Welcome to National Friendly from our Head of Sales & Marketing
Rightly or wrongly I consider myself to be a good family man, I hope my family would agree! I try to do whatever I can to help my wife and our three children, although fully grown adults.
As I get older, that becomes more and more important to me. Through our early years of parenthood, my wife and I spent a lot of time changing nappies, feeding and caring for our children. Then suddenly they are up and about, walking and curious about everything. We spent most of our time making sure they were out of harm’s way, whilst they explored their new surroundings. The expression, “Eyes in the back of your head!” springs to mind.
Then all of a sudden they start school and then you worry about them being okay when they are out of sight. Luckily enough, all three of our children loved school, so not many problems there!
The next big milestone of worry for us - passing the driving test! Worrying all night, willing them to come home the first time they went out on their own driving.
Then their first jobs, hoping they fit in and are accepted by their new work colleagues. Hoping they are happy.
Then lo and behold, they want to fly the nest. Rather silly maybe, but I worry. I think “Have they got enough money to pay for the gas? Electricity? What about food!” I always want to be in the position, that if they needed financial help, I would be there. Yes, some people out there would say “We have to let them make their own way, better to let them sink or swim…”, and to those that say that, I say “I’m a big old softie, and can’t help myself”.
Only a grandparent would know and feel this next part. I thought I had been through it all raising 3 children, BUT, the next level of love came along, for me, 7 years ago now. The birth of my first grandchild, a baby girl. WOW, I cannot believe the hold she has on me and my wallet! Yes, you love your wife, yes, you love your children, but a grandchild is a whole new level!!
I don’t know about other grandparents out there, but for me, I cannot say no to anything she wants. It drives my daughter (her mother) mad, “Dad, don’t get her that! She doesn’t really need it” she will say, but unfortunately as soon as my granddaughter looks into my eyes and says, “Bampi, can I have…” I have already said yes!! She is a big motivation for me in work to keep striving. I know it is wrong, but I can’t help myself, I want to be able to give her what she wants. To add to my woes as a grandfather, I now have two new grandchildren, two boys. HELP!
What do I want in life? I have what I want or need. Now it is all about seeing my grandchildren grow up and take on life’s journey. While I can, I want to be by their side through that journey. Encouraging, loving, spurring them on and where needed, financial help.
I justify to myself that my wife and I work hard for our money and we want to spend it wherever we want. I guess earning money affords you that choice?
So, how does the National Friendly ethos fit into my life now?
For the first time in my 30 plus year career I find myself working for a friendly society, a mutual. Maybe it’s me getting older and the feelings of protecting my family becoming stronger than ever, but I’ve realised my work life and my private life share many values.
The friendly society ethos and back story really intrigued me. Luckily enough, here at National Friendly we have an abundance of written accounts relating to the company’s history which I have been able to read. The whole idea and reason National Friendly was started really struck a chord with me.
National Friendly was created in the mid-19th century as a “safety net” for working people in times of ill-health and hardship. Being poor or becoming poor in the Victorian era was a terrifying prospect. Destitution and the dreaded workhouse awaited those who slipped through the net. Alongside the physical hardship came shame and disapproval.
Some might say the above paragraph is still true today in our 21st Century societies. My own personal opinion is that I, for one, do not want to rely on anybody else to look after my loved ones, nor do I want to face hardship. At least not again. Married at 19, 3 children by the time I was 24, I have known hardship.
I believe I work hard for my salary (some may disagree!); I work hard so that when my family needs financial help, I can be there for them. Also, earning my own money gives me choices in life. Choices that I want to make, not have them made for me.
So are there other people out there like me, who have worked hard through their life, raised their family and feel proud and protective of their family? If, like me, you do not want to fall into hardship, think “What plans do I have in place?” Who is helping your heartfelt desire to look after your loved ones?
Have you got your "safety net” in place?