The aloha spirit of Hawaiʻi is world renowned, and the values held by those of us who call Hawaiʻi home contribute greatly to that spirit. The values of ‘ohana (extended family group that emphasizes cooperation and support) and kuleana (blessings and the resulting responsibility) are key components of the very tangible aloha spirit as well as key drivers of the emerging movement to bring Lifeplan to Hawaiʻi.
We are blessed with many generous and knowledgeable teachers and friends who continually guide us through lessons, experiences and opportunities that are helping us understand the beautiful and powerful ‘Hawaiian Way’. In our efforts to understand what role mentoring and Lifeplan might have in our local community on Hawaiʻi Island, the values of teamwork and ‘ohana are guiding lights. We value a group of connected and committed people who share a goal, no matter the composition of that group, how much time it may take the group to form, or how well the agenda is managed.
There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone … if you want to go far, go together.” We are aiming to go far, so we invite, encourage and allow involvement of community members on a wide scale. Through a series of ‘talk story’ meetings, we have discussed local youth development needs and resources, we have reviewed the Lifeplan and we have defined ways to mobilize action. Some people are supportive and have only words of encouragement to offer, others are curious but jaded by a variety of concerns about methods and outcomes, and yet others are inspired and are committing their time and resources now. We need all of those contributors in our circle – in our ‘ohana – because each offers an important perspective that enriches our effort…and it models some of the most powerful leadership skills (including diverse voices and developing one’s ‘ohana) that youth can utilize in their own lives.
Some people have said, “There is no freedom without responsibility.” This is one way of highlighting that blessings in life convey a responsibility…which is one of the interpretations of the Hawaiian value of kuleana. As our group mobilizes to bring ourselves into more direct, supportive contact with our local youth through Lifeplan…it appears to be motivated by a sense of kuleana for each of us. Some of us are parents, others are teachers in some capacity, and others are community members who care and feel they have a resource at their disposal that they want to share. But the act of giving, the act of caring…is coming from a deep recognition of our blessings and our corresponding responsibility that moves the action.
And act we are! In April 2010, we held the first Lifeplan Ninja Training for community members. We will continue to go together as an ‘ohana and support everyone’s individual efforts. We will continue to be motivated by our kuleana to the youth in our communities and in our families…recognizing the blessings that allow us to give back in this way. We are infusing every step of our Lifeplan work with aloha spirit!
Hawaiʻi Island Mentoring Hui