In ancient times, ho'ailona (omens or signs) have always been a part of Hawaiian life. For example, for many Hawaiians, the "anuenue" (rainbow) was usually associated with two things: bad fortune or good fortune. Despite its beauty, size or appearance, a rainbow may mean "danger" ahead or the death of a person, while on the other hand, it could mean, "good fortune" for another. For example, the appearance of a rainbow when a child is born or the sight of approaching rains that will dispel a season of drought. In Hawaiian life, visionary experiences of ho'ailona, like the anuenue, range from the natural to the supernatural and may defy explanation, but, it still remained important to the visionary. In the Bible, the first mention of a "rainbow" is in reference to Noah and the Flood where God says (Genesis 9:12-16): "I am making an agreement between me and you and every living creature that is with you. It will continue from now on. This is the sign: I am putting my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of the agreement between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth, a rainbow appears in the clouds. Then I will remember my agreement. It is between me and you and every living thing. Floodwaters will never again destroy all life on the earth. When the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it. Then I will remember the agreement that continues forever. It is between me and every living thing on the earth." Like the ancient ones, we can either perceive the rainbow to be a sign (a reminder of God's promise to Noah that no other flood will occur) or a blessing (establishing a new beginning). Personally, I prefer both because I always see the "rainbow" as the start of something, both good and new. If you really think about it, Noah's story is similar to our international students that attend Mid Pacific. Traveling from different countries, they seek new promises, new hopes, new dreams, new opportunities, even, welcome a new family and it is good. Like the colors of the rainbow, our international students add to the diversity of our school and bring cultures together. Simply, walk around campus and you can feel an "international" presence as different cultural languages are spoken and all cultures embrace one another. It's a wonderful sense of 'ohana (family)! Lastly, there's a children's song that says, "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red, brown, yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world." That's our identity at Mid Pacific! Different colors of a "rainbow" coming together for good that God calls, "precious." As our school lies nestled in beautiful Manoa, rainbows take residence and each time that I am privileged to see one, I imagine the faces of our students. We're a "one-of-a-kind" family. WE CALL IT, "OWL NATION!" ]>
This school year at Mid Pacific, our "spiritual theme" is "I Ho'okahi Kahi Ka Mana'o, I Ho'okahi Kahi Pu'uwai, I Ho'okahi Kahi Ke Aloha" (Be of one mind, one heart and one love). The concept of our theme derived from the "oneness" that we seek, practice and implement each year as a "unified" Mid Pacific family. Taken from Philippians 2:2, the biblical passage reads, "Make my joy complete, by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and in purpose." Like a three-stranded cord, these distinctive attributes are not easily broken when they are "woven" and "bound" together. "Spiritual Themes" serve as a "compass" and guide for our school. It provides a pathway for our students, faculty, staff and administration to follow and commit to. It establishes an alignment or position for each individual, as well as, a "challenge" to diligently commit oneself to the greater community of our school. The first position begins with three powerful words, "AT OUR SCHOOL...." These three words declare that we take ownership and embrace responsibility together. In other words, it's not only "my" school or your school, but, it's "our" school. The transfer of ownership transcends from an individual role to a group role. Our theme continues with a second position, "At our school,... "EACH PERSON IS IMPORTANT AND WE BELONG TO EACH OTHER AS MEMBERS OF ONE FAMILY." The Hawaiian word for "place" is "kauwahi". It's a particular point of reference. This statement emphasizes that our school is a "place" where everyone feels important, along with a sense of belonging as a family. With confidence, we should confidently assert that "I Belong", "You Belong" and "We Belong". Mid Pacific is a special place where there exists a deep relationship and connection. At our school, each person should be able to confirm that the "heart and soul" of Mid Pacific is "I AM IMPORTANT" and "I BELONG". The third position says, "WE WILL TREAT EACH OTHER WITH RESPECT, LOVE, CARE AND DO OUR BEST TO UPHOLD THE DIGNITY OF EACH PERSON." This means that the value of "aloha" is an integral part of the educational journey at Mid Pacific. Each student is expected to model respect, love, care, as well as, elevate the worthiness of each other. Kindness is another important character trait that we encourage our students to practice. Finally, the last position states, "WE WILL RECOGNIZE THE DIVERSITY AND GIFTS OF ALL PEOPLE AND WILL STAND UP AGAINST INJUSTICE." The diversity of our school is unique to Mid Pacific and lends itself for greater communication and interaction amongst our students. Additionally, it is our desire that each student will protect the rights of others.]>
The 'ohe (bamboo) is a versatile and giant member of the grass family and able to grow more rapidly than any other plant. It was one of the most useful and practical plants (along with the niu, coconut) for our Hawaiian ancestors in providing water storage, food, raw materials for household, garden use, musical instruments and more. 'Ohe is said to be one of the "canoe plants" brought to Hawaii by early Polynesian settlers. Our kupuna (elders) used the 'ohe to kindle fires and irrigate crops (water would flow down the troughs from the stream into the taro (kalo) fields). Long before the arrival of metal from the Western world, the 'ohe was also used as a traditional knife or "cutting" tool. Often times, it would be used to cut the umbilical cord of a newborn. The 'ohe was also used in the tapa cloth-making process where the women used lapa (bamboo sticks) as a "stamp" to create designs and patterns upon their tapa cloths. The 'ohe was a valuable plant for instrumentation and hula accompaniment. A three-holed nose flute ('ohe hano ihu), split tubes of percussion (pu'ili), sound tubes ('ohe ka'eke'eke) and harp ('ohe kani) provided musical sounds of expression. The 'ohe had many other uses including, building posts, gutters, floats, masts, furniture, utensils, agriculture, fishing poles, ladders and vessels for water (the tubes of the 'ohe, with closed ends, were valuable resources for carrying and storing water, especially, on ocean voyages).
