As business people, my parents have certainly taught me the value of commitment. Growing up in a household that also acts as the hub for a family business, I’ve learnt that sometimes work just has to be the top priority. This was a hard lesson to learn when growing up, as I didn’t get the time I wanted with my parents. Yet now as a university student, I feel that I’ve gained life skills that some of my classmates have not. I’ve learnt over the years that sometimes film night will just have to wait because my mum has to finish the VAT return, or that I won’t hear from my dad for a few days because he’s working long hours and he’ll be in bed when I get home. It was a harsh lesson to learn when growing up, but I’m glad I’ve learnt that commitment to work can yield many benefits.
My parents also taught me the benefits of taking a step back. It’s true that over the years my parents have had their ups and downs like any married couple. But when things got really bad they showed me the value of taking time out to sit down, take a step back and just look at things from a different perspective. I think it’s one of the reasons they are still together and still so in love today.
The hardest lesson my parents taught me had to do with sacrifice. It was a lesson I didn’t fully understand when growing up, and it certainly caused a lot of tears and upset, but at the age I am now I’ve learnt that sacrifices have to be made if you want to reach your goals and grow as a person. My parents have taught me that to develop as a person, you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. While you may hate them for this at the time, sometimes you have to force yourself out of your little bubble that you may be trapped in and mature as a person.
Having a small role in the family business answering the phone and dealing with customers now allows me to speak to my peers at university with more confidence. As an anxious person the role of having to take messages and speak to customers has meant I can now handle issues and problematic social situations in a more professional and understanding manner. The strong set of social skills I’ve developed have also meant that I feel more confident presenting my ideas to groups at university, resolving problems and just getting on with my friends and family in daily life.
Balancing work, family life and social time is another important lesson my parents have taught me. I’ve come to realise that if even one of these things is out of balance, life just doesn’t run as smooth. Making the right amount of time to get your work done — yet still making time for your family and friends — is one of the most important lessons my parents have taught me. Too much work can lead to undue stress and seclusion and yet too much time spent with friends and family can lead to a feeling of lethargy and a perhaps a sense of guilt for not meeting obligations.
While my parents know that work sometimes has to come first, my mom has taught me the benefit of taking time out from work and making time for your family — even if it is just to sit around a table and share a meal. You can share your news, vent some of your problems and just catch up with your family members. Sometimes it can actually be good to hear your family member’s problems and learn from their own mistakes. It’s surprising how relatable your parents can be sometimes. Perhaps that’s a lesson they’ve taught me… to listen to your parents!