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Never be afraid of doing the right thing.

Contented

By Ian Jenkinson

“Life is all about how you handle things. The ups and downs, the decisions you make during those ups and downs. How you keep your focus is what’s important to you and your family’s future. And how, if you know your goal is true, you should be unwavering in your task to get there. Don’t forget son, what you leave will be here long after you are gone.”

I was having a heart to heart with my dad over a few beers at home. I was trying to decide whether the decisions I had taken over the past 16 years were correct, both for me and my family.

Sometimes it’s hard to know if you’ve done the right thing and you need an older, wiser opinion. Today i decided to reach out for assurance.

You see, I lived in a stylish, yet small house in a lovely area with my amazing wife, it had been our family home for many years. We were very happy there. We had fantastic memories, we always had friends over. We were constantly entertaining. Evenings at our place were electrifying.  When people left our house they would talk about the experience all the way home. We were very much the envy of our neighbours.

We were both earning a good wage and didn’t really want for anything. If we needed to spend money to make some home improvements we just went out and spent it. We went on regular holidays and ate out quite a lot. We weren’t rich by any stretch of the imagination but we weren’t poor either. We knew how to enjoy ourselves. We were living the life and life was good.

But as everybody does at some point in life, we had reached a crossroads. We were at a point in our lives where we needed to decide where our future would lie. We were both very comfortable but we were thinking about taking the next step.

We wanted children.

No doubt, it would be a big step for us, it was something that we both wanted but were a little apprehensive about. Who wouldn’t be? We would be completely taken out of our comfort zone. Did we want that? Would we be able for it? Could we afford it? If we were to do it, it would need a very solid plan and a lot of commitment.

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We knew that if we did extend the family that our current home wouldn’t be big enough, it was obvious that we would need to buy a bigger house. That in itself both excited us and scared us. We knew what this would mean a lot of sacrifices. We knew that most of the holidays would have to stop; our regular nights out would be cut down, our restaurant reservations would be few and far between. We knew that money would be very thin on the ground. Our slightly lavish lifestyle would have to take a hit for a while. But no pain no gain right?

And aside from all that, one of the hardest things would be that we would have to leave the house that I grew up in. We would have to leave behind us all those fantastic memories, all the days and evenings of entertaining. All the amazing feelings that I have felt there would be left behind and this saddened me greatly. But if we were to do this, it was necessary to look forward and not back.

So we were faced with a difficult decision: Do we stay where we are with just the two of us or do we take the bold step of building a brighter future for both of us and our soon to be extended family?

We took a leap of faith and decided to go for it. It did have its pitfalls mind you.

“Dad”, I said, looking out into the back garden. “Do you think we did the right thing in moving house when we did all those years ago?”

He looked at me in a quizzical manner.

“Of course i do.” He said. “Why do you ask such a question?”

“Well it’s just that ever since we have moved things have been different.” I said.

“In what way?” He asked.

“Well, before we moved we were so carefree, we could do what we want, when we wanted to, we weren’t so bound by circumstances. The move had a big affect on us financially as you know and I have just felt very frustrated.”

“Yes son I know.” He replied. “But look what you have now. You have two beautiful kids, a sensible and beautiful wife, a fantastic house with lots of room for the kids to play. This is a massive improvement from before.”

“I know dad, but still, things aren’t what they used to be. Myself and Dawn hardly ever go out, we need a few repairs done around the house but we just can’t afford them. The car is knackered and needs replacing. Look at Lucy on the next road, she also has two kids but she is always going out with her new boyfriend, almost every night.”

“They are constantly spending money on the house. They go on three holidays a year. When Lucy wanted a new car, he just went out and bought her one and when she realised she didn’t like the car she made him change it. She has had so many new cars over the past few years that I have lost count. It just isn’t fair.”

“Yes son, but be careful what you wish for” My dad smiled and said. “Don’t forget that Lucy’s new boyfriend is filthy rich, and some people say that his money was ill gotten. Don’t you worry about him. He’ll soon lose interest in Lucy and move on. It is Lucy’s kids i feel for. They have gotten so used to having money spent on them that when he does go they will be lost.”

“True,” I said.

“I’ll put it to you this way,” he continued, “Would you prefer his money being thrown about the place or would you prefer to have your own hard earned money? You have brought up your kids to respect money. Never be ashamed of doing things the right way, hold your head up high and be proud of what you have achieved. People like Lucy’s boyfriend come and go. You are far more dedicated to your family than he will ever be, he does not have Lucy and her kids best interests at heart.”

“Let me ask you this,” he continued. “When you and Dawn decided to have kids what was your goal?”

