What Father’s Day Means To Me

Mum_n_DadToday is Father's Day, so a sentimental post from me.  I hope all families will be spending time together, and not on the computer!

Both my parents are very special and wonderful people, but I think often there is that slightly closer bond between a Dad and his daughter.

My work ethic, and enjoyment of work, is down to both my parents. Dad in particular.

I was brought up in the family business and hard work was just the way life was. We had a post-office, newsagency, confectionery and fancy-goods shop on the sea-front of a Northern sea-side town called Bridlington. It was quiet during the winter months, but in the summer it was all hands to the deck.

The Daily Routine of Our Business

By “quiet” I mean that my Dad's working day was “only” 6am (when he took in the newspapers for delivery) to 6pm (when he closed after the “home from work” trade).

Things hotted up in the summer months when the town was teaming with visitors. Our shop was right opposite the Spa Theatre and Ballroom, so their customers needed somewhere to buy their sweets on the way in, and their ciggies on the way out. And we were more than willing to provide that service. So the working day extended from 6am until 10pm.

Sometimes longer if we were trying to out-do the competitor down the road. He stood no chance against my Dad and me. We were a formidable team and wouldn't give in, sometimes slogging it out until 10:30pm just because we wouldn't close before him. Once the shop closed we would take the dog for a walk, chat over the events of the day and paddle in the sea to bathe our aching feet.

Career Progression in Our Business

By the age of about five I was old enough “join the family business” and my job was counting pennies and putting them into piles of 12 (in those days) ready for banking.

As soon as I was old enough to see over the counter, I was taught how to “serve” the customers. A word that seems to have dropped out of modern retail ethic. Sometimes my Dad would interrupt his breakfast to deliver a 3p newspaper that had been lost in transit.

Soon I progressed to being in charge of my own department – stock control and ordering for the ice-cream fridge and the candy-floss machine. The former was a great success, the latter a failure – the spun sugar flew all over the shop and it had to go 🙁

The height of pride (for me and my parents) was when I was able to “balance” the post-office at the end of each week. This meant accounting to the penny – and I do mean to the penny – for all the transactions through the week. I forget the sums involved but that was a busy post-office with pensioners and Mums queuing to the door to collect their weekly allowances. “Balancing” was the job of the sub-postmaster or the most senior assistant. But by the age of 12 I was trusted to do it unsupervised.

Sounds a Bit Grim?

If this sounds like a boring and “slavery-like” existence for a child and teenager, there's nothing further from the truth. I remember those days as the happiest of my life. It was fun learning about competition, hard graft and team work.

The rewards were good – in those days my parents were earning more than the Prime Minister and in the winter we lived a high old life, with the best cars in the street. I learned to drive in a Jaguar, which perhaps wasn't one of my Dad's better decisions, but we had a laugh as it had to be hauled out of a ditch and he said “For goodness sake don't tell your Mum”. (In case you wonder where Mum was in all this Father-Daughter team-work, she was busy bringing up my younger sister.)

My Parents' Sacrifice

When I left school it would have been so easy for my parents to welcome me into the shop as a ready-trained full-time manager and put their feet up. Which is what I begged them to do.

But they were far-sighted enough to notice the first supermarkets starting to stock newspapers, cigarettes and all their staple goods. They realized that the day of the small retailer was over, and insisted I got a career of my own.

Was It All Worth It?

The work ethic and ambition I learned from the sheer enjoyment of my early years has stayed with me for the rest of my life. Although very different from working in the shop, I love what I do and do my best to “serve” all my customers in the way I learned from my parents. They made me what I am and I thank them for it. They taught me how to make your business fun as well as profitable. Taking pleasure from successes and rising above the inevitable failures.

And now….

I'm off to ring my Dad for Father's Day.

Please share

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Harish Sharma - June 16, 2014

I am one of those unlucky ones who lost his father at a very early age. I was just 13 when my father passed away at the ripe age when a father needs a father figure in his life. He passed away at an age of 58 due to heart failure. I have always looked up to other elder relatives (men) for guidance. No one could live upto my expectation. I was so disappointed and eventually accepted the reality and learnt the ropes my self. I am 42 now with a son age 13 years. I try my best to be a father and be there for my kids…be it football, cricket, playing XBoX etc. What I did not have I try to give my children. This father’s day I promised myself to take care of my health and do my best to be around for them at least till the time they fly the nest.

