The papaya tree

One of the things I love about my house is the yard. When we bought our house it was a year old, and the yard was nothing but weeds and lava rock (mostly lava rock) and we had to truck in some soil for it. But now, after fifteen years it’s grown in, green and verdant, in fact so much so that we have a hard time keeping it under control.

The house isn’t set in the middle, and so we have this side yard that’s a kind of sliver in the shade of the house; it ends up to be the part of the yard we frequent the least, and when we do, it’s because the shell ginger and heliconia growing there has really gotten pretty much out of control. With a porch that wraps around the other side of the house, most of the time this side yard is pretty much out of sight, out of mind. So while this might seem surprising to you, it didn’t surprise the rest of my family that we now have a papaya tree growing there that we didn’t know about.

And not just a little emerging seedling. Thanks to our neglect, this tree is now about twelve feet tall, and heavy with ripening papaya. It doesn’t belong there, and we’d never have planted it there purposely, but at that size, and with so much fruit, I’m pretty sure it’s staying there.

We discovered it because the birds pecking at the fruit were starting to get very noisy over their breakfast. There is a sprinkler system along that side of the house, and between getting water, enough sun, and a lot of neglect and indifference from us, the papaya tree has thrived beautifully, and fruited very generously.

I can’t help but wonder if we’d be having this sweet papaya for breakfast ourselves now if that tree hadn’t managed to stay under our radar.

Now people are different, aren’t they. People don’t react to neglect and indifference in the same way as our papaya tree did.

Are there people where you work that just seem not to be noticed, that always manage to stay under your radar? People who are there every day working – well, you think they’re working – but for the life of you, you just can’t remember when the last time was that you really engaged with them?

Papaya2Why not?

Why don’t you initiate a conversation with them today, and see what kind of “fruit” they have to offer you.

Seems to me that people have way more potential than papaya trees, no matter how sweet the papaya may be.


  1. says

    Beautiful Analogy!
    I think Malama is the only answer to the loss of productivity most companies face when their employees become depressed or burned out due to stress. I wrote more on this in my blog post today. Thank you again for the inspiration

  2. says

    Tip of the Day – #18

    Don’t let the birds steal your fruit! I love Rosa’s story about the Papaya Tree she found growing on the side of her house, full of fruit. She brings it back to make a very important point for managers, too,

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