I sat back and thought about this for a bit. Finally I said:

“We wanted to grow a family to a point where we could be as comfortable as we were before, to provide a home that was suitable for them. We wanted to do this ourselves without jeopardising the family’s future. We wanted to extend ourselves and bring our lives to a new level. And when all was said and done we just wanted to be contented that we did it in a way that was right for us and the kids over the long term.”

“And how do you think you’ve done?” My dad asked.

“Well, to be honest, it has been hard, we found it tough going at first, we knew things would be hard with a new mortgage and all the expense that comes with kids but we’ve stuck at it, we managed our money as wisely as possible. We never gave in to requests of expensive toys. The kids have never wanted for anything and we’ve all still managed to live a very acceptable quality of life.”

I paused for a moment and said thoughtfully. “Sometimes though, I just wonder if we would have been better off not changing anything.”

“What nonsense,” my dad scoffed. “Look around you and see what you really have. It is really something to be very proud of. Sometimes people can’t see the wood for the trees. You need to open your eyes son.”

“I suppose,” I said and perked up. “Lately things have been a bit better, the mortgage payments aren’t strangling us so much, the kids have grown up a bit and we seem to have a bit more freedom, we even managed to put some savings aside. I got a big bonus in work recently too so I think I am going to be able to treat the family to something really nice soon.”

“Well there you go!” My dad chimed.

“I know, but dad i very nearly……” I hesitated.

“Very nearly what?” He asked.

“I’m embarrassed to say that when things got really tough after we moved. When everything looked bleak, I nearly gave up. I thought I couldn’t do it any more. There was a lot of pressure on me and I nearly gave up. I nearly let everyone down, Dawn, the kids. Everyone.”

My dad looked at me very intently and said, “Listen to me very carefully son, Most people give up just when they are about to achieve success, they quit at the goal line. They give up at the last minute of the game, a foot away from scoring a goal. It takes a certain type of person to keep going. You are that close now. You are on the verge of something special.”

“And I’m very proud of you for not giving up. Aren’t you glad you never did?” He asked.

“Absolutely dad, it’s all been worth it, I can now finally see what it was we started all this for. We are not there yet but i can see it dad. And do you know what? For the first time in a long while I am very, very excited about life.”

He’s a wise old man, my dad……

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37 comments to Never be afraid of doing the right thing.

  • insiderght

    Intelligent, insightful and subtle – only to be found on Untold. Thanks

  • WalterBroeckx

    Oh my God, the story of my life is written down on Untold 😉 Well not completely but very similar. Apart from talking with my father as he passed away some 24 years ago.

    Ian, thanks for this great story. And I hope and think most of our regular readers will read and understand the story beneath it.

    And on a personal side note; today half an hour ago, I just did the final and last payment of our mortgage on the house we build and that restricted our life in a way Ian described it. And for the first time in a long, long, long, long, long time I feel free at last and very excited about life and the future.

    And yes we had moments we felt like giving up on our dream.

    Oh dear, I feel a bit emotional from all this. What a coincidence…

  • Redcore

    Is this story really true? Or is it written just to remind us of a certain old, lanky, scholarly looking French guy…

  • Mike

    Brilliant…………and when you’ve paid for your new house I expect you’ll be able to go out and buy even more expensive “meals and holidays” than you did before 🙂

    Sadly, I suspect your story will be a little bit too subtle for some of the AAA brigade.

  • ClockEndRider

    A sledgehammer administered to the cranium would be too subtle for some of those people, Mike.
    Ian, thanks for the story. A nice way to go into the weekend…..,

  • elkieno

    I like your article mate, a very good analogy about our club and out ups and downs over the last ‘8’ years. I have 1 daughter who is 1.5 years old and we just found out the other week that she is pregnant again (sooo stoked btw!) so like will get harder and harder for next 2 more years until bany reaches 2, then it will change tracks and get harder but a different type if harder. It is the most rewarding thing you can do in life according to me and I am proud that I no longer care to live the life I was before. I will need to go back and study some more again to better my career propects so I can take holidays and afford to pay for a good education for them.
    This is life, this is what most people on the planet do, we don’t have rich girlfriends or boyfriends to pay for us and we know not too expect it, that is why I find myself on Untold so much cos we all think alike (except the short term minded gimme now folks that will comment soon.
    My only objection to your article is I would never question why I had kids EVER! But I get it was for the article… So well done mate!
    Now are we going to sign Higuain or not? I heard Perez might offer him plus others for Bale? I hope it is just rumours this one!

