I was recently considering a new business opportunity and my son asked me a simple question: "Why do you want to do it?"
I quickly blabbered out my best kōrero and he replied, "You have told me lots of things, but I still haven't heard why you want to do it. Papa, I am interested in your why."
I didn't reply for a long time. I knew it was time to stop and think. Many minutes later I changed the subject.
Hours later I was still thinking about his question and asking myself why I wanted to commit my time, resources, energy, hinengaro (mind), wairua, whānau, ponotanga (faith) and many years of training and experience to this new business opportunity.
Especially since a friend had told me a few days earlier that he and I needed to take heed of what we committed ourselves to.
"Our time is precious," he had said, "and you and I need to value our time my friend. Furthermore, we need to ensure that others are valuing our time as well."
Those conversations got me thinking about why I had committed to things in my past and why I would do anything in my future.
It was time to find my "why" regarding this future business opportunity.
I started by looking back into my past.
Learning te reo Māori.
I initially studied te reo Māori to pass exams and get qualifications.
I studied te reo at Western Heights High School with Mr Green, who was an excellent teacher.
I also studied te reo at Massey University with excellent lecturers such as Pare Richardson and Taiarahia Black.
However, I did not learn te reo for any of them. I learned it for a piece of paper. A qualification.
Consequently, within a year, even though I had the qualification, I had forgotten most of the te reo I had learnt.
That changed a few years later when my Pākehā wife Carolyn came home from one of her Massey University lectures and stated that if we were blessed with children, we should only speak te reo Māori with them.
My "why" for learning te reo was no longer about me and getting a qualification.
It was about the next generation. My "why" was now bigger than myself.
Consequently, many years later, I am still learning te reo Māori and as my current excellent te reo tutor Anaha Hiini says, "Ko nga rohenga o toku reo, nga rohenga o toku ao. The peripheries of my vernacular, are the boundaries of my world."
So how does your current "why" affect your future generations and the world you will create for them? How are the peripheries of your "why" affecting the boundaries of your world?
Past and current mentors and educators.
I have had a blessed educational life. Many teachers and mentors such as Violet Pelham, Phil George, Flash Gordon, Arapeta Tahana, Pihopa Kingi, Tauri Morgan, Sam Hahunga, Keepa and George Hiini, Mita Mohi, Rawiri Te Whare, Ian Scott and others.
They spring quickly to mind along with their shared pieces of wisdom such as uncle Mita's "ko au ko koe, ko koe ko au", "I am you and you are me".
Uncle Tauri's, MBA - Māori Boy from Awahou - and Pihopa Kingi, who spoke more through his actions than any of his words.
If you needed him, he was there, and he stayed there until the very end.
However, there is one who stands out for me. That person is my father, Tommy Bidois.
He continues to teach me many things through his current actions and words and there is one piece of his wisdom that has become a part of my why. Look after No 1.
Earlier this week, we commemorated Anzac Day.
We remembered those who had served for our sakes and on our behalf for our freedom.
They defended our peace while fighting on the shores and lands of other places. Distant places.
Many died in those places. We acknowledged their courage, their commitment, their sacrifices and their "why". They are and always will be our heroes.
My father is one of my current living heroes.
He served in Malaysia as a scout in the 1st Battalion in Malaysia. His role was to scout the area ahead of his platoon, on his own.
He had to look after himself, No 1, so he could look after the others. Our "why" needs to include looking after ourselves, for the sake of others.
Our "why" is about our future and current generations. People like my father and my son who continue to teach and challenge us each day.
Our "why" is also about our past generations and the wisdom, courage and sacrifices they made for us. We will remember them, but will future generations remember us?
Our "why" will determine that.
- Ngahihi o te ra Bidois is an international Keynote speaker, businessman, author, husband, father and MBA. A Māori Boy from Awahou. See www.ngahibidois.com