How to Fish.

Someone reminded me of this parable over the 4th of July holiday weekend, and it is still very much on my mind today:

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”


1. Yesterday I exchanged emails with a Ho‘ohana Newsletter subscriber about my lokomaika‘i message this month missing the mark in some interpretation. I was very nicely given coaching that I should take care not to inadvertently give others guilt trips about their ability to give when they are already struggling to make ends meet; there is a very high price to pay for living in paradise.

SO not my intention,
and if that is what you got from my message I am deeply sorry! I’ve been pretty verbal about my opinion that guilt is a damaging, worthless emotion before, and I’m beating myself up right now over the thought I may have dished out any of it.

And it WAS nice, gentle coaching- please do not read any sarcasm into this!

Continuing on”

2. Received three other emails sharing info with me about their passionate causes, and asking me to dig into my pocket “in the spirit of lokomaika‘i.”

Okay, some sarcasm there, but I actually did so for the ones I thought were deserving. How to fish, when to fish, and who to fish with… all food for thought.

3. I listened to a news story about soldiers who are finding they cannot find work after their tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. The reporter stated it is especially hard on the younger soldiers who had joined up right after high school, and find they cannot well articulate what “free-enterprise job skills” they now offer.

That is just incredibly wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. This generated a rash of writing for me about empowerment, good versus bad management, leadership and mentoring… stay tuned, for I have to cool down about it and self-edit better before I post much more.

4. Another few subscribers weighed in on the Bill Gates and Warren Buffet commentary I opened my July newsletter with. One told me about an NPR announcer framing his comments within the recent popularity of the Superman movie, asking if the geeky Clark Kent is the real hero figure (as is Super-Geek Gates). And”

5. Someone else wondered if the Buffet philanthropy was just another brilliant publicity stunt for both men, both of whom “should be much more humble about it.” Offering links, another suggested some other people I should read about, versus those “Gates and Buffet pseudo examples.”

Perhaps I should better explain. This is what I’d written in my newsletter (see what you may be missing by not subscribing”)

I have been cheering for the news lately— how’s that for a twist?

My heroes have been Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, with their news of giving and generosity. If they were in Hawaii, the headline might read, “Lokomaika‘i, with the generosity of a good heart.”

Paraphrased from Newsweek:
As the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, funded by $29 billion of the Gateses donations, became increasingly influential in fields like global health and education, it became clear that if Gates spent more time there versus than as the software guru of Microsoft, the Foundation could have a huge impact on the world. So in mid June, he announced his decision to do just that.

Soon after, encouraged by Gates commitment, Warren Buffet decided the Gates Foundation would be the best vehicle for his own generosity, and he added a very sweet $31 billion philanthropic donation to the pot. Both men have put their money where their hearts are, and in doing so they set a wonderful example for us all.

As one online article explained, “Buffet, chairman and chief executive of the Berkshire Hathaway insurance and investment company, and Gates are titans of industry who demonstrate more interest in alleviating human misery than in self-enrichment or building family dynasties. They provide a respite from news reports of grasping CEOs who run their companies into the ground as they reward themselves. And, experts in philanthropy, Buffet and Gates offer other superwealthy families an example that encourages dramatic charitable giving.”

Few of us have the means to give in such a dramatic way. However all of us have the capacity for giving, and for feeling the self-satisfying rewards of our generosity. This will be our Ho‘ohana exploration this month; to give in the ways we can, and to make the value of generosity our daily habit. Click in to Talking Story for this month’s essay and find some suggestions on how to do so with a “two-stepper” and a “one-a-day habit.”

Then, the email link went here to Talking Story: Our July Ho‘ohana: Lokomaika‘i.

When I hit that magic “send” button on my newsletter, I never imagined it would prove to be controversial. It seems that talking about generosity can get people kind of riled up.

Ironically appropriate. I guess you could say my Independence Day was spent celebrating our freedom of speech.

What do you think?


  1. Robert says

    Concerning generosity, and for those who are not rich like Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, I would like to mention here a new website of a non-profit NGO called Donationpixel.
    Their goal is to collect money for different humanitarian projects around the world.
    Their website offers the visibility of the donor – this could be interesting for many companies – the choice of the project and the country, and also the visibility of the work done in the field. They also give answers to different questions, like “Where goes my money?” or “what do they do with it?”.
    It seems to be an interesting new approach to encourage donations for vulnerablesin poor countries. The URL is
    Maybe a new way to attract more donation.
    Thanks for your attention.