During the six years that my father, Tifaga, worked on the construction sites for CCH and PCC he was not paid for his labors. That required a great sacrifice from our family because if daddy wasn’t getting paid, how were we supposed to eat? How were we supposed to buy the everyday things that we needed?
I am grateful that my dad had the forethought to plant breadfruit, coconut & banana trees in our yard when he first arrived in Hawaii in 1947. By 1958 these trees were able to bear fruit that was sufficient to help sustain our family during these lean years. That is what we ate during that time: breadfruit, coconuts and bananas. God truly provided a way for our family.
From Monday to Friday my father, Tifaga, worked for the LDS Church as a labor missionary. However, on Saturdays he worked for his family. It is this ONE day, Saturday that I want to talk about. This was the only day out of the week that he could use to earn money to support his family. He did this by painting houses.
Every Saturday my dad worked very hard from sun up to sun down. He would bring me and my brothers Alvin and Lincoln to help him out because he wanted to maximize all his resources and efforts. Looking back, I now see that he needed us to do in one day (Saturday) what he couldn’t do in five days (Monday through Friday). The best way he knew how to do that was to have his sons help him.
I was a 14-year-old boy and the last thing I wanted to do on a Saturday was work. All the other boys my age were out playing and it bothered me that I couldn’t do the same. Little did I know that from these Saturdays spent working and painting with my father, that I would accumulate priceless memories and lessons that would shape me into the person that I am today.
I developed important habits in my life from these years of working with my dad. The first was learning the value of hard work. Painting houses was a hard and detailed job. I was in charge of preparing the houses by sanding the surfaces that were to be painted. Secondly I had to build scaffolds so that my dad could paint the areas without falling or losing his balance. I then learned how to hold the brush properly so that my stroke would not let the paint run.
My dad had a certain routine that we had to follow. Everything had to be done in a certain order and in a certain way. My dad was very meticulous about his work, he took pride in doing a good job on the first try because it saved time having to go back and correct mistakes made. My dad believed that doing a good job the first time is how you stay in business.
Lastly, and most importantly, from these Saturdays spent painting with my father I learned not to waste the daylight by being idle. I wasn’t allowed to sleep in because we were wasting daylight of the one day we had to work for the family. My father’s voice still rings in my ears as I can hear him say, “Do not waste the daylight. Work while the sun shines.”
submitted by Ron Mataalii