Appreciating ʻOhana Values


Photo: Bailey Kanahele

By Bailey Kuuleialoha Werner-Kanahele, Grade 6, Kula Aupuni Niʻihau A Kahelelani Aloha (KANAKA) PCS

ʻOhana values are a rare thing these days as many of my peers seem to value social media over the things that truly matter. Taking the time to enjoy special treats made with togetherness that comes from learning secret ways that these delights are made. Making the time to raise gifts that nurtured plants can deliver as joy. Creating the time to share stories that a long life full of wisdom conveys in a caring relationship. These are just a few of the gifts that come from my Tūtū.

Having a sweet tooth makes one able to enjoy the wonderful array of delights that can be shared as ʻohana recipes. Being a self-professed home baker of many treats, the best are those gifted as special ways of knowing. Sharing these treasures as something to pass along to my future ʻohana have taken first prize in my ʻōpū as desserts. This is not to say that such delights are not available in today’s market but simply incomparable to the process that makes them uniquely great to ʻai (eat). Mahalo to my Tūtū for making the ways available to me.

Joy is another value that comes in the form of laboring that yields beauty and health. Being a good gardener takes patience and perseverance to yield pleasures for the eye or nutrient-rich organic choices for meaʻai. Working the ʻāina is an act of caring for the things that unlock great beauty and flavorful eats. The right amount of water, carefully selected pruning, or properly tilled soil are some of the ways the gardener achieves the gift that leads to joyful caring. What started as chores to help build understanding has blossomed into fruitful dishes or arrangements mentored by my Tūtū making us proud to share.

Nearly every moment shared with the aloha that comes from a caring heart allows youth to become a gift that continues to grow in wisdom. It seems that the older we get with living a good life, the harder it gets to make the best of our time for those we know need our nurturing. Sharing past experiences, telling stories that end with a life lesson, or just taking the time to be together having fun are some ways that wisdom can be passed down in my ʻohana. A trip to Disneyland, a stroll in the park to work out a problem or being pushed to get going on a swing can be stories that can be shared in later life experiences. I hope to be able to share my gained wisdom when I get to be an age equal to Tūtū.

Reflecting on things given as knowledge from our kūpuna helps us to be all that we can be. Baked delights that earn a place of joy in our ʻōpū are learned, not bought, and not taken for granted. Arrangements are beautiful to behold and delectable fruits of one’s labor bring joy that can be shared. ʻOhana events that change in perspective as we grow build wisdom. All these experiences result in aloha filled with joy and wisdom from that special person I call Tūtū.