HAʻAHAʻA AND AVOIDING RUTS

Haʻahaʻa: to go empty, be empty…the practice is listening. A deep listening below the words in the conversation. Listen to the words and also listen for where the words are coming from. What is causing those words? From the cause, what is the intention of the person who is expressing the words? Where do the words go? Where do they not go? What are the responses to the words? What are the words that are not being heard or spoken?

Pilahi Paki as shared by Pono Shim to The Mānoa Heritage Center.

ALOHA FOCUS FOR THE WEEK: HAʻAHAʻA

Nearly twenty years ago, I remember listening to a radio segment on All Things Considered, as I drove home from work. Funnily, I can still picture myself turning onto Kalanianaole Highway as the segment played. The premise stood out because it struck a chord and eventually became a defining creed for me by which I decided to will live my life. 

The segment featured a renown neuroscientist, Robert Sapolsky who found a relationship between our age and when we typically stop listening to new music, trying new food, or doing new things. After canvasing radio stations, sushi restaurants in the Midwest, and body piercing shops, he found “By age 35, if a hot new musician comes around, no matter how wonderful she is, most people don’t care. Their window for musical adventure, it’s closed.” Similarly, by age 39, people are 95% assuredly not trying new foods, especially those that seem risky or adventurous. As for getting one’s tongue pierced, age 24 is when nearly all people close the door. 

Curiously, this same behavior can be observed in aging bears, cats, and baboons. For example, when a troop of baboons were forced to move far from home, the younger ones adventurously explored new sources of nourishment. Then then taught others what was good to eat. However, the older baboons refused to try any food they had never seen before. Only the younger generation changed their diets.

At the time, Dr. Spaolsky could not offer any solid cause for these observations and why they occurred in your thirties. Nonetheless, he did surmise, “I think you get to a time in life where by definition stuff’s turning to quicksand and wherever you can get some solid footing of the familiar suddenly becomes real comforting.” However, he notes, “while continuity may make us comfortable, it’s when you dare to do that new thing – that’s when you grow.”

Hearing that story jolted me. Being in my thirties at the time, I questioned whether I had settled into the usuals; the same music, the same order from the same restaurants, the same routine. Especially being a teacher, I aspired to be lifelong learner to model for my students and I could not truly be one if chose to be on repeat for the rest of my life. I began listening to Sounds Eclectic which provided a feed of new, upcoming artists. I went to restaurants I’d never been before and ate foods I hadn’t previously dare try (ie eating chicken feet, cow tongue, and pork jowls for the first time since then). While I eschewed getting my tongue pierced, I doubled down on reading a lot about the cutting edge research in education that I could try in my classroom. 

While I do still find comfort in listening to my favorite music of the past and eating foods of my childhood, I continue to strive to be open to the novel. In some ways, it keeps me young but in better ways, I feel it helps me be wise. How can I cast judgement on something I’ve never tried? How can I grow if I refuse to stretch myself beyond my areas of comfort? As Dr. Spaolsky said in that story, “an open mind is a prerequisite to an open heart.” 

Listen to the full segment at: https://www.npr.org/2006/08/15/5652676/does-age-quash-our-spirit-of-adventure


5 PURSUITS of LŌKAHI:

Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

Please watch The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps  written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter. Then with you child, answer the following:

  • IDENTITY: Hawaiian ancestors practiced kilo to learn about nature and help them better care for the ʻāina. The Japanese practiced Shoshin by being curious and open to new experiences similar to a toddler. Talk with your kupuna about how your ancestors practiced observation and for what purposes.
  • SKILLS: In real life, Dr. Leakey selected Jane Goodall to study the chimpanzees because she could be haʻahaʻa and study them with an open mind. From the story, provide evidence of that and other ALOHA values Jane practiced in her study and protection of the chimpanzees.
  • INTELLECT: Like the chimpanzees, many Native Hawaiian animals and plants are endangered. Research one Native Hawaiian species in particular.
  • CRITICALITY: Jane Goodall spoke out and educated others on how and why the chimpanzees must be protected. How might you help protect the many endangered Native Hawaiian animals and plants?
  • JOY: With your kupuna, take a hike in your community and practice nature journaling

MAHALO PIHA FUN RUN COMMITTEE & DONORS

Please join me in wishing a huge mahalo to our Fun Run Committee led by Tammy Shigezawa. Similar to May Day, the committee had to endure the unpredictability of the weather and adjust.

