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Peter's #Thought4TheWeek - Why youthful resilience was a timely reminder for our family business this week…

Peter's #Thought4TheWeek - Why youthful resilience was a timely reminder for our family business this week…

Last weekend was my wife’s birthday. Over a three-day period, we managed to spend time together with some of the family including our grandchildren which was wonderful. The weather being reasonably kind we spent much of the time outdoors which was a bonus.


On Friday we both took a day off and we went to Stratford upon Avon, something we do at least a couple of times a year. Maybe it’s a ‘Brummy’ thing (people who are from Birmingham) but a trip to Stratford each year is always a must. For us, it comprises simply parking the car next to the river, having a picnic, rowing a boat on the river, and playing football or catch on the field. Simple and lovely all at the same time.


However, it's April and although we managed to play ball, it was a little cool for sitting in a rowboat. So instead, as a surprise for Anny, we went to the Stratford Butterfly Farm. We have been several times before and it’s a wonderful experience. Did you know they have at least one hundred new butterflies hatch every single day! Butterflies are such wonderful creatures, and we highly recommend a visit.


To cross the river at Stratford, you have a couple of choices either walking across the footbridge or taking the River Avon Chain Ferry, something we always do as it's fun and just must be done! On this occasion the ferry was full, and we were lucky to get on it. It is a chain ferry which means the operator needs to turn a handle for the whole trip across the river, surely a good way to keep fit!

As we were about to go a young boy, probably eight or nine years old, asked if he could have a go at turning the handle and the operator said, ‘off you go!’ and under supervision let him turn the handle. – and he kept turning… About halfway across the boy was tiring and most of us thought he would quit; I think I probably would have! However, with grim determination and encouragement, he kept going until he reached the riverbank, to a loud cheer from the whole ferry! The operator then did something special: he said with a big smile “Here is your fare back, you have earned it!” The joy on the boy’s face was a picture!

What’s the point, Peter?

Currently, there are many reasons why we could feel like quitting our businesses at the moment. Costs are rising, people are worried and not making decisions, the news abroad is simply not nice, some things are in short supply…


It would be very easy to lose focus. However, I witnessed a little boy just concentrating all his efforts on achieving one thing – getting the ferry to the riverbank. Perhaps we need to take the same approach and get to our riverbank? If he can do it why not us?


One way of getting some encouragement is to attend a Family Business Practice event - if you haven’t lately there are many to choose from now with both online and face to face opportunities.


Until the next time…

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