“BUBU Mum, what is adapt?” asked six year old Chayil as he chomped on a piece of sunnyside egg.
“You know how you go to a new place,” I began to explain, with my sister Jan grinning and whispering in tokples Hula that I’d just been hit for a six.
Thirty minutes earlier, she had been searching for the adaptor to connect the electric fryer to fry eggs.
“Has anyone seen the adaptor?” It had been in one of her five kitchenware bags.
Now here’s Chayil asking his question totally unrelated to eating.
How about a regular question like, “Why is this side burnt brown and the other side burnt white?” for instance.
I am usually quite alert around him but now fumbling, Jan used the cricket analogy. Me the hapless bowler and Chayil the bold batsman. Ugh!
He looked past me registering no understanding. I tried again.
“Remember last night, Mummy cooked the eggs and mixed it with noodles?” He nodded, a big smile slowly making its way across his broad face.
“This time, Bubu Jan has adapted that a bit and has fried the egg on both sides. Now you are enjoying eating the sunnyside egg.”
I took a week off after he refused to go where he usually spends his days at his sitter’s home.
One day we ate a pizza, watched an animated film and then another. Next day we went swimming, shocking his overly protective dad who told me his son couldn’t quite swim yet.
Then we coerced his parents into writing a letter asking for a place at the Carr Memorial Seventh Day Adventist School at Ensisi Valley. Chayil was so happy he agreed to return to his sitter the following Monday.
Sometimes I wished I’d do more and help out my married children own their own homes, have all their children go to the same decent school and have their own vehicle to pick up and drop off their children.
I googled and found that some Scandinavian countries provide for a parent who opt to look after their young child until they are old enough to be placed in a crèche. Also they had more women politicians who brought to parliament a woman’s nurturing and caring instinct making for worthwhile nation building decisions.
I thought of the Papua New Guinea Olympics Committee. Their children are picked up after school and brought to their office. They do their homework, read, rest or play outside in the yard. They drink and eat in the kitchen. After work at 4:30 they leave for home.
The culture of family is encouraged. Sir John Dawanicura, the committee board chairman and Auvita Rapilla, secretary general, have teenage children who greet staff members with a smile, a firm handshake, a hug and engage in little chats.
On staff are 10 women and eight men. Andy’s son and two delightful daughters play in the yard. Shareena’s dolly perches on a chair and smiles at everyone passing by.
Drew’s five year old son sits on the carpet next to him as he works. Sometimes Reni brings her baby in much to the delight of the girls, who, having spare time, carry him while Reni finishes off urgent to-dos before taking him to the doctor.
Lai’s curious three year old comes every now and then. He is happy playing with crayons and laughs out loud spontaneously. We all feel good and smile as we work.
Becka is a widow with two youngsters at Coronation Community Primary School. Every day she walks them to school and then collects them in the afternoon. One time her son was ill, he lay quietly on a rug waiting for her to take him to the hospital.
She took him to the free medical service provided by Haus Ruth at the PIH hospital at 4 Mile. This is a godsend because she is the only bread winner and getting this free service is invaluable.
A child not in school offers a passport to be a beggar on the streets. No amount of corrective community work, sermons on changing behaviour and detention teaches a child strong ethical conduct.
It is my conviction that a parent who is happy, caring, respectful and grateful excels at the workplace. Because of this behaviour, children are happy excelling at school and at play.
Making history in the Oceania region, Rapilla was elected at the 2016 Olympics in Rio to sit on the International Olympic Committee. She did it herself and got in on merit. Humble in nature, she attributes this success to the staff and the Board members who support her in the execution of the responsibilities of the PNGOC.
This is the kind of caring and selfless leadership that inspires staff to achieve. The PNGOC is an example of an employer that supports staff wellbeing which leads to high performance and success.
Not only do children happily wait around for their parents, staff arrive at the latest by 8:30am; staff go in the office vehicle shopping weekly, get a day off after working over the weekend and get dropped off home thrice a week.
This culture of family empowers staff to work well, which puts into action the PNGOC’s vision to be the best performing National Olympic Committee. In retrospect, it is first the leader’s actions that motivate the staff to achieve. The leader who walks with equality.
“Bubu Mum, have you seen Trolls?”
“No,” I respond. I wanted to watch Moana. They said that it was so nice. I did, it was just nice.
“Who are these Trolls,” I ask my grandson.
Happily he hops over to me. Smiling, he peers into my eyes and hugs me tight. He lets go.
“Bubu Mum, Trolls do only these things. They are happy, they sing, they hug and dance.”
“We could all do the same,” I respond.