  • elkieno

    Redcore: oh dear oh dear and oh dear! You need to pull yourself aside and have a word with yourself. How can you not get it through your anti Wenger specs, oh that’s why, those darn specs!
    If you don’t get it its about Arsenal Football
    club, not about his family or Wenger!
    Fair dinkum!

  • …but dad, I thought that in the beginning, but the guy down the road is still with Lucy after all these years. I know we lead a comfortable lifestyle and get to go on foreign holidays, but they go to the same places as us and come back with souvenirs for their kids who have learned to live with him, which makes my kids envious. Not only that, but Dawn’s other friend in Manchester close is going out with his mate and are going to even more exotic locations and before we make judgements about the neighbours, we have got that dodgy uncle who wants to be head of the family. Having said all that I loved the post.

  • Super Singh

    Well said Ian, take stock of what you’ve got? Too many people are just materialistic, remember your life really starts when you have kids then your life becomes their’s?

  • nicky

    Ian,
    As someone quite a few stages of life ahead of you, I hope you will eventually share my present happy outlook, namely
    “FOR ALL THE TEA IN CHINA ,I WOULDN’T WANT TO BE YOUNG ALL OVER AGAIN”.

  • Super Singh

    To Nicky!
    I drink a hell of lot of tea? Ho ho ho…..

  • Rupert Cook

    My wife and I decided not to have children, we’d rather enjoy the money between us. Still can’t afford to go to Arsenal games.

    Very pleasant allegory but though your dad maybe wise I don’t know why he assumes Lucy’s boyfriend doesn’t have her and her kids best interests at heart or why he’ll ditch her sometime in the future.

  • Bootoomee

    Ian,

    I can relate being a young dad myself. But I am so utterly grateful for my children. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

    Yours is a common sense story about life in the real world. To be honest, people like us are still very fortunate compared to rest of the world.

    Thanks for the story!

  • Bootoomee

    Rupert,

    I agree with you that there is no evidence that the rich boyfriend will not last but unless Lucy is his first girlfriend, there is no indication that the relationship will last either. On the other hand, there is good reason to believe that Ian’s gradual and painstaking gains will last.

    We all pray/hope to win the lottery but very, very, very people actually do!

  • Arun

    Ian, brilliant article. Loved it.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    This allegory was clear after the first paragraph because I have written shorter versions of it. Like Walter I’m a few months away from paying off my mortgage. For the first time in my life I am looking forward to November when the last payment is due…..I saw the parallels with my own predicament and Arsenal’s from the move to the Emirates…It can only lead to better times…they are very close for us Gooners…I’m so looking forward to the coming season….knowing my wife and I supported three children through university to the tune of a few ‘ks’ more than Bendtner’s purported weekly salary whilst owning our home…Arsenal are going to kick ‘arse’ and even though I’m not a season ticket holder and based in the north midlands I will try to get to see more live games…because I can afford to….

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    @Rupert Cook at 10:39 am

    Do you not have any ideals? We cannot change the world but don’t you think that some of us should enjoy Arsenal FC being self- sufficient, and paying our own way? Let me make it clearer perhaps…would you have minded if Saddam Hussein, Gadaffi or Mugabe offered to buy us glory?

  • ARSENAL 13

    Well written article IAN…….Story of ARSENAL with more life to it.

  • ian

    Rupert

    Thought you supported Oxford United so wouldn’t be interested in watching Arsenal anyway?

    Ian J – Great work.

  • createstrain

    i dont see how the question redcore posed was in anyway anti Wenger. i got half way through and thought the same thing. and last time i checked he was an “old, lanky, scholarly looking French guy”. he’d agree himself im sure.

    not taking anything away from the article, i found it fairly interesting as my son has just turned 8 months.
    yes we have done the right thing looking at the big picture but just as in life the journey to me can be as important.

    im more concerned with the our next turn. im overly tired with having to hold it till we get to the 5 star hotel, passing rest stop after rest stop, watching other citizens dine at burger king while we make do with home made tuna mayo sandwiches that have become soggy.

    i wouldnt mind a cake filled with Dulce de leche once in a while.

  • Adam

    Thankyou Ian for the inspiring article.

    What it highlights for me, apart from the obvious Arsenal link, is, how important Family are, and how we tend to lean on certain people to ease our concerns, in a weird way its what we do with Arsene, he eases our fears and gives us hope and confidence for the future.

    I fully understand the up & downs of life, as a Bipolar sufferer, I do truly understand more than most (but I also have to consider things slightly differently from the norm), but seem to manage to keep a positive perspective when considering our great club (kudos to me). And by the way, we are a great club.

