plays chess with me, and basically stays at the computer, computer, and computer. Sometimes he puts me to bed. Or falls asleep himself, while watching TV.

The best dad loves his wife and is eating and sleeping the most. He also plays a guitar – and is to be left alone. He loves his family, the cat and mam; actually – all of us. Some of the most wonderful dads love to chew their fingernails and get presents. They also like being at home, being cool, and just being around.

A good dad will not only play with me the odd time; occasionally he goes to the opera, movies, out, and shopping. He also works and cooks only occasionally and scolds me only rarely, very rarely. He sometimes gets into thoughts so deep he doesn’t hear anything. And he also hits me very rarely.

When dad is in a good mood, he plays, sleeps, hugs us all, walks around, makes pancakes, is rather sly, becomes happy, laughs, laughs, laughs … And starts crying with too much laughter. In general – fathers are happy, when they feel good.

Fathers do and don’t like cleaning up. Most likely they don’t like it. To be completely honest – THEY TOTALLY HATE IT.

As you see, the recipe for being a good father is rather long and substantial. In fact, children do not expect anything really complicated. Fathers are allowed to work quite a lot. And if there’s no work, fathers are not diminished in the eyes of their children – sometimes, it makes them better instead. We all have our moments of weakness and children can understand this quite well. One is even allowed to be lazy and snore. It is permitted to be tired, and crying is allowed. It’s okay to laugh, until tears run down your face. The only thing children really expect is for their father to come home and give them a hug. Even if they come late – they are still expected to give a hug.

I really do hope that the number of children who can’t wait for Father’s Day to be over – as they can’t remember their dads – will decrease one day. And I’m extremely grateful to those fathers and grandfathers, who have taken over the rearing of children due to the loss of a parent or abandonment for their big and warm hearts.

A father who has left can always return. A father who has done something bad can always say he’s sorry. To those who feel they want to turn back the clock and become good fathers I say, please read the recipe for an ideal father carefully. This is not that difficult! And let all of us children who have grown up always remain children for our parents. With this then, it is also our duty to offer our father support and understanding, and sometimes even forgiveness.

All fathers live on in their children. It is a huge privilege, but also a duty and mutual commitment. It is the greatest pleasure in the world and, quite simply, one of the miracles of life!

Dear good fathers, I wish all of you strength and happiness!