Fortunately, the rescheduled date turned out perfect and everyone involved thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Mahalo nui loa also to everyone that generously donated to this effort. A portion of the funds will be given to students and teachers of King Kamehameha III Elementary, one of the schools in Lahaina that was destroyed in last year’s wild fire. The remaining balance will be used to fund further improvements in the cafeteria, library, and for our performing arts program.

MAY DAY SHOUT-OUT

Lina-Girl from Na Waiho’olu’u o ke Anuenue gives a shout-out to our aloha-filled May Day!

CONTINUED PRACTICES:

NOʻAHUNA OF ALOHA

See Uncle Pono Shim explain the Noʻahuna, the esoteric meaning, of Aloha as taught to him by Aunty Pilahi, the Keeper of Secrets.

WEAR PINK FOR MAUI WEDNESDAYS

Join 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

At the Daily Piko, we share thoughts on the Aloha value for the week which helps us become centered and ready to learn. We begin at 8 AM everyday except Wednesdays.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Wed, May 29School Ends at 2 PM (Switch with 5/30)Gr 6 Promotion Ceremony
Thur, May 30Awards CeremonySchool Ends at 1:15 PMLast day of school

ʻOLUʻOLU AND “PARENTING”

ʻOluʻolu:  Gentle like carrying a baby…the practice is gentle strength. To be ‘olu‘olu is to be gentle in your relationship and acknowledging (or finding/recognizing) it’s significance to you. ‘Olu‘olu has the strong side as well and it is the unseen kuleana of gentle, “strength”. Gentle enough to not bruise or hurt baby but strong enough to carry the baby without dropping

baby. Restraint and unbreakable spirit/foundation. It is the response to do the right thing at the right time especially in the uncomfortable situations with the full intention of caring for someone or something in the larger context (heaven’s perspective).

Pilahi Paki as shared by Pono Shim to The Mānoa Heritage Center.

ALOHA FOCUS FOR THE WEEK: ʻOLUʻOLU

Twenty-three years ago, when my daughter Zoe was born, I had a very different idea of what it takes to raise a child. I made conscious effort not to use physical discipline, such as how I was raised. I still remember thick wooden ruler that left a lasting welt on my lemu (behind) but not so lasting that it deterred me from misbehaving and tormenting my sister. Despite my intentions, I unconsciously employed the same, punishment-based philosophy my parents held. Instead of the wooden ruler, I used time-outs and correcting her in front of the entire family. However, rebelliousness must be genetic as Zoe, like myself, resisted responding to the punishments. Instead, she got more stealth, more deceptive. 

By the time Zoe was in the eight grade, I learned about Growth Mindsets, Restorative Practices (similar to hoʻoponopono), and the Collaborative Problem-Solving process. These sources jolted me into rethinking how I disciplined both at school and at home. At the same time, I read The Gardener and the Carpenter by Alison Gopnik, a UC Berkeley psychology and philosophy professor, who studied how we raise children. Like my own upbringing, I had been acting like a carpenter. As Gopnik noted, I thought, “if you just do the right things, get the right skills, read the right books, you’re going to be able to shape your child into a particular kind of adult.” I felt like I had a blueprint for my daughter’s success and if I controlled everything, I could build a successful adult. Part of that blueprint included directing her through her childhood through a series of rewards and punishments. 

Arrogantly, I thought I could control Zoe. Yet, this was in direct contrast to the type of adult I hoped she would be: a fiercely independent thinker, unswayed by peer pressure, who would forge her own path to success. So how was I teaching her to be independent if I wasn’t allowing her to think for herself? I did not provide her the chance to correct her own wrongs and learn from her own failures.  

Gopnik argues we should instead strive to be gardeners where it is ”much more about providing a protected space in which unexpected things can happen than it is like shaping a child into a particular kind of desirable adult.” Like a gardener, you still need to be dedicated and work hard, conditioning the soil by providing positive learning experiences and weeding out potential harm. Yet, like a gardener facing the weather, I had to accept that much of what happens in a child’s life is out of my control. Gopnik adds, “one thing about being a gardener is you never know what’s going to happen in the garden. The things that you plan, fail but then wonderful things happen that you haven’t actually planned. And there’s actually a deeper reason for that. And the reason is that what being a gardener is all about is creating a rich, nurturant but also variable, diverse, dynamic ecosystem in which many, many different things can happen and a system that can respond to the environment in unpredictable kinds of ways.”

So around that time, I tried to reverse course and adopt a new tact with Zoe. Unfortunately, some of her habits of thinking were already formed and it took a while to correct the mistakes I made as a younger parent, such as ingraining some fixed mindset thinking. Happily, her rebelliousness ended up working in her favor. She independently choose to cancel her social media accounts when the false projection of people’s lives started to affect her self-worth. She is also now very honest (sometimes too honest, as she’ll often start her sentence with “No offense but” and then finish with something very honest but somewhat offensive).

