This I Believe

Elyse - Radford, Virginia
Entered on October 30, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: work

Generations of Hard Work

Thirty-five years ago my grandparents started their own business: a garden shop. They sold plants, fruits and vegetables out of a greenhouse. Back then, my grandparents knew what it meant to work hard. They had faith that if they worked at their goal of expanding and succeeding as a business, they could accomplish it. Over the next few years it took a lot of hard work as they opened a gift shop, a seasonal Christmas room, and expanded to a few greenhouses. Today, they have eleven greenhouses that overflow with plants in the spring. They have a year-round gift shop that even I love shopping in, and a huge room opened for Christmas time full of ornaments and decorations. My parents and my aunt now own the store, and even though my grandmother died of lung cancer six years ago, my grandpa is still always in the store talking to people and helping out where he can. At some point, almost every member of my family has worked or helped out, myself included.

Working in my family’s store was the first and only job I’ve had, and it’s taught me so much. I’ve learned how to work hard and keep track of my own expenses. I’ve learned skills in business and in customer service. I’ve learned that it can be a curse and a blessing to work with family. I’ve also learned things I wouldn’t have chosen to learn. I’ve seen my family struggle to keep new items in their store and to keep their customers happy. Sometimes I think my parents feel like they are stuck in their job and it is hard work running and keeping a business together.

At work, when you don’t get along with the people you work with, it stays at work. In my family, you go home with those people every day and that can be a struggle. However, I’ve learned that it only makes us stronger. I used to think that once I turned sixteen I would get another job and stay as far away from my family’s store as possible. Sixteen came and went and I stayed. I found that I really liked working at a place where I got to see people that I love everyday, learn important skills for my future, and be able to work in a place that was built on my family’s hard work and dedication.

My parents taught me everything that parents should teach their children, like how to take care of myself and how to respect my elders. But because of their business, they also taught me how to really work hard at what I’m doing. Because of them, I believe that if I work hard enough and have faith in something, I can achieve anything.