Aloha Values

Aloha As a Way of Life

Aloha is easy to recognize, and hard to define. Aloha is more than simple gestures and kind words. Aloha is a way of being that guides our words and actions in both good and difficult times. Aloha is also the most important gift to give our keiki (children), partners and family. With some patience and effort on your part, you can bring Aloha into your home for happier, more balanced family life.

The Aloha Story … a History of Aloha

In 1970 at the Hawaiʻi Governorʻs conference on the year 2000, Aunty Pilahi Paki gave the first public transmission of ALOHA:

A – Akahai – Hawaiʻi meaning Kindness to be expressed with a feeling of tenderness

L – Lōkahi – Hawaiʻi meaning Unity to be expressed with a feeling of harmony

O – ʻOluʻolu – Hawaiʻi meaning Agreeable to be expressed with a feeling of pleasantness

H – Haʻahaʻa – Hawaiʻi meaning Humility to be expressed with a feeling of modesty

A – Ahonui – Hawaiʻi meaning Patience to be applied with perseverance

Values of Aloha

The following Aloha Values helps us to understand Aloha with greater depth, so we can practice Aloha more where it matters most, in our homes.

Akahai - Kindness

Akahai is translated as kindness and should be expressed with tenderness. Aloha starts with tenderness, forgiveness, and acceptance for yourself and others. Whether you are experiencing good times or challenges, approach your interactions with akahai for yourself and others and see how it builds aloha around you.

Lōkahi - Unity

Lōkahi, often translated as unity and expressed with a feeling of harmony, helps us understand that all of us are part of a life force that is unbroken, even when some of us feel separated from the group. With lōkahi, we support and accept each other in acknowledgement of this unbrokenness and work together in love.

ʻOluʻolu - Agreeable

ʻOluʻolu, often translated as agreeable and expressed with feelings of pleasantness, is intended to remind us not to be argumentative or pessimistic. 'Olu'olu reminds us that even if we differ, we can express differences in encouraging and kind ways.

Ha'aha'a - Humility

Haʻahaʻa translated as humility and expressed with a feeling of modesty, asks us to empty ourselves of judgment for others. Ha'aha'a means to be open to learning, growing and receiving new information. Rooted in willingness to accept new things, haʻahaʻa helps us to remember that we can grow and so can others around us. 

Ahonui - Patience

Ahonui, translated as patience, should be applied with perseverance. Ahonui with perseverance means we are waiting for the right time to speak, act, or think. Children and families thrive when ahonui is present for it allows everyone a chance to grow, learn and fail in a loving and caring environment.

Aloha Values & the Five Protective Factor

Aloha at Home believes that all ‘ohana desire safe and nurturing environments for keiki. However, raising keiki in Hawaiʻi in the 21st Century is extremely tough. Caregivers face many obstacles, from the high cost of living to the lack of supportive services, that make raising healthy, safe and happy keiki harder everyday. Aloha at Home does not have all the answers for the issues facing families, but it does provide some relief from day to day stress. Through simple activities and insights, ‘ohana have access to tangible ways to grow and maintain stronger and relationships in the home.

Aloha at Home relies on two distinct sources of information to guide caretakers. Protective Factors are a set of five key characteristics that can help families to be happy, healthy, and safe. Protective Factors provide families with information, tools, and exercises to build resilience when faced with the inevitable challenges life presents. Research shows that as families use the Protective Factors more, their quality of life should improve. 

Aloha and its five distinct values (Akahai, Lākahi, ‘Olu’olu, Ha’aha’a, Ahonui) guide and ground ʻohana as they pursue stronger connections to the Protective Factors. To put it simply, if Protective Factors are the goals, Aloha is the driving force that helps us get there.

AlohaAtHome.org brings aloha into relationships to help ʻohana improve their interactions and build to happy lives. 

Akahai – Kindness

Akahai - Kindness

Akahai is translated as kindness and should be expressed with tenderness. Aloha starts with tenderness, forgiveness, and acceptance for yourself and others. Whether you are experiencing good times or challenges, approach your interactions with akahai for yourself and others and see how it builds aloha around you.

You can see Akahai represented in at least three Protective Factors:

Parental Resilience is the ability for parents and caregivers to manage life’s stressors in healthy and productive ways. In order to do that, they need kindness and acceptance for themselves. In this kindness, they will see that caregiving is NOT easy and that we all make mistakes. When we treat ourselves with akahai in mind, we acknowledge that the task is difficult, the stress is real and that trying your best to grow, learn and overcome is always good enough. As caregivers treat themselves and others with akahai, the task doesnʻt necessarily get easier, but their ability to move through challenges feels a little more successful each time.

Concrete Supports are the tangible tools, resources, and assets that help a family to be successful. When a family has their needs met, there is less stress in the home and more akahai and grace can be given. Also, when akahai is present, there is a higher likelihood that caregivers will acknowledge and accept when they need support and do what it takes to secure that support.

Social-Emotional Competence of  Children helps us to remember that children and their caregivers need to develop skills over time. Akahai reminds us that we are not born with all the social and emotional skills we need so we can be gentle to ourselves and others as we learn. Environments with akahai help children and caregivers grow their competence in safe and forgiving spaces with a chance to see kindness to self and others modeled, nurtured, and supported over time. 