Truthfully, I am still figuring things out as a parent. Now in a different phase, I must remind myself to not be so controlling, especially as she undergoes major life decisions. Instead, I must be ʻoluʻolu, listen with a balance of guidance and acceptance, and continue to provide a “protected space” where unexpected, wonderful things can continue to blossom.


5 PURSUITS of LŌKAHI:

Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

Please watch Many Shapes of Clay: A Story of Healing   written and illustrated by Kenesha Sneed. Then with you child, answer the following:

  • IDENTITY: Talk with your kupuna about someone that passed away and they miss. What are favorite or cherished memories they have about them?
  • SKILLS: The story describes Eisha’s feeling as too heavy to lift. Based on the artwork and text, what kind of feeling do you think that is? Have you ever felt this way?
  • INTELLECT: Art can be a powerful way of healing those who are suffering with the loss of a loved one or those who experienced trauma. Similar to what occurs in this story, read about how these Bangladeshi children used art to strengthen their mental health.
  • CRITICALITY: Think of ways art can be a loving expression of ʻoluʻolu when facing a challenging situation. 
  • JOY: With your ʻohana, make clay and create an art piece inspired by a loved one you’ve lost.

MAHALO PIHA MAY DAY COMMITTEE

It bears repeating how much gratitude I have for our May Day Committee and all of our staff for their grit, flexibility, and loving dedication to our students in making our first (since 2018) large scale, in-person May Day celebration happen. Despite the incessant downpour, our team grit their teeth – especially our teachers and their choreographers –  and converted their whole field choreography to one that could fit in a third of the space.

Mahalo piha especially to Michelle Bogus and Yihwa Hema for coordinating the May Day court and to Cherisse Yamada, our May Day Chair and her hardworking team (Kalei Tim Sing, Māpuana Leong, Wali Camvel, Dee Fujinaka, Ernel Levine, Lauren Collier, Melissa Lee, Dominique Ho, Miyuki Sekimitsu, Connie Chinen, Michelle Nagaishi, Jacque Yoshizumi, Pearla Tsukayama, Madi Mizuno, Kēhau Elliston, ‘Ānela Wells, Bree Perreira, Ellen Sakurai, Chatri Lau, Stuart Yano, Headstart Preschool, our custodial staff, office staff, and cafeteria staff) who each played important and significant roles in ensuring the day went without a hitch. I am also grateful for the members of Na Wai Ho`olu`u O Ke `Anuenue comprised of our beloved former teacher, Kumu Bella, 6th grade parent Luisa Pelletier, Lina Girl Langi, and Delia Parker-Ulima along with 5th grade parent Kekoa Kaluhiwa who blessed our event with beautifully melodic live music. Mahalo also to former parent, Lono of Lono’s Soundman who provided the professional grade sound system that allowed our students to shine. Mahalo nui loa to our May Day court parents as well as those of our KES ʻohana that volunteered to come extra early to decorate and stay after the show to clean-up. I also want to mahalo all who attended the event, braving the rain and mud and in the end, provided such generous praise. We are truly blessed for our Kāneʻohe Elementary School community.


CONTINUED PRACTICES:

NOʻAHUNA OF ALOHA

See Uncle Pono Shim explain the Noʻahuna, the esoteric meaning, of Aloha as taught to him by Aunty Pilahi, the Keeper of Secrets.

WEAR PINK FOR MAUI WEDNESDAYS

Join 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

At the Daily Piko, we share thoughts on the Aloha value for the week which helps us become centered and ready to learn. We begin at 8 AM everyday except Wednesdays.


UPCOMING EVENTS

Wed, May 22Fun Run Rescheduled
Wed, May 29School Ends at 2 PM (Switch with 5/30) Gr 6 Promotion Ceremony
Thur, May 30Awards Ceremony School Ends at 1:15 PM Last day of school

LŌKAHI OF SERVICE

Lōkahi:  To be connected or undivided (already whole)…the practice is in recognizing the connection and expressing through storytelling. To look for and/or recognize the connections we have (which may not be readily recognizable) and then find the story which unveils the connection. It also conveys a desire for harmony from within and from that peaceful place looking for the “one story” or the “story from heaven’s perspective” where there are no sides (walls, prejudices, biases, silos, agendas).

Pilahi Paki as shared by Pono Shim to The Mānoa Heritage Center.