    For me, and managing my condition, I have to be constantly aware of my emotions and behavior, which can be draining, not only on me but my family. So for myself there is nothing better than sitting with “the Old Man” knowing he is proud of my achievements and obstacles overcome, watching my little boy kick a ball about shouting Arsenal at the top of his lungs, and then running around arms out like an airplane when he scores a goal, bless him he’s only 3.

    I know whats important, and the decisions we make are not for us alone, they are for those we care about and we need reassurance that we have decided correctly because we fear letting those we love down, but all I can say is when you make a decision with someone else’s interests at heart, it was right at the time.

    So, I also have hopes and fears of the future, and wonder how it is all going to turn out, not just for me but everyone around me, I wonder about choices made and the choices I face, but I know with the support network I have, things will be OK.

    I live with hope in my heart because I need to.

    Once again thankyou for the article and sorry for the waffling on.

  • jambug

    To justify my unswerveing faith in Arsene and Arsenal over these last few years I have on many occasions used ‘analogies’ similar to this to make my point. Non as in depth or as touching as this Ian, but still useing the same themes of Hard work, loyalty, Sacrifice, Dedication, Long term, Bigger picture etc. etc. The problem I have is that when you put scenarios like this to the doubters and the scynics, at the time, they nod knowingly and say things like ‘I know what you mean’ but then 10 minutes later are banging on again about how ‘you havent won anything for 8 years’ ‘you’ll never win anything why you keep buying second rate crap’ ‘Wengers too tight’ ‘your board pocket all the profits’ ‘your ticket prices are a rip off’ blah blah blah. It’s as if we had’nt even spoken. My point is you can, in a wonderful piece like this, explain, defend, and justify all whats happened to Arsenal FC these last few years, but the truth is so many people, especially football fans, are intrenched in this need for imediate gratification that it’s a waste of breath. There is no tommorow, only today. There is no reason, only excuses. It does’nt seem to matter where the money comes from, it doesn’nt matter what the long term risks may be, all that matters is the instant fix. It’s so sad and it’s so frustrating.

    I am on this site because of a previlance of like minded souls such as you Ia. with similar views to mine. But alas no matter how many brilliantly written pieces you can find on here our biggest popular media outlets such as the SUN, SKY and Talksport totally ignore it and will just keep slagging us off, day in, day out. They’ll claim ALL Arsenal fans are unhappy. It’s as if we don’t exist. SKY employ Carrager (spelling?) and the first piece he writes is slagging us off! He should fit in perfectly.

    Anyway Ian, a lovely piece.

  • Rupert Cook

    @ian, I go to Oxford games primarily because I can afford them and their the wife’s home team so I also go to keep her company. I find it pleasant to share interests with the one you love.

    @Georgaki-Pyrovolitis, I’m not sure why you assume what you have from my post. As much as I detest Abramovic and his ilk they are not mass murderers like the people you mentioned. And I’m not sure Kronke is that much more admirable than some Russian oligarch. I’m suspicious of super rich people, no matter where they hail from.

    @Bootoome, it would certainly be a miracle if I won the lottery seeing as I don’t buy a ticket. I take your point about hard graft paying dividends but in these recession-ravaged times not many of us are entirely safe. I speak from personal experience.

  • Stevie E

    I’m probably going to draw the wrath of the Untold regulars but I fail to see the point of this article. It just seems like poorly written propaganda with a distasteful use of sentimentality. Let’s face it, Arsenal haven’t just bought a homely, place for the kids to grow up, 3 bed mid-terrace, they’ve bought the equivalent of a palatial mansion. I know you’re trying to evoke an image of a hard working, regular guy, but Arsenal are as far closer to the wide boy neighbour then the average Joe.

    There may not be much Arsenal stuff going on right now, but does Untold really need to lower the bar to this level just to have something to post?

    Disappointing.

  • Ong Bing

    Like it Ian. Thank you. Very inspiring.

    No pain no gain, agreed.

    And Walter, congratulation for your home mortgage 🙂

  • americangooner

    steve, its a common thing among blogs in these slow days. even the most popular blogs seem to be writing completely unrelated and below their usual standards posts. there isn’t much to write, and besides the job of writing a different post everyday is challenging. in addition there are 100’s of Arsenal blogs, forum each trying to set itself different from the other.

  • I agree with Rupert. What proof does your dad have for making his prediction about the dodgy neighbour? I sense that your dad might have a few issues that need resolving. I notice that you don’t mention your mum. Playing “mine’s better” with the neighbours is a waste of time. The other family in Manchester Close just go about their daily life ignoring everyone. If they want kids, they just go ahead and have them. Then build an extra bedroom on their house to accommodate them. They know that a family is more than a house, it’s the sum total of all the people. That’s why their family is the strongest.