    Joy Healey - June 16, 2014

    Hi Harish,

    So sorry to hear about your Dad. That’s really tough – but you can he sure he would be proud that you are doing the right things for your children. Especially by taking care of your health.

    Thanks for your comment.


Abbas Baba - June 16, 2014

I really enjoyed reading this, Joy. I think these days, we often forget the value of giving children responsibility.Although my childhood in Iraq was very different from yours, I too contributed to the family income from an early age. This was a positive experience, which gave me confidence and a feeling of being valued. Thanks for sharing this

    Joy Healey - June 16, 2014

    Hi Abbas. I’m glad you enjoyed my story. It was a little self-indulgent, but I get very soppy round Mother’s and Father’s Day!

    Our family meals often included business discussions, and my points of view were always taken seriously and treated as valuable – even when they perhaps needed a little modification:-)

    But as you say, it was great to feel valued. Thanks for sharing your experiences, too.

Adrienne - June 16, 2014

Hi Joy,

It sounds like you really enjoyed being able to help around the family business and you did learn a lot about responsibility and serving others. I think that’s a great lesson and I wish more kids would have the chance to learn this as well.

We didn’t have a family business and my parents wouldn’t even let me get a job while I was going to school. They felt my school work needed all my attention although I probably could have used the distraction more. LOL!!!

What a wonderful upbringing and sounds like you still have your Dad with you so I hope he had a wonderful Father’s Day! Thank you for sharing your story.


    Joy Healey - June 16, 2014

    Hi Adrienne, yes I loved it. In fact Mum and Dad really had to encourage me to do my school work because I preferred being in the shop.

    I followed their example and both my sons are heavily involved in MY business too.

    Yes – I’m lucky enough to still have both Mum and Dad with me, although they live a long way away, but we had a good old catch-up by phone. Thanks for popping over.


Angela McCall - June 16, 2014

Hi Joy,

Doesn’t sound boring to me. I think it’s exciting! I think a child should learn that money doesn’t grow in trees and it’s only earn through hard work.

Sounds like your dad’s business is in a perfect location where there’s a lot of traffic from the theatre and ballroom. Now I understand the fancy confectionery….but post office!? You mean where people mail their snail mail, right?

Anyway, all of that business ethics you’ve learned then is worth it. The younger the better coz children learns faster when they’re little, it’s easier to impress in their young mind. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. Your dad looks like the typical business man. Happy Father’s Day to him!


    Joy Healey - June 16, 2014

    Hi Angela, Yes I certainly learned from a very young age that money only follows hard work. If more children today understood that I think there would be a lot less debt caused by children exerting (and getting away with) pester power.

    “Post Office” LOL – sorry for UK terminology. Yes, where people posted snail-mail and collected pensions etc before all these things were done electronically. All this was err a few years ago, when I was still at school.

    My Dad’s in his 90s now, but still has active business interests, although happily his 16hr days are a thing of the past.

    Thanks for popping by and sorry you had a problem getting the post in. Sometimes these plugins have a mind of their own LOL


Jan Kearney - June 21, 2014

Learning to drive in a Jag! Yes, I’m jealous 🙂
I love reading/listening to peoples stories, I really enjoyed yours. Hope you and your Dad had a great Father’s day (a bit late I know!)

    Joy Healey - June 21, 2014

    Hi Jan, LOL – we had great fun my Dad and I “back in those days”. Mum wasn’t impressed though! (When she found out years later….)

    He was infinitely patient and always good humoured even after all those long days on his feet.

    We had a good long chat on Father’s Day, sadly Mum and Dad are determined to remain independent and live five hours away – but we talk almost every day.

    Thanks for reading my story. Joy

Torsten Mueller - June 23, 2014

Hi Joy,

reading your post wasn’t boring at all.

It shows how important it is to teach the values of life already in early years. Luckily in our generation it was still that way while nowadays it seems things like iphone, ipad and the like are more appreciated.

Having a daughter of 7 years I try my best to teach her what is important in life and I hope I will be as successful as your dad.

Have an awesome day and happy belated father’s day to your dad.


    Joy Healey - June 24, 2014

    Hi Torsten

    I’m glad you enjoyed the story of my early years in business as taught by my Mum and Dad. I’m glad they brought me up the way they did, with old-fashioned values.
    Your daughter is luck to have someone who thinks like you, and even if she doesn’t realise it while she’s 7, I’m sure the lessons you teach her will stand her in good stead for the rest of her life.
    Thanks for coming by, and for your good wishes. Joy

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