This is My Aloha: Parenthood and a Love Beyond Words
Aloha means love…
Everyone knows “Aloha” means love. And hello. Oh, and goodbye. However, if you speak more than one language, you also know how difficult it can be to sum up some words into perfect and direct translations. Sometimes words transcend a simplified meaning. This is especially true for “Aloha.” Though only five letters, it has multiple meanings, tenses, and uses.
“A word expressing different feelings; love, affection, gratitude, kindness, pity, compassion, grief, the modern common salutation at meeting; parting”– Lorrin Andrews, A dictionary of the Hawaiian language
Did you know that “Aloha Spirit” is the law?
It became official in 1986. It states:
[§5-7.5] “Aloha Spirit”.–State of Hawai’i
(a) “Aloha Spirit” is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the self. Each person must think and emote good feelings to others. In the contemplation and presence of the life force, “Aloha”, the following unuhi laula loa may be used:
“Akahai”, meaning kindness to be expressed with tenderness;
“Lokahi”, meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony;
“Oluolu”, meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness;
“Haahaa”, meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty;
“Ahonui”, meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance.
These are traits of character that express the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawaii’s people. It was the working philosophy of native Hawaiians and was presented as a gift to the people of Hawaii. “Aloha” is more than a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation. “Aloha” means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. “Aloha” is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence. “Aloha” means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.
(b) In exercising their power on behalf of the people and in fulfillment of their responsibilities, obligations and service to the people, the legislature, governor, lieutenant governor, executive officers of each department, the chief justice, associate justices, and judges of the appellate, circuit, and district courts may contemplate and reside with the life force and give consideration to the “Aloha Spirit”. [L 1986, c 202, §1]
Simple, yet complex.
In learning about Aloha and the Aloha Spirit, there are ties to the word being about the love between a parent and child. When I think more about the connection, it is like describing how I love my child. It’s a feeling beyond description and unlike a love I have ever felt before. It’s how I want my child to feel my affection, and be fully-immersed in good feelings that she spreads her kindness to others. All this, because her existence is what gives me life, breath, and infinite joy. This love manifests into a chain reaction.
In the words of Queen Lili’uokalani
‘Aloha’ was a recognition of life in another. If there was life there was mana, goodness and wisdom, and if there was goodness and wisdom there was a god-quality. One had to recognize the ‘god of life’ in another before saying ‘Aloha,’ but this was easy. Life was everywhere – in the trees, the flowers, the ocean, the fish,the birds, the pili grass, the rainbow, the rock – in all the world was life–was god–was Aloha. Aloha in its gaiety, joy, happiness, abundance. Because of Aloha, one gave without thought of return; because of Aloha, one had mana. Aloha had its own mana. It never left the giver but flowed freely and continuously between giver and receiver. ‘Aloha’ could not be thoughtlessly or indiscriminately spoken, for it carried its own power.– Queen Lili’uokalani
This is not meant to be cultural appropriation, but an attempt to understand and respect the meaning of Aloha. I am not of Hawaiian descent, nor have I spent a majority of my life on the Islands. Perhaps this is why I never truly knew “Aloha.” I didn’t spend my childhood connected to nature. As an adult I have grown a profound appreciation for nature. I also know that I love my child beyond words. As the word has a way of encompassing life, emotions, and spirituality, I discovered this with adulthood, but mostly with parenthood. I am immersed in unconditional love. I found “Aloha.”