The 'ohe and its multiple usages can be described in three important areas: VIGOROUS, STRONG and CREATIVE. In our scriptural passage today, the value of this plant and its usage can contain several lessons that can be easily applied to our journey in life. Let me share three of them with you by using the acronym "O-H-E".
"O" stands for: OPEN YOUR LIFE TO JOY (Vigorous)
When my children were little, our doctor's office had a play area on the outside of the reception area. We would bring our kids to the doctor because they were sick, but, the play area would distract them for a brief moment from their sickness. Their faces glowed, their energy revived and for a short period of time, they seem to be transported to another "realm" free from their health needs. The play area gave them joy in a bad situation. Sometimes, when we are afraid, depressed, angry or frustrated, we need to be vigorous and proactive that we won't lose our joy! Develop a "play area" internally, so, that you never lose your joy, no matter what circumstances you may be facing. OPEN YOUR LIFE TO THE JOY!
"H" stands for: HAVE A POSITIVE POINT OF VIEW (Strong)
Have you ever been caught in the rain without an umbrella? Well, I have and its not a great feeling when you're soaking wet. However, when I do have an umbrella, everything changes and I now, have control over my circumstances. Likewise, even when life hits you with a "rainy storm", you have the opportunity to open your "umbrella" of courage and strength to keep dry, even though everything around you is "wet". You have the strength to overcome all things!
Finally, the last letter is "E". "E" stands for: EXPRESS YOUR VALUE (Creative)
In the wheat farms, a farmer will plant one kernel of wheat in the ground and that kernel will produce a stalk with three heads of wheat. Each head will host fifteen to thirty-five kernels, producing a hundred kernels from the stalk. When planted, these kernels will produce ten thousand kernels. When those ten thousand kernels are replanted, they will produce a million kernels. Here's what I'm trying to say: Your usefulness will be tied to its value and its value is tied to fulfilling it's purpose. The more it can be used for greater things, the more valuable it can become.
It is incredible what one kernel can do and..... YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
I want to encourage someone today to LIVE WITH JOY, GET A POSITIVE POINT OF VIEW AND HARNESS A PURPOSE-DRIVEN EXPRESSION TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
When I was a little boy, I remember the days of being raised in our fishing village of Keei in South Kona. There were no county water or electricity back then, so, preserving our resources was very important. My grandfather and grandmother used a "catchment" system to collect water from the rain, however, since, it rarely did, water was a valuable "treasure." I remember helping my grandfather collect branches of wood for the fire pit. In a large tub (pakini), we would fill it with water and heat it in the early evening for bathing purposes. Approximately, 30 feet from fire pit was a separate house for our baths. Inside of its walls, there was another "pakini" filled with cool water. Adding the hot water to the tub made for warm water and a comfortable bath. In the "bath house", we were allowed two "bowl-fulls" of water. One to scrub and another to rinse. With no electricity, kerosene lamps were used and without any television or electronics, most of our time was spent as a family in devotion time and "talk story" conversations.
Today, I can still hear my grandfather's philosophy of life: "Be blessed that you have a roof over your head, food on the table, a place to sleep and love in the home. That's all you need." These were memorable years that I will always cherish; the "treasures" that I discovered shaped my life into the person that I am today.
In a world that emphasizes the "corporate ladder," sometimes our desires can be misplaced. There are those that want a larger home, a bigger car or sizable financial portfolio (nothing's wrong with that) and yet, there are those that face personal struggles, even, homelessness. Both are notable extremes, but, in between there is much to be considered. Personally, I've always said that there's nothing wrong with having the "stuff," as long as the "stuff" don't have you!
With this being said, I'd like for someone to know that a "treasure" isn't something that is measured by "earthly status," but, something of value with a purpose in your heart. There is a "treasure" in all of us and when you discover it, I'd like to encourage you to give it a new identity and look at life through a different perspective.
What will be your "treasure" this school year?]>