National Family Week

This week is National Family Week in Australia; an annual celebration of families that aims to recognise and appreciate the vital role that families play in Australian society. They ask us to take time this week to reflect on the critical role that families play in teaching, supporting and nurturing children, especially as they grow.

Since Slappa’s Thongs is a proud family owned and run business, I thought I’d take time this week to do just that; reflect on how our family unit supports and encourages each other and those in our community.

A Family Business

Our family consists of myself (Denise), my husband Roger, and our two children Bernie (13) and Kaylee (11). Then there’s our gorgeous little daschund Frankie who is nearly 8 now.

When I first started Slappa’s Thongs I never imagined how much a part of the family it would become, but over the years it has not only played an integral part in our family’s livelihood but in our growth as individuals and a family unit.

It began in 2010 with me juggling a new business and two small children. By 2015 the business and workload had grown so much that Roger joined the company full-time as well. And as they got older Bernie and Kaylee began helping out in small ways to earn a bit of pocket money, usually so they could save up and buy things for their bike.

Even our doggie Frankie joined the crew as head of security!!!

Bernie and Kaylee are now on the payroll working a few hours a week learning how the business runs, getting vital skills and understanding how employment works.

They both now have their own Tax File Number which will be with them for life. They are learning how to fill in a time book, read their payslip and best of all learning how to save their money. The biggest learning curve for them both is the commitment they need to make, being responsible, time management, making sure they do the job efficiently and correctly.

They really enjoy being a part of the business and we love being able to share the ups and downs with them and provide so many opportunities to grow and learn. In fact we’ve often found that they are even able to teach us a few things!

It’s a great feeling having us all involved and working towards a common goal making it truly a “family business”.

Our Family And The Cycling Community

As a family we all love cycling. We all ride socially and race road and mountain bikes. Cycling is our way of doing something together, exercising and having fun. We have all made many new friends and our cycling groups are like one big extended family.

Now that the kids are older and at competition age it’s become quite common for us to travel for cycling and the kids race interstate a few times a year. Recently we had a family holiday in Queensland to see the Track Cycling at the Commonwealth Games it was extremely exciting and the kids learnt a lot from watching the athletes from all other Commonwealth countries.

Last year, Roger participated in the Tour de Timor which was a gruelling race through East Timor mountains. Roger needed to train 4-5 times a week for 12 months to be fit enough to compete. As a family we needed to make some allowances so he had the time to be able to work and get his training done. While he was there he donated hundreds of Slappa’s Thongs to Encouragement House.

The Cycling community is a fantastic group to be involved with and it is great for us to know the kids will be looked after well when they go away for racing. Bernie (aged 13) competed in a Road Race in the Barossa Valley, South Australia this April. It was the first time he had flown on his own, and he handled it very well. A lovely family in Adelaide picked him up from the airport and he stayed with them for the 4 days of competition. They made him feel like one of their family and made sure he felt comfortable and supported. As a mother it meant a lot to me that my son was being well cared for while away from his family. It was a good opportunity for him to learn to do things on his own without Mum and Dad’s help. These trips have definitely boosted his confidence and prepared him for when he leaves home for work or further studies.

My family’s next challenge will be to help me make time to train for the Katherine to Darwin Ride I am doing soon! And in October I will be walking the Inca Trail in Peru.

Teaching Family Values

Growing up in a big family and in a country town my parents always had extra kids staying over and they were always the first ones to put up their hands to take someone in.

Roger and I have always done the same and have offered a place to stay for many people over the years (include Terra Roams; the first woman to walk solo and unsupported around Australia, and 18 year old Jack Totino; who rode around Australia in 2017 raising money for FightMND).

We’ve made some amazing friends doing this and it gave us an opportunity to instil the value of helping others in Bernie and Kaylee too.

National Families Week is a time to celebrate with your family, make contact with your extended family and friends, and share in the enjoyment of family activities within the wider community. It is a time to celebrate the meaning of family and to make the most of family life.

Take some time this week to reflect on your family. Thank you for reading about mine.

Thongs on!

Denise