I grew up in a guest house, and this meant that I had to help my family by doing different jobs. However, it wasn’t uncommon for me to stop doing a job and then to go to my room or somewhere else.
This was partly due to me not being given much time to do what I wanted and partly due to me having a short attention span. As a result of this, my father or mother would usually come and tell me off.
Kept In Line
It would then only be a matter of time before I would be back to finish what I had started. A lot of the time I was working outside, and this was something that was far more appealing than working inside.
One of the things my father used to say was that if I didn’t know how to do something, I should ask him. And if I did this, he wouldn’t make out that I was stupid or unless; he would take his time to show me how to do something in a kind and gentle manner.
Along with this side, there was another side that that was fiery, a side that I didn’t want to see. My father had a very practical side; he was an expert when it came to building or creating things, both inside and outside
He also had another side, a side that meant he had a very fast brain; he was like a walking calculator, for one thing. There was then what he taught me directly and what he taught me indirectly.
On a number of occasions, my father said “who don’t you just finish a job!?” And at the time, this was something that would go right over my head – I just wanted to be free.
But as time passed, I came to see that in order me to be free, I needed to be disciplined. For example, it was only through my family and I working that we were able to have the freedom to go on holiday; whereas if we hadn’t worked hard, we wouldn’t have had the money to do so.
A Different Reality
If a friend from school had been over to our house, they would often say that they would love to live there or that I was ‘lucky’. This was primarily because they saw the fruits of our labor, so to speak, and not what we all had to do to live in that way.
My parents would work practically every hour under the sun, and my sister and I would also play our part. The people who had the outlook above would often go home and sit on the sofa or go out playing games, this wasn’t something I was familiar with.
A Blessing in Disguise
I came to see that certain compromises had to be made and how important it was to work hard. As the years have gone by, what my father said to me on those occasions has come to my mind on a number of occasions, and it inspires me to this day.
Instead of being focused on the short-term and what I could get out of something straight away, I came to look at the big picture and to focus on what might happen in the long-term. Ultimately, I was brought up to delay gratification and to put my need for instant gratification to one side.