Listen, Watch and Learn by Estela Garay Caballero

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”
—Dorothea Lange


Perhaps if he had been born in different circumstances, he would have been able to fully develop the side of him he passed on to his children.  He passed it on in his own way.  He was never the kind to sit you down and tell you he was going to teach you something.  He was artistic and an inventor.

As I read business books and books on leadership, I see the messages he shared.  There was a tale once in one of those books I knew he never read.  Especially at the time he told this to me.  It was a particularly difficult time for me.  He saw I was excited at my first job leading people.  He listened quietly as I told him of things I was sure he never experienced, maybe even trying to impress him a little.  I complained about how some of the people I was supposed to manage didn’t have any respect for what I was saying. I had better ways about accomplishing this or that. He listened and nodded every once in a while.  Only at the end did he share these words. He said, “You know Big Tegua, what happens when you put a frog in boiling water?  It jumps out right?  What if you get that frog and put him in water he’s used to.  You still have to boil the frog but you do it slowly.  He notices the change but it’s slow enough not to make him scared.”  More than 10 years later, I would read a similar story in a book.  I wondered how my father could have known the same story.  He liked to read sometimes but mostly it was seed and tree nursery catalogs.  When I was about 11 years old, he had worked himself up in the same company.  He didn’t know English when he started at the tree nursery.  He was a handsome young Mexican man, almost still a boy really.  He had striking green eyes and a good build. In 11 years of work, he became a manager of a large tree nursery.  They say the eyes were from his father. A man I never knew much of and have only seen one picture.  Many of my fathers brothers had variations of the eyes.  Interestingly, none of his sisters had the eyes.  Of my four brothers and one sister, I am the only one with brown eyes.  I resemble my father in many ways but the eyes are not one of those ways.  He would speak.  I would listen.  Now, he speaks.  I listen.  Now I understand and can appreciate the wisdom of his words.

He asked me to help gather his tax papers one year.  I knew it was a lot but didn’t appreciate how much he had accomplished until I entered the working world myself.  Even at the time of the frog story, I was at half of what he earned.  It took many more years, certifications and college to get close.

I dropped my camera about a month ago.  My cell is a relic that takes bad pictures.  It will be some time before I get a new one.  I have been thinking about upgrading the phone after reading that some cells take better pictures than the camera I had.  It was 7 years old and I never would have suspected it had been left in the dust by a phone.

I went through withdrawal.  Then I pushed the camera button on my phone and started clicking away.  I knew they were probably not pictures I could use but there is something about recording a bit of time.  Sharing or posting the moment is fun but now I take the pictures for me.  I’m sure I will get a new camera or phone/camera soon.  In the meantime, I am enjoying going over the treasures I have.

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