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by Fran O'Reilly October 25, 2017

Happy Wednesday my fellow blog readers. I hope your week has been kind to you so far, and that your working commitments are treating you well. Today I wanted to discuss something that is a rather close subject to myself. Grandparents. We all know the importance of a solid family unit growing up as a child. Some of us are blessed with them, whereas others might not be so fortunate. But having great people raise you is certainly something that no amount of money can buy you. Thankfully I was blessed with a supporting family, and grandparents that had a heart of gold.

Today let us discuss what our Grandparents often do for us, as we begin today's blog topic, titled 5 Important Lessons My Grandparents Taught Me As A Child...


My grandparents were very special to me, and very much helped mould me into the man I am today. They both originated from Ireland, and left their home country, heading to England first to start their married lives together. Their intention was to stay in my hometown of Derby for a few years in order to save up some funds to make their next bigger move to Australia. My Nan on the other hand had other plans, as she took to the town I still live in today rather quickly, making new friends and learned a new way of living in England. So when it came time for 'the big move' to commence my Nan had already settled and refused to leave, despite my Grandfather's disapproval.

With such values told to me and my Brothers, from a very young age I could appreciate how hard my Grandfather had worked in order to better his life as well as my Grandmothers. Life wasn't easy for either of them growing up, they both came from large, hard working families which displayed very little in return to show for their graft. So, I was raised to appreciate what I had. My Grandad used to say in his broad Irish accent 'So, you have a quid (dollar) in your pocket and a roof to stay dry under above your head? Well, that's more than many others have, ain't that right, son?' which at the time I didn't fully grasp the meaning of, it was not until becoming a father myself did I fully get their meaning.

We spend much of our life chasing the finer things, such as the big houses, fast cars and best pay cheque possible. When we have so much already right under our noses. Are you blessed with a wife/husband, children and maybe a dog or cat at home? There's someone out there crying out for what you already take for granted. Stay humble my friends. Now, I'm not saying don't set yourself life goals ready to achieve them, but you'd better be ready to work hard and chase them, whilst appreciating the things you have in your life.


As a kid money was something my family continuously seemed to struggle with. I can recall having times where bills weren't paid, we had no heating and very little food on the table to feed us all. My Grandparents would always do right by us with the little they had, but essentially we learned to continue on forth with the little we had at that given time.

Today, I teach my children the true meaning behind all of the nice things they have, including a couple of pounds pocket money they get every now and again too. If you work hard you can make money, for sure, but if you spend it faster than you are making it you're soon going to hit a bump in the road that will see you in deep waters. As a kid I would help out about the house, running a few errands for my Nan whenever possible, whilst going to school. As it feels so much better to earn those few coins in your pocket rather than have them gifted to you on a golden platter. Well, that is what I believe.


Growing up I didn't have many hobbies. Sure, I liked boxing, football (soccer) and the occasional basketball game, but I was never dedicated or overly committed to much of anything. That was until I found a stray dog sitting at my Nans front door which looked like it needed my help. We took him in and fed him up, called around all the local shelters in our area to try and find his rightful owners, which given a little time we sure did, and they were happy to have Oscar home. Although for the last 11 days i my care I had named him Rocky, which he seemed to like all the same. From that day forward I had scratched an itch and seemed to be in tune with many animals, then over the years we helped a few dozen stray dogs, cats, wild injured birds and other various forms of wildlife, all with the help of my Nan and Grandad.

I quickly learned that lending a helping hand to somebody or something in need was very rewarding, not only are you helping a needed cause, but you also get a little buzz from doing so. I'm sure you can relate to what I mean here. But growing up I learned to love all animals, even the so called 'scary ones' such as snakes, spiders and other creepy crawlies that would otherwise freak people out. It is a love that I still have and treasure to this day, all sparked from the guidance and love shown from my Grandparents.


When I look back on my school years I remember them well, most were your average 'day in the life' of a school boy. Nothing overly exciting ever happened, until I was leaving to attend another school. I wouldn't use the term 'bullied' willingly, but I met my fair share of a school yard bullies who called me out to fight, where nine times out of ten I would usually walk away much worse than I came into them.

I recall having a run in with two kids in particular, your stereotypical 'rough kids'. My Grandfather spotted the black eye I sported, and the scratched knees and thick lip then began asking questions. 'Are you alright, son?' to which I would be quick to reply, yes. 'Of course you are, son. Well, when you want to talk you know where to find me.' he would say. After several weeks, and losing many fights with the same kids I finally folded and reached out to my Grandad for a little advice.

Let's just say being the youngest child in a huge family of Brothers had certainly learned my Grandfather a trick or two on how to win a fight. I learned so much from just listening to his words of advice. So much so, that come the following Monday morning when the same two kids tried to pick a fight on the school playground once more, I fought back and owned them, showing everybody who was watching that I wasn't willing to be no push over anymore. I stood my ground firmly, and defended myself as necessary. A trate I still have and learn to my children to this very day. Thank you Grandad! I really do owe you one!


It sure seems a little ironic that some 20 years after my Grandfather first learned me how to correctly shave I'm sitting here bearded and hairier than ever before, writing in a blog designed for bearded men. But at the young age of thirteen my Grandad stood me in front of a bathroom mirror, showing me the correct and 'proper' way to shave away my face stubble. Not that I had very much to shave back then, but I recall the moment so very well. As a young boy I can remember my Brother cutting himself whilst he shaved one morning, which scared the living crap out of me if I'm totally honest. I didn't want to have to drag a sharp razor blade that was capable of ripping my face off all over my cheeks each and every morning, heck, where's the fun in that??

I'm now 33 years of age, and pack a rather impressive red beard that any viking/lumberjack and pirate would be proud of and I often wonder to myself what my Grandparents might have thought about my face fuzz. I'm sure there would be a few words exchanged, but I think they might just warm to my furry face given a little time.

So, that sees today's blog post come to a sweet close for now my friends. As always you are more than welcome to leave us your thoughts and feedback in the comments section you'll spy provided below this very post.

And until next time, Beard on Brothers, Beard on...

Fran O'Reilly
Fran O'Reilly


I'm your daily blogger here at 'The Beard Struggle'. Have a beard related question? Get in touch!

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