February 10, 2019

The wisdom of Pa Bear

His laughter is infectious.

Once he starts, I follow. For the sheer joy of it.
And Wendy, listening in, can’t help herself either.

This happens every Sunday evening.
I call him at 5:00 pm our time: 12:00 pm in East Florida.
And we laugh and cry together.

He’s my Dad. My Papa.
We call him, affectionately, Our Pa Bear.

Yes, he’s slowing down in his reactions.
So would you, aged 94.

But here’s what’s fascinating…

He hasn’t lost his quick Jamaican humour. His native wit.
Our children adore him for that.
Just as they love the sound of his patois.
And he’s smarter than the average bear, that’s for sure.

I remember questioning some decisions he was making, five years ago.
I discussed this with his beloved friends and neighbours, Mary and Marvin.

Marvin commented:
“Dave. When it comes to money, your Mum and Dad have been around the block a few more times than we have.
You might just want to give them the benefit of the doubt.”


I reminds me of that verse I relearned in my 40’s:

“When I was 5 years old, I thought my Daddy knew everything.
By the time I was 15 , I had discovered my Dad was an idiot.
But when I reached 25 years, I was amazed at how smart my Dad was becoming.
Now I’m 45, I realise that my Dad knows everything!”

I never stop learning from him. Particularly in the last few years.
I hope that process never stops whilst he’s still here.

Life Long Learning.
It’s one of the genuine Elixirs of Youth.

The day we think we know it all – in business or life – is the day that our lives start diminishing.
We get smaller.

There are times in my coaching when I leave a conversation thinking: “Wow! I was almost as good as my two coaches (Don and Jane)!”

During those times I feel as if I had used the finest of scalpels, in the gentlest, deftest of ways, to help my client lift the problem clean out of their life.

There are times when I return to my desk, and I swear I see my former french teacher’s red scribble on my Post-It note:
“Could Do Better.”

I had behaved more like a surgeon wearing gardening gloves and galoshes.
So, out comes the notes from my coaching courses.
It’s time to relearn.

Now, the temptation might be to learn more… so that we can strut more, impress more, or earn more.
Plenty of people do that.

I’ve come to appreciate that the greatest delight comes in learning… so that we can better serve.

And then a strange thing happens:
When we genuinely serve, rather than try to impress, coerce or persuade…
Our love grows for the people that we serve.

If we’re lucky, we share with them things that make a difference to the Joy in their lives.
Things that matter.

There you have it:

To Learn.
To Love.
To Matter.

Pa Bear would approve.