Are there other ways you see akahai supporting Protective Factors? 

Lokahi – Unity

Lōkahi - Unity

Lōkahi, often translated as unity and expressed with a feeling of harmony, helps us understand that all of us are part of a life force that is unbroken, even when some of us feel separated from the group. With lōkahi, we support and accept each other in acknowledgement of this unbrokenness and work together in love.

Lōkahi aligns with the Protective Factors in the following ways:

Parental Resilience requires a value for shared kuleana (responsibility) in which all members have a role to contribute, not just the caregiver. Service providers, children, and other members of the ʻohana also have contributions to parental resilience. When caregivers are supported in their roles, stress decreases and caregivers learn how to move through situations with greater success. 

Social Support and connections from inside the home and from outside the home are integral to healthy families. Healthy connections from others in the household or community are helpful when they provide an ear to listen, good advice, and help watching keiki so caregivers can do other things. When caregivers feel lōkahi with a community of support promoting healthy connections within the home becomes easier.

The Social-Emotional Competence of Children grows  when children feel like they are on the same team as their caregivers and ʻohana. Families who practice lōkahi are invested in each member and children feel safe and supported to express themselves. Children who can express themselves and learn through that expression are more aware of their feelings and how these feelings affect their behavior, moods, and abilities to set and achive goals. Families who work together and use lōkahi grow their own understanding of themself and the world, and make the family unit even stronger.

‘Olu’olu – Agreeable

ʻOluʻolu - Agreeable

ʻOluʻolu, often translated as agreeable and expressed with feelings of pleasantness, is intended to remind us not to be argumentative or pessimistic. 'Olu'olu reminds us that even if we differ, we can express differences in encouraging and kind ways.

The Protective Factors most aligned with ‘Olu’olu are as follows:

Parental Resilience is grown, in some respects, through the kindness of others. When a parent or caregiver is encouraged and appreciated for what they are doing, as opposed to judged or criticized for what they are not doing, their self-worth inevitably grows. When a parent experiences kindness from others, they are more likely to be kind to themselves in moments of stress. In essence, this is the core of Parental Resilience. This kindness is generational as well, and will likely lead to higher resilience in their keiki.

Knowledge of Child Development promotes ‘Olu’olu through understanding. When a parent knows more about the developmental phases for children, this will keep their expectations realistic to the individual child. This knowledge helps to relieve stress and allows for greater kindness in interactions. When this kindness and acceptance in present, it makes for improved home environments that can actually benefit child development.

Concrete Supports are kindness. Support in the form of basic needs are tangible forms of ‘Olu’olu. When ‘Olu’olu is alive and well in the home, parents and caregivers are more likely to practice ‘Olu’olu towards themselves and seek more of these important supports.

Ha’aha’a – Humility

Ha'aha'a - Humility

Haʻahaʻa translated as humility and expressed with a feeling of modesty, asks us to empty ourselves of judgment for others. Ha'aha'a means to be open to learning, growing and receiving new information. Rooted in willingness to accept new things, haʻahaʻa helps us to remember that we can grow and so can others around us. 

The following Protective Factors align in the following ways:

Ha’aha’a knows that connection to others is necessary for true well-being. Healthy Social Support and connections cannot be fostered if one feels that they have all the answers, or have no desire to recieve or give help. When Ha’aha’a is embraced, children get access to their extended ‘ohana, healthier parents and increased well-being.

Similarly, being Ha’aha’a is required in order to genuinely get to know your keiki through learning about the different phases of Child Development. Being open to learning allows parents and caregivers the ability to sincerely support their keiki in their growth and to provide the appropriate support and encouragement when needed.

Lastly, Concrete Support cannot be accessed if Ha’aha’a is not valued. In order to acquire concrete supports, parents and caregivers need to be open enough to seek them. Ha’aha’a knows that seeking what you need for your keiki and ‘ohana is an example of strength.

 

Ahonui – Patience

Ahonui - Patience

Ahonui, translated as patience, should be applied with perseverance. Ahonui with perseverance means we are waiting for the right time to speak, act, or think. Children and families thrive when ahonui is present for it allows everyone a chance to grow, learn and fail in a loving and caring environment.

These Protective Factors align with Ahonui in the following ways:

Understanding Child Development will help parents and caretakers to allow for the appropriate time for children to grow. The Protective Factor of Understanding Child Development and parenting needs the value of Ahonui to thrive, for it is heavily dependent on acknowledging that development happens at its own pace. Akahai promotes acceptance and realistic expectations, and healthy child development needs that space in order to happen. The more a parent understands, the more realistic the expectations become, the less stress is put on the child, and the more likely healthy growth occurs.

Concrete Supports help to de-stress the home. However, they take time to acquire, so Ahonui reminds us that not everything happens over night and that perseverance is needed to get what is needed, when it is needed.

Social-Emotional Competence of Children needs Ahonui to grow. Children will not feel safe to grow if they feel they are being judged for the pace at which they do. Ahonui reminds us that this competence takes time, and cannot be rushed.

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