To give generously from the heart without asking for anything in return

The other day Teenager asked me if I would ever live in Honolulu. I thought for less than a second and responded with a solid, “No, I like the west side.” We’ve been spending a lot of time driving back and forth to Town lately and more than once the thought has crossed my mind how nice it would be to have a place where we could spend the night and avoid the traffic that plagues us on much of those journeys.

Then I thought of the congestion and the lack of space and the crowded coastline and I knew that I would not be looking to Honolulu as a place for my primary residence, not just yet.

Then, on Saturday morning, I arrived at the Yee King Tong Cemetery near Punchbowl (National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific) to meet my friend Shareen for our volunteer stint judging student essays in the Eddie Aikau Foundation’s annual Eddie Would Go essay contest and I totally changed my mind.

I turned left into the lane that leads to the cemetery and the adjacent Aikau home and entered one of those wondrous places I like to think of as “Real Hawaii.” If I could live somewhere like that, Honolulu or anywhere, I would move in a heartbeat.

I could feel the aloha the minute I arrived.

The foundation holds the annual contest as part of their mission to “share Eddie Aikau’s life, contributions and accomplishments while promoting education and the advancement of Hawaiian culture.”

Here is the 2012 prompt:

As a City and County lifeguard, Eddie Aikau often risked his life to make sure the beaches were safe for everyone. He made the ultimate sacrifice by giving his life in an attempt to save the crew on the Polynesian voyaging canoe ―Hokule’a‖.
Eddie’s actions reflected the Hawaiian values of KOKUA (to help) and KAHIAU (to give generously with the heart, without expecting anything in return).
How do these values inspire your actions and how do they influence your decision of who to help, when you can’t help everyone.

I read the essays thinking about the teenagers who wrote them. How lucky they are to have a role model like Eddie Aikau. They wrote with ease about Kokua and Kahiau. They told stories of helping their parents and their grandparents and volunteering with their churches and school groups to feed the homeless and donate clothes and toys. Kokua and Kahiau are  embedded in the aloha that runs in their veins.

I couldn’t help but relate the concept of Kahiau to that of Tzedakah–to give generously from the heart without asking for anything in return is certainly righteous. We give because it is right. And the highest form of giving is when the giver does not know the receiver and the receiver does not know the giver.

It all came together for me near the big mango tree in the side yard of Myra Akau’s house (she is Eddie’s sister). Kahiau, Tzedakah, Kokua, Aloha–In a place like this, no problem.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. LaJoy
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 06:33:02

    One of my favorite Hawaiian words and meanings–kahiau. Nice read.


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