One morning, not too long ago, I woke up about 5:30am to go to work as I do every morning. But this time, Laila, my 5 year old daughter managed to wiggle out of her bed at about the same time. We spent the morning together before I headed off to work. As I headed out of the door, she said something that I will never forget. She said: “Daddy, I hope you have fun at work! What time will you be home because I’m going to miss you so much.”I knelt down and kissed her on the forehead and wished her a great day at school. I didn’t answer her question because I knew I didn’t have an answer as to what time I would get home; for I knew the daily life of a school administrator is one that is unpredictable and just LONG! On that drive to work, i thought of the countless hours I have spent away from my children since their birth. I have worked as a school administrator for the last 7 years and my duties have often caused me to miss many hours of quality time with both my children and my wife. Laila’s words reminded me of the story of the Mexican Fisherman. This is a story I have read before but Laila’s words moved me to reflect…
An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”
“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”
“Millions – then what?”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”