  • Andrei

    If you can afford to live in the neighborhood with filthy rich people you have to be filthy rich yourself. And in certain quarters if you are filthy rich it automatically means it is ill gotten.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Ian – an excellent and absorbing read. A great analogy too.

  • jambug

    Or put simply, Success is usually far more rewarding if it is achieved on the back of your own hard word and dedication, than success that is obtained on the back of either luck, someone elses benevelance, or even ill gotten gains.

    It is not wrong of course to crave instant gratification, but it is not for all, and it is certainly wrong to mock those of us that do not. And that is exactly what happens to us.

    For me you can keep your instact fix of state sponsered glory. It has no value and will always be tainted.

    And yes one day we may end up ‘buying it’ but the money we use will be of our own makeing, on the back of loyalty, hard work, shrewd management and wise investment.

    Arsenals model is not perfect, and as we see it is not for all, but I would’nt want it any other way.

  • Ian Jenkinson

    Thanks everybody for the comments, i enjoyed reading them all. A mixed bag of feedback. I’m glad it struck a chord with some of you outside of football too.

    @ Walter, i’m sorry for getting you slightly emotional, but i think it was a good emotional so it’s ok 🙂 and congrats on your last mortgage payment 😉

    @ Adam, you were not waffling and thank you for your comment, you seem to deserve any good will that comes your way, i can only imagine what you must have deal with on a daily basis. I hope you can continue to deal with things as well as you are. Your dad should be proud of you and keep that young Gooner shouting for The Arsenal!

    @ Grumpy man, americangooner and Stevie E. I’m sorry it wasn’t to your taste. I suppose we just sit on different sides of the fence.

    @ Jambug 8:07pm. Spot on lad, my sentiments exactly.

    @ everyone who enjoyed the article thank you for taking the time to tell me!

    We’ll see how the story unfolds…….

  • elkieno

    Andrei: in Sydney there are many places where you can have a multi million doller house across the street from housing commission areas, Maroubra is one example. My sister lives in a nice middke class town house and my mum lives in a one bedroom apartment all within a 2 min walk of dirty, rundown criminally infested ‘Bra Boys’ areas.
    So you don’t have to be rich to live next to rich people!
    And why are people taking the story do literally? Like someone adding questions to the story and what-ifs etc. it’s a slow time while we wait for a signing that prolly won’t happen now…
    God I hate off season

  • Andrei

    @elieno So who is taking the story literally? I was referring to Arsenal analogy. Arsenal are one of the richest football clubs in the world. In some quarters they are filthy rich.

  • iniez

    Lol Andrei, our resident sophist

  • Pat

    It’s kind of rude to talk about areas where working class people live as ‘dirty, rundown criminally infested “Bra Boys” areas’ – whatever that may mean.

    Most working class housing estates are full of decent people just trying to get on with their lives like everybody else.

    It’s not their fault if the local council doesn’t spend enough money and lets the place get run down.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Very nice article ,Ian , it moved me just like it did many of the regulars .Probably due to the fact that we see in it something not dissimilar to events in our own lives .
    In our case ,we decided to have kids as soon as we were married and had 3 in 4 years .But then I was 33 years old and my wife 6 years younger .We had been ‘an item ‘for seven years
    before we tied the knot.
    There were some obstacles to be cleared before we got the ‘building’ permit !Holding my first born for the first time was a very humbling epoch ,and from that moment on there was no more me – it became, and still is, we.
    I bought and paid off my ‘stadium ‘ 13 years ago, without any help from anyone .I took the risk of paying my 10 year loan within 3 years as the interest was quite high .
    Ian , I was moved when I read your article on Friday and wanted to post then but was unable as I had to go to Singapore to register my eldest son( 20 years old) there as he embarks on his adventure into the wide world of academia.
    Soon his sister,and next year his brother will start their journeys and the father will have to finance the building of the ‘team’.
    Finances will be tight for the next 6-7 years as my ‘dream team’ takes shape ,but then like my father before me ,I will
    do my utmost to give them a head start in their careers .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I had wanted to add a joke here but found this more apt .

    THE BUZZARD

    If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner.
    The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly,but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.
    ——————————————
    THE BAT

    The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place.
    If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash. ——————————————
    THE BUMBLEBEE

    A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.
    ——————————————

    PEOPLE

    In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is look up!
    That’s the answer, the escape route and the solution to any problem…. just look up!

    Sorrow looks back,
    Worry looks around,
    But faith looks up!
    Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, and trust in our Creator, who loves us.