ALOHA FOCUS FOR THE WEEK: HAʻAHAʻA
Redup. of haʻa; low, lowly, minimum, humble, degraded, meek, unpretentious, modest, unassuming, unobtrusive; lowness, humility. (Pukui-Elbert)
Christian pastor Rick Warren once wrote, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; It’s thinking of yourself less.” Unknowingly, Pastor Warren described what Aunty Pilahi Paki described as behaving haʻahaʻa. Uncle Pono Shim said that to be haʻahaʻa, we are so humble that we empty ourselves of our ego. In that way, we can truly listen without judgement and be there for others.
Diminishing our ego, even for short periods of time, can be a very difficult practice. Yet, when we think in terms of how we are connected with others and how these connections contribute to who we are, it’s easier to be humble. Dr. Mae Jamison, the subject of this week’s read aloud, was once asked how she became so confident and intrinsically driven as a child. She decisively attributed her strength of character to her parents. “I think it comes from choosing your parents well! I think parents have an incredible impact on their kids.” As a pioneering astronaut, medical doctor, engineer, and dancer, Dr. Jemison shared how her parents encouraged her to talk about controversial topics including those about women, let alone those of color, breaking into the fields of engineering and astrophysics. “They didn’t always agree with me,” she says. “The difference was I was allowed to have those conversations. I was allowed to argue my case.” In other words, her parents practiced being haʻahaʻa. They listened to Dr. Jemison and did not dismiss her thoughts. Instead, they encouraged her to act upon her dreams.
Throughout her career, Dr. Jemison overcame obstacles of racial discrimination and hate to achieve numerous accomplishments including becoming the first woman of color to travel in space. While talented and smart, Dr. Jemison attributes success to thinking big and putting in the hard work, values taught by her parents through their humble support.
“Never be limited by other people’s imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination.”
Dr. Mae Jemison
To be HAʻAHAʻA,
- Take a deep and cleansing breath;
- As you exhale, imagine emptying yourself of your ego;
- Listen without thinking about yourself;
- Share something back encouraging that shows you heard what was shared with you.
5 PURSUITS of HAʻAHAʻA:
Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad
Please watch this: Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed, illustrations by Stasia Burrington. Then with you child, answer the following:
IDENTITY: In this story, both of Mae’s parents are haʻahaʻa as they listened fully and then encouraged Mae in pursuing her dreams. Share a story of how someone you looked up to were haʻahaʻa with you.
SKILLS: This story is based on a true story. What genre of literature would this fall into? What details from the story might support your claim?
INTELLECT: In 1992, the Mae in the story grew up to become Dr. Mae Jamison and became the first African American woman to travel in space. Research some of the women who paved the way for Dr. Jamison including those who worked at NASA and served as astronauts.
CRITICALITY: The discrimination Mae faced in becoming an astronaut was hinted at in the story. In real life, as one of the few African American students in her engineering classes, Dr. Jemison faced racial discrimination by her professors. Yet, she persevered in part driven by her parents being haʻahaʻa and unflaggingly supporting her dreams. How might you be haʻahaʻa and support someone to overcome great obstacles?
JOY: Your challenge for this week is to spread joy by being haʻahaʻa, listening to someone and encouraging them like Mae’s parents.
March is Women’s History Month
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