ALOHA FOCUS FOR THE WEEK: LŌKAHI

What do 50 active duty service members from the military, a group of 20 juniors from Kamehameha that created their own nonprofit, a collection of parents and their children, and a core team of Kāneʻohe Elementary staff have in common? With such a disparate assembly of folks spanning a wide age range, ethnic backgrounds, religions, socioeconomic situations, and an abundance of distinctive categories that set us apart, commonalities might be difficult to find. Yet, we were all gathered in one place, at the same time, and working towards one outcome. 

Queen Liliuokalani once said, “To gain the kingdom of heaven is to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen, and to know the unknowable — that is Aloha.  All things in this world are two; in heaven, there is but one” Our eyes and ears often deceive us. We judge, applying our own narratives, colored by our own experiences. We think our memories are infallible, yet time twists and degrades those recollections to fit the stories we tell. The first fish we caught gets bigger over time. Our first kiss, lasts longer and feels more fraught the farther away from it we get. Even with a historically traumatic event such as 9/11, years later witnesses will dispute what they wrote a week after the attack.1 What we hear, see and think are flawed. But when we can haʻahaʻa, set aside our ego and judgements, we can know aloha. When we take a heavenly perspective, we can perceive lōkahi and understand how we are connected.

So what did we have in common? What connected us this past Saturday? We were all there to help. We gave up a fraction of our precious weekend to show akahai to Kāneʻohe Elementary. That was our lōkahi.

Mahalo nui loa to all who generously gave of their time and efforts to mālama our campus including our ʻohana, staff, military partners, Pencils for People, Sustʻāinabilty club and Rep. Scot Matayoshi. Mahalo Piha to Jolyn Kresge, Wali Camvel, Kalei Tim Sing, and Dee Fujinaka for organizing this amazing event that activated over 100 volunteers.

1 https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/911-memory-accuracy/


5 PURSUITS of LŌKAHI:

Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

Please watch Eyes that Weave the World’s Wonders  written by Joanna Ho and Liz Kleinrock, with illustrator Dung Ho. Then with you child, answer the following:

  • IDENTITY: Talk with your kupuna about what they see when they look at you.
  • SKILLS: Point out the many examples of descriptive language the authors use to illustrate the connections the main character feels with her parents. 
  • INTELLECT: Adoption is a common way in which families are brought together. In the Hawaiian culture, to hānai a child was a regular practice. Research about hānai here or learn from a kupuna familiar with the practice.
  • CRITICALITY: The authors wrote this and other books because growing up, they never saw themselves represented in any book. Thinking about those in your life, whose stories might still be underrepresented in books?
  • JOY: Do something with your family that they find joyful.

MAHALO PIHA KES OHANA FOR STAFF APPRECIATION WEEK

On behalf of the faculty and staff of Kāneʻohe Elementary, we are so thankful for the gifts appreciation, kind words, and expressions of aloha you’ve shown over the past week. We truly treasure our families and feel so blessed to be teaching your children. Mahalo piha for helping us feel valued in return.

THE DANGERS OF DISTRACTED PARENTING

I recently read an article posted in The Atlantic that built upon research asserting children using phones harmful to their development. It maintained that parents incessantly using phones are also negatively impacting children. Educational research has already shown that the language and conversational exchanges between adults and children are the best predictor of achievement in school. So when that communication is stunted or interrupted by notifications and texts, then children lose the chance to develop their language.

Further, when parents becomes so distracted by their phones, they “not only miss emotional cues but actually misread them.” They also inadvertently communicate “through his or her non-engagement that the child is less valuable than an email” (Or text, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc). The article further explains that children will naturally attempt to regain the parent’s attention, including throwing tantrums – a behavior we are seeing with greater frequency here in school. Consequently, this and the previous article make a strong argument for putting our phones down and keeping them out of our children’s hands for as long as possible.

Read more at: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/07/the-dangers-of-distracted-parenting/561752/?utm_campaign=one-story-to-read-today&utm_content=20240508&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=One+Story+to+Read+Today 


CONTINUED PRACTICES:

NOʻAHUNA OF ALOHA

See Uncle Pono Shim explain the Noʻahuna, the esoteric meaning, of Aloha as taught to him by Aunty Pilahi, the Keeper of Secrets.

