Jones’ departure holds greater lesson for us all
My 5-year-old daughter, Joy, asked me the other night, "Why isn't June Jones teaching the UH football players anymore?" In between feeding my 1-year-old and picking up the food that she enjoys throwing on the floor, I mindlessly reacted by saying, "He wasn't happy." Then I realized how awful that must have sounded to her, given all the success she has been hearing and experiencing since we are University of Hawaii football season-ticket holders.
I began to wonder if she thought Jones left UH because he was bored. Would she think that it's OK to just walk away from something if you are no longer happy in a situation? Would she think that June is a spoiled brat? Oh no. I had to think of something else to say. I couldn't think of an adequate response fast enough, so I left it at that and hoped that she would forget what I said.
As we all now know, there was so much more involved in June's decision to leave than his not being "happy."
I'm glad my daughter asked me that question, because it made me think about it at a deeper level and I've been pondering it since she asked it. UH President David McClain hit the nail on the head when he said, "Exceptional performance deserves exceptional recognition." That is so true. We all know what it feels like when someone special leaves our workplace and decides to work somewhere else.
I can't help but ask myself, "Was there something else that we could have done to keep him here? Did we appreciate him enough?" Or, better yet, "Did we tell him how much we valued him?" It also led me to think about people whom I value and appreciate -- not just at the workplace, but people in my family, at church, at my daughter's school and among our circle of friends. Do I tell them that I appreciate them?
June will be missed. I know that he knows the people of Hawaii appreciated him. Unfortunately, he was not given the "exceptional recognition" that he and his program so richly deserved. On a positive note, we should feel honored that he chose Hawaii to share his gifts for the past nine years.
I have never met Jones, but I do wish him well and hope that Southern Methodist University, as well as the entire state of Texas, will be able to experience some of the magic that he shared and left with us.
I don't even consider myself a die-hard football fan. However, I do consider myself a June Jones appreciator. I am grateful for the phenomenal football season that we had and also thankful for the greater lesson in all of this.
Exceptional performance does deserve exceptional recognition.
Laurie Toma Libarios is a counselor at Leeward Community College.