Reduplication of haʻa #1; low, lowly, minimum, humble, degraded, meek, unpretentious, modest, unassuming, unobtrusive; lowness, humility.

Pukui, Mary Kawena, Hawaiian dictionary : Hawaiian-English, English-Hawaiian 


Sitting at Boston’s Logan Airport, feeling a strange mixture of sadness, optimism, exhaustion, excitement and parental pride, I am lost in my emotions. Just six hours ago, I hugged my daughter goodbye outside of her new apartment. Her graduate program begins next week and she needs to start studying, yet I regret not staying through the weekend…especially after hearing her say she wished I’d stay longer. While she certainly doesn’t need me, I wish we had more time setting up her place, bonding over Ted Lasso, eating pizza and making supply runs to Target. 

Four years ago, as she began her undergraduate degree, the vibe was resemblant yet so different. Back then, I took off a week as I envisioned spending a lot of time helping her set up her dorm, figuring out where her classes were, and getting to know the surrounding neighborhood. Instead, I spent much of the time alone. There was the requisite runs to Bed Bath and Beyond and IKEA, but the school already arranged for a charter bus to take all of the freshmen to Target. After dropping her belongings off at the dorm, parents were swiftly ushered off, allowing the students to begin their life as college students and being independent. On my last night in Tacoma, I begged to see her one last time. On the steps of her dorm, we had 5 minutes to sneak a hug and say goodbye before she had to return to a freshman social.

On the returning flight, I wept profusely while trying to appear nonchalant. Back then, if you asked me, I would’ve said I felt empty. But really, I was not empty. Loneliness and wistful memories of my daughter as an infant, clinging to my chest as she struggled to fall asleep completely filled my heart. As she rushed towards independence, her trailing wake, pulled on my heart and filled me with the longing to again be needed.

Now, as I prepare to board another plane, reflecting upon the teachings of Uncle Pono and Aunty Pilahi, I realize the stark difference between feeling empty and emptying yourself – especially if you need to be there for someone else. So despite being filled with those same feelings of nostalgia and yearning on this trip, I acknowledged their existence. In doing so, I did better at setting them aside so I could also make space to be present for my daughter and again set her on her way.

5 PURSUITS of Haʻahaʻa

Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

Please watch this: The Rabbit Listened written and read by Cori Doerrfeld. Then with you child, answer the following:

  • IDENTITY: When you are sad, what makes you feel better? What about other members of your family? What makes them feel sad? What helps them feel better? 
  • SKILLS: Create a Bubble Map that describes the main character, Taylor, and the rabbit.
  • INTELLECT: In the book, the rabbit practices empathetic listening. What is the meaning of empathy? How is it different from sympathy? (Here’s a good resource if needed.)
  • CRITICALITY: All of the other animals wanted to help Taylor feel better. Why were they unsuccessful? How might this be a lesson for us at school and in our family?
  • JOY: Uncle Pono said that to be a good listener, we must be haʻahaʻa or go empty. In other words we need to temporarily empty ourselves of our thoughts, feelings, and judgements and be filled by the words and nonverbal cues of someone else. Practice being haʻahaʻa by listening to a family member tell you a story of when they were your age.


During the upcoming Fall Break (October 9 – 13) the Hawaiʻi DOE is sponsoring a free virtual Fall Math camp for Hawaiʻi public elementary school students in grades 1, 2, and 3 (not including public charter schools). Space is limited and it fills up fast. Registration is open and available here.


We are continuing to Wear Pink for Maui on Wednesdays and invite all to continue joining us in letting “that light, that divine inspiration that Aunty Pilahi Paki says is given to you at your very beginning, come through and let your ALOHA join with the ALOHA of the collective to bring about healing.” 

DAILY VIRTUAL PIKO – please join us

The Daily Piko helps us become centered and ready to learn. It helps us get on the same page, hearing one message of focus for the day and the week. If you are able, we begin at 8 AM everyday except Wednesday when we conduct the piko in-person.



Wed, Aug 30, 2023, 4:30 – 5:30 PMSchool Community Council Mtg – Join by Zoom
Thur, Aug 31, 2023, 9:30 AMRoyal Hawaiian Band Performance
Tue, Sept 5, 2023, 8:30 AMSenator Akaka Foundation Book Celebration
Tue, Sept 12, 2023, 8:30 AMFrank DeLima Performance
Fri, Sept 22, 2023Waiver Day – No Students
Tue, Sept 26, 2023Fall Picture Taking Day
Sat, Sept 30, 2023Campus Beautification Day

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