Learning from Papa: Being the Boss, Shave Ice and Rainbow Colors

My posting turn is up at Joyful Jubilant Learning today. An excerpt:

“Rosa, managers who are humble are the ones people work hard for. A
humble manager listens really well. She asks the people reporting to
her what they think, and why, and what they would do about things.

You don’t need to have all the answers; your job is to find
them. And people who can’t learn to be humble have a hard time learning
where to look. Sometimes things are right there in front of them, and
they don’t even see.

Humble managers see with their ears, not with their eyes.”

Our theme for June is What we have learned from Men, and it is one I could write a separate essay on daily for the entire month through, for I have been blessed with knowing true gentlemen.

There is one man in particular I will never tire of writing about: My dad. I am the personification of that descriptive phrase that says, “She is her father’s daughter.”

My dad taught me a lot about management and leadership, and I am quite sure my business would not exist today without his very early, very consistent influence on me. My book, Managing with Aloha, starts with these two short paragraphs:

At some time or another, every child is asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I’ve never heard one answer, “I’d like to be a manager.” I didn’t.

Yet I now believe heart and soul that it is a calling to be a great manager. Unfortunately, greatness is rarely achieved, and thus examples are rarely talked about. Children don’t hear inspiring stories of managers often enough to want to be one.

What happened in between those two paragraphs? A good many lessons from my dad. The story is at JJL today: The best boss I ever had, wasn’t mine.

Thankfully, my dad did get to spend some time with both my children. My son was only three, and my daughter six when Dad died, yet they will both insist that they remember him and what he taught them too.

For instance, he taught my daughter how to make shave ice:

© All Rights Reserved

And he taught my son about all the colors in a rainbow:

© All Rights Reserved

Do my children really remember those lessons, or do they remember the pictures? These, along with many others, are photos they have looked at over and over again, as they ask me, “Can you remind me again? Tell me another story about me and Papa.”

One of their favorites, has been this one: When Children Sleep, Angels Whisper.

“And as many stories do, especially when they are told as a way to
comfort someone, and help the hurting heart remember another, this one
has taken on a life of its own. It has gotten magnified into quite a
few variations over sixteen years’ time, for my mom’s eleven
grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, and for a variety of
reasons. My dad is now Super Angel!”

Lesson memory or picture memory, I don’t think it really matters. What matters is that they remember, and they love saying that they do. Me too.


  1. Stephanie says

    Hi Rosa,
    “Do my children really remember those lessons, or do they remember the pictures?”
    I believe the pictures enabled the memory of the lessons from your father to endure forever.
    Although your question may have been rhetorical it sparked some thoughts.
    Recently, I read a post about a man who took a daily Polaroid (http://tinyurl.com/489ee7) of himself for 18 years until his death in 1997. What a nice way to capture his life and leave an impression.
    I often wish I had kept a journal as a child… to remember my thoughts. Fortunately, I am grateful for remembering thoughts associated with events captured by photographs.
    I think your post is an awesome way to honor your father and his legacy. What a gift!

  2. Rosa Say says

    Thank you for sharing that link Steph, for it does indeed make quite an impression.
    I also love your answer to my question: *Both* is an “and” kind of abundance!
    It is never too late to journal, and what we think about right now is as important as it gets, don’t you think?
    Mahalo for visiting with me Stephanie, I always so enjoy hearing from you!

  3. says

    How about, “What I want conversational good human beings to know”

    Okay, this pointer goes under a few categories here: being a coach, better conversations, business strategy, coaching essays, communication, words and language, web/tech, and Let’s talk story. And that’s without adding in any of the Hawaiian values it …