"Today is my son William's 34th birthday, which is happily being spent on his holiday across in England with me and Sheila instead of Australia where he has lived for a number of years. A very happy birthday, Will, from a dad who loves you very much and is extremely proud of you. That's William hanging out of the window of the Play House I built for him and his sister Rebecca in the playroom of their family home. His mother couldn't bear to have his head of curly hair shorne before his third birthday.
I also wish my brother Peter (who shares the same day of birth) a very happy birthday. May your special day be filled with much happiness, peace, love and generosity.
The one thing I like about all my children is their differences in mannerisms, along with their similarities in possessing all the values in life that truly matter. I wouldn't say that any one of them is perfect as I consider each still to be a work in progress.
I'm not one usually for giving my children who are now grown into adults advice, as I genuinely believe that we only accept the advice of another when it puts into words the secret oracles of our own soul. Also, I believe deep down, that the children of all parents, deep down believe that they know better than mum or dad!
At the risk of appearing more knowledgeable than you, William, I do believe that age carries with it, not wisdom, but a good idea of where many of life's land mines have been planted and some of the paths it is safer not to walk.
Don't ever let anyone tell you that there is something you cannot do; not even me! If you have a dream, hold it forever close to your heart, nourish it, treasure it and above all, follow it! In your pursuit of happiness, allow faith to take you wherever it will; to those places that many dream of, but fear to go.
Always remember not to worship at the altar of materialism or false Gods. A man who is not governed by the material things in life cannot be bought. He will remain true to his purpose and not lose direction, even during the harshest of storms, An important lesson I learned in my early twenties was that we all possess enough to be able to share. I also learned that the world is your oyster, but it's up to you to open it wide and find the pearl that lies at the heart of every man and woman. That pearl is love and forgiveness.
One of the first children's books I ever had published was 'Douglas the Dragon', in which I tried to illustrate 'The Power of Love'. There lives within the heart of every man and woman two dragons; a dragon of anger and a dragon of love, with each one trying to gain control over the thoughts, feelings and actions of mankind. The dragon who occupies the castle of your heart will control every aspect of your behaviour. The human heart is unable to accommodate both dragons at the same time and must, therefore, decide which dragon to house within. Those of us who find the 'Dragon of Anger' living within us can only evict him by putting into our heart the 'Dragon of Love'. Once Love enters our heart, Anger, being incompatible, instantly leaves it!
I met you, William, for the first time, on the day you were born 34 years ago, and I've loved you every day of your life since but is only in more recent years that I feel I've grown to understand you. I can finally say that I like the man you have become. However, son, all the liking and love I have for you will not matter one jot unless you always like yourself in equal measure. Or as my own mother would tell me, 'Billy Forde, like father, like son!' Have a very happy birthday, William. I love you. Dad xxx"William Forde: August 11th, 2017.