WEAR PINK FOR MAUI WEDNESDAYS

Join 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

At the Daily Piko, we share thoughts on the Aloha value for the week which helps us become centered and ready to learn. We begin at 8 AM everyday except Wednesdays.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Wed, May 15, 6:30 PMKES Ohana Mtg – Hybrid 
Attend in-person at the library -or-Attend via Zoom
Fri, May 17May Day
Wed, May 22Fun Run Rescheduled
Wed, May 29School Ends at 2 PM (Switch with 5/30)
Gr 6 Promotion Ceremony
Thur, May 30Awards CeremonySchool Ends at 1:15 PM
Last day of school

THE INNOVATION OF AKAHAI

Akahai: Leaving better than you found it –with white gloves…the practice is grace. White gloves give the image of leaving someone clean and not staining them or leaving a blemish or scar. To leave someone unblemished is to share akahai. It does not carry an expectation of an award or reward or reciprocity, it is to share our best fish and keep our less than best fish.

Pilahi Paki as shared by Pono Shim to The Mānoa Heritage Center.

ALOHA FOCUS FOR THE WEEK: AKAHAI

During the height of the pandemic, COVID case counts furiously escalated, filling the limited space in our hospitals. As the number of beds ran short and patients were housed in makeshift quarters, the number of available life-sustaining ventilators were also dwindling. Each day, as we tracked the multiplying cases, the hope for newly hospitalized patients seemed grim. With no cure nor a vaccine, all but the essential workers isolated themselves in their homes resulting in a strange cocktail of feelings of security and a growing sense of helplessness. 

For Olin Lagon, sitting at home and doing nothing about the crisis we faced was unacceptable. For those that only know Olin on paper, one might think he’s an impenetrable genius. After all, his many accomplishments encompass holding numerous patents including one for crowdsourcing (the technology behind GoFundMe and myriad other sites) and creating groundbreaking software used by Nike, Disney, FedEx and other Fortune 500 companies. But those that know Olin in person, readily see his giving heart, his compassion for those who struggle in our community, and the promise he sees in all kids regardless of background. Olin is a doer, an activator who possesses not just the heart, but the intelligence and creativity to see possibilities hidden to most others. Yet, Olin is also a regular guy, quick with a self-deprecating joke or humbling anecdote. Hence it was predictable that Olin would feel aloha for those in need and immerse himself in a project that utilized his technological talents to solve the growing shortage of ventilators. 

Olin, along with a team of Hawaiʻi-connected volunteers who held expertises in engineering, fabrication, and software design, created a relatively easy-to-manufacture ventilator that could be operated anywhere in the world, even where electricity is not available. Further, the team ensured the design would be open-source, meaning they would make it available to anyone able to build it for free, thus keeping production costs low. 

Always haʻahaʻa and akahai, Olin credits his team and the support they received from generous donors from across the world for making the ventilators a reality. “And when we reached out to get help, we were overwhelmed by the support we received. The world is full of kindness.”

Read more about this effort here: 


5 PURSUITS of AHONUI:

Inspired by Gholdy Muhammad

Please watch  Something, Someday  written and read by Amanda Gorman with illustrations by Christian Robinson. Then with you child, answer the following:

  • IDENTITY: Talk with your kupuna about something your ʻohana did to help the community in which you live or are from.
  • SKILLS: How does the child feel in the beginning of the story? The middle? The end? How do you know?
  • INTELLECT: The author Amanda Gorman was 19 years old when she was named the National Youth Poet Laureate and performed the inaugural poem for President Biden. Research about Ms. Gorman and the change she has already made in this world (see Scholastic, Time for Kids and Kids Britannica.)
  • CRITICALITY: How might you work with others to change something in your community that you might like to help fix?
  • JOY: Show some akahai on our campus and join with your classmates on making our school better.

HOʻOMAIKAʻI MATH ENRICHMENT TEAM

A belated congratulations goes out to our 6th graders from Math Enrichment class who excellently represented Kāneʻohe Elementary last weekend at the King Intermediate School Math Meet. Under the guidance of Mrs. Chinen, our students won a team competition and four received awards in the individual competitions. Awesome job!

CONTINUED PRACTICES:

NOʻAHUNA OF ALOHA

See Uncle Pono Shim explain the Noʻahuna, the esoteric meaning, of Aloha as taught to him by Aunty Pilahi, the Keeper of Secrets.

WEAR PINK FOR MAUI WEDNESDAYS

Join 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

At the Daily Piko, we share thoughts on the Aloha value for the week which helps us become centered and ready to learn. We begin at 8 AM everyday except Wednesdays.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Apr 22 – May 10Smarter Balance Assessment testing
Wed, May 8Wellness Meeting
Join by Zoom
Sat, May 118:30 – 11:30 AM Campus Beautification
Fri, May 17May Day
Wed, May 22Fun Run Rescheduled
Wed, May 29School Ends at 2 PM (Switch with 5/30)Gr 6 Promotion Ceremony
Thur, May 30Awards CeremonySchool Ends at 1:15 PMLast day of school