Helps a Four Year Old Stand Strong.
It's 1964 and a dark rolly-polly hapa Hawaiian girl arrives at the doorstep of one, if not, the best grammar school in Hawaii. Door wide open, she and her Dad walk through the threshold. A lady greets them and if she knew 'Ozzie and Harriet', she would've said "Hello Mrs. Nelson". But rather, Mrs. Peterson welcomes them and after a few pleasantries extends her hand. They walk over to an available chair where Mrs. Peterson asks everyone to settle down. This was the beginning of what would be many years of the little girl receiving how people respond to differences. Let's just say, after her father left,
no one else in the room resembled any part of her.
my family life was closely guarded. Other than my parents, a few family members and the select few who my parents introduced into the circle, there were no "ugly" people. I'm not referring to one's appearance but rather their being and intentions. As I flashback to the countless surfers, beach goers, fishermen, and limu pickers, people waved the shaka and a nod of the head. Or the Chinatown shop keepers, and the Chun-Hoon family of Everybody's Supermarket, family and patrons smiled and greeted you. Then when we visited Bill of Bills Bakery, the entire crew welcomed us with, "Good morning, what would you like Mr. Kealoha?" The ladies at Kapiolani Restaurant or the family at Char Han Sut welcomed us...
"Mr. Kealoha here's your order and how's the ocean this morning?"
If Mrs. Peterson
was not my teacher, and my parents were not my parents, my life would look drastically different. Four very young un-tarnished years is typically when one's curiosity and wonder breathe. And nothing can suffocate a child's willingness to engage, explore and marvel than hurtful bullies.
In the Kealoha way,
the magic people are and share Aloha in the background. If it weren't for those behind the scenes orchestration, there would be no child. Instead vulnerability would morph into fear and fear would fuel cruelty. The subtle yet very intentional measures fortify a little girl's spirit. Each day she stands taller. Stronger. Able to face the ugliness and foul mouths. By the end of the year, the shy, fearful, and insecure four-year old blossoms into a person who experiences:
- A - Akahai – Kindness through tenderness
- L – Lōkahi – Unity through harmony
- O – ʻOluʻolu – Agreeableness with pleasantness
- H – Haʻahaʻa – Humility with modesty
- A – Ahonui – Patience without giving up perseverance
Scanning timelines of leaders,
I find those who lead with Aloha are leaders of positive movement forward. They practice:
- Oia'i'o in Hawaiian is Honesty. Honesty is a big deal. Why? People want to stand by and support leaders who are honest and trustworthy. Who do what they say and say what they do.
- Ahonui in Hawaiian Patience applied with Perseverance and resilience. Never giving up even in the face of darkness, pain and depression.
And when we practice duty wiped clean of dishonesty and move forward patiently, while remaining steadfast we are abundant.
- Authenticity. And if hadn't crossed your mind, authenticity is honesty's conductor. It comes alive when its rooted in honesty.
- Passion. There is a singular purpose that drives them.
- Intention and Respect. When giving and receiving are in the 'we' place, magic happens.
- Courage. Standing alone in the face of adversity is true commitment.
- Longevity. Standing the test of time is honorable.
- Compassion. Leading with your head and engage with your heart is the essence of Aloha.
My family from the beginning of time are a people whose actions (not words) reveal their intentions. By example we express our humility, our faith and our loyalty. Through time we learn and share via a "Wax on Wax off" or by "Example" practice. When our practice ignores our true self. Or ignores the acceptance of our authenticity then our purposeful intentions are lost in the deep blue sea. If our practice excludes our courage to persevere, or disregards the honor of our journey. we fail to show up. And, when we lose site of "WE" in our duty, we risk never living the magic of Aloha. If our practice somehow forgets the 'doing', the habitual doing, living Aloha could slip through our fingers.
However, when we have Kupuna, our ancestral family, to share practical as well as a deepened knowledge, we grow. And when those same elders, help us digest experience and absorb wisdom, we move closer to doing what we say. When we start traversing through the hidden meanings, we acquire a deeper sense or Kaona and wisdom. And it's at this stage where we pass not only what came before us but our own lessons, our own kaona to the next generation. This is how my family moves through lives lived. So much so, when someone looks at the body of work, could say,
This is a Kealoha.
Like physical markers, one's family-way-of-doing things is as much of an imprint as physical features. For example, if someone didn't know my name, knew my family and saw me, they would without a doubt say, "She's a Kealoha." The same is true for many family practices.
For the Kealoha Ohana, hundreds of thousands of hours were spent doing what we say and saying what we do. This simple phrase laid the ground to build trust. it aligned people and place to respect and trust, on those rare occasions when we spoke, our words. Why? Our actions never failed. Understanding how and where we are tied to place and practice is the first chapter of fulfilling duty. As we gain a deeper sense of what it means to be part of rather than just an observer, doing what we say and saying what we do is our kuleana.
It's my belief we have leaders who imprint their indelible mark with a simple stroke of the pen. People who embody honesty, authenticity, purpose, courage, respect, resilience, longevity and compassion. And then there are leaders who never make it to the history books but are as well-known and well-versed through the ancient practice of storytelling. It is these people who in their own family way do what they say and say what they do. Who are the quiet leaders that ensure their family practice, traditions are sung from generation to generation.
As I walk into each day, doing what I say and saying what I do, I'm able to live in the lives, the lives left behind to practice the Kealoha way.