Great expectations

father's dreamReview by NIGEL TAPP

Film | A father’s dreams | Wyn Moriarty

To commit the story of your life thus far to print – the good and the bad – seems like a massive undertaking.

How will those I know now, who did not know me then, react? Will they view me differently? How will my remaining family react? Would they rather I had remained silent? Will people who meet me now who have read the book judge me differently?

Wyn Moriarty appears to have put those questions aside to write A Father’s Dream.

The book tells the story of a daughter who failed to live up to her father’s expectations.

Presbyterian minister Rev Ian Munro felt his own calling to become a missionary, but this never eventuated. According to the author, he then sought to live his unfulfilled ambition through his eldest child.

Throughout the book, Dr Moriarty examines her difficult relationship with her mother, as well as her personal battle with bipolar disorder.

Even though Dr Moriarty became a popular and successful teacher and gained a PhD in children’s spirituality, for much of her early life she struggled to live out the expectations of her father.

She writes about experiencing her first call from God to become a missionary when, aged 15, she heard a voice say to her: “Wyn, when you grow up will you go to China for me?”

“I took the voice to be God calling me to become a missionary. From that time I set my path to follow that goal,” she writes.

“In later years I realised the voice sounded just like my father.”

Dr Moriarty discusses becoming a nurse even though she wanted to be a doctor – “They (her parents) did not want to spend scarce financial resources on university for a girl, when they might need it later for my brother’’ – and her subsequent challenges in a default career option, while dealing with an undiagnosed mental illness.

She admits she found nursing stressful and difficult.

“I was a dreamer, and temperamentally unsuited to nursing,” she admits.

Dr Moriarty confesses some of her strange behaviour during the intervening years was attributable to her bipolar, which was not diagnosed until her 40s, with depression becoming a recurring theme in her life virtually until retirement.

After studying at the Sydney Missionary and Bible College, known as Croydon, she applied and was rejected by the Overseas Missionary Fellowship.

“My father was very angry… I can still hear his voice ringing in my ears “Find out what is wrong and fix it”.

“My reply was simple. ‘No, I believe their assessment is right.’

“I was puzzled over my father’s reaction to the rejection but in later years reflected it was caused by his deep love for God and desire to have another opportunity to fulfil his desire to be a missionary.”

By the end, one gets the feeling Dr Moriarty is, at least, content with how her life has worked out even if – as it appears – she never heard the words ‘We are proud of you’ from her parents.

She finishes with imagining her father’s thoughts on her life.

“I no longer have an earth-bound vision, I do not begrudge my oldest daughter her scholarly success. In fact, I am proud of it.”

And as for Dr Moriarty?

In the words of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, which Dr Moriarty invokes: “I too have severed the ties with the Ground Control of your dreams for me, and Planet Earth is blue.”

Available at

R.R.P. $20.00

Share Button



Comments are closed.