Thursday, August 22, 2013

Aloha, Dad

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog about why I became an educator, and I shared that my parents inspired me.  They gave me roots to ground me and wings to pursue my passions.

Yesterday, my Dad passed away.  We will miss him dearly because he was a wonderful person who gave so much to others.  He is an example of unconditional love, never asking for anything in return.  As I reflect today on how he has impacted me, I realize how much Dad taught me, not through lectures or words, but through his actions.  What I have learned influences how I interact with others and how I approach life.

Treat others well - Dad loved being around others, and he instantly made strangers feel comfortable. If he had negative thoughts, he never shared them aloud.  Dad was assertive when he needed to be, but I never heard him raise his voice at anyone.  He was respected because of how he treated others.  As a school leader, this is how I strive to treat others.

Work hard - Dad never finished high school, but he rose through the ranks at his company through hard work.  My siblings and I all worked in the pineapple fields during the summer months, and that experience taught us the value of hard work.  Mom and Dad never had to convince us to study hard in school so we could go to college.  That summer experience alone made us realize that we wanted something better.  My Dad never had the opportunity to go to college, but he made sure all of his children had that chance, and he was proud that we are all successful in our chosen professions.

Serve others - At every school we attended, Dad served as a PTA officer, usually as the President.  He coached youth baseball and was a Lions Club member for 52 years.  Ever since I can remember, Dad was involved in the community.  Today, my siblings and I all give back to our community, through our professions and as volunteers, and we will continue to honor Dad by serving others.

Enjoy life - Dad loved fishing, golfing, growing and sharing vegetables from his garden, going to sports events, vacationing in Las Vegas, cooking his special chicken hekka and Filipino chicken, and get-togethers with his extended family.  He taught me that it is important to make time for fun. I have great memories while growing up of going to the beach, throwing ball and playing games outside, and running races (which Dad always won, even after giving us a big lead).  In recent years, I enjoyed golfing with Dad, and our last three trips to Las Vegas were with my parents.  Too often, we are so committed to our professional responsibilities that we forget to make time to enjoy life.  Today, I work hard, but I also make time to have fun and to relax.

A few days before Dad's surgery, my husband and I took my parents out to dinner.  We had a great time, reminiscing about the past and sharing our hopes for the future. Dad was so hopeful that the surgery would be a success, and we talked about him going fishing or golfing again. Things don't always work out as we hope, but for me, the wonderful memories of Dad and the way he lived his life will forever influence me as I strive to positively impact those around me.

Thank you, Dad, for all you taught me.

I'm glad Dad was able to celebrate with me at a luncheon for the District Principal of the Year award in April.


  1. Thank you for sharing these wonderful memories. I am laughing picturing you all racing Grandpa, and him not letting you win! :)

    1. Marissa, Grandpa loved his grandchildren and was so proud that all of you enjoyed spending time with him. He will be smiling down at you and Jeremy on your special day.

  2. Beautiful story, Jan. Family time is often overlooked. I need to make it more of a priority, starting today.

    1. Thank you, Jay. The job responsibilities will always be there; family is most important. Remember the song, "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin? We don't want to be remembered for NOT being there for our children. Take care, and have a wonderful school year!

  3. Jan, just read this again. Wonderful memories of dad.