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Are YOU Prepared? E Ho‘omākaukau!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Do you guys remember my first blog post ?

I wrote about the Hawaiian value/quality “ E Hoʻomākaukau .” Loosely translated, it means, “be prepared.”

Sometimes things come up in my world—over and over and over—and that usually means I’m supposed to be paying attention to it . It’s like someone is trying to tell me something.

And that’s exactly what’s happening with this phrase: E Hoʻomākaukau .

I’m in the midst of packing for a two-week trip. For one week, I’ll be on Molokai studying with my kumu (teacher) and hanging out with my hānai (adopted) family. And the next week on the “Big Island” of Hawaiʻi acting as musician (and- gasp!-dancer) with a hula troupe.

Here’s my packing challenge: I’m only allowed to bring one suitcase, a small backpack and my ʻukulele. What things can I bring that will serve me both weeks? I make endless lists. It makes me incredibly anxious.

So … I’ve been putting it off. I’m great at telling myself that I can pack later.

And in my head, I can hear the phrase: E Hoʻomākaukau . Be prepared.

A few years ago, Pops and I attended a wedding reception when I was on Molokai. I was still new to the island and didn’t know many of the people at the gathering.

Pops, being the ultimate entertainer, serenaded the bride and groom with a beautiful ballad. Then he announced that he’d brought a guest with him who would like to honor the wedding couple with a song.

I gulped and lowered my head, trying to hide. I knew he meant me, but I hadn’t known he was going to do this. My ʻukulele was locked in the truck and not with me at the table. I didnʻt know what to sing for them. I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of the crowd. And most importantly, I didn’t want to embarrass HIM by doing a bad job.

When I looked up at him, he handed me his ʻukulele. And I sang TWO songs. In Hawaiian. For Hawaiians.

After we’d left the reception, he told me that I had done well. (Apparently I had a passed a “test” of some kind.) He was pleased that I had met the challenge placed in front of me. I did it. I played and sang—even though it was WAY out of my comfort zone.

I’ll never forget his words : “And you must ALWAYS be ready. That is part of your kuleana (responsibility). E Hoʻomākaukau .

Talk about intense! Wow …

I was just talking with Pops about the tsunami warning that threatened Hawaiʻi after a recent earthquake in Chile. I told him how a group of us in New York City had huddled around a television—anxiously waiting and watching for the tsunami make contact with the islands. (Thankfully, they were spared any damage.)

I said, “Pops! Weren’t you terrified?”

He told me they’d gathered what they could and went to higher ground. “That’s what you do when a tsunami hits.“ (He vividly recalls the tsunami of 1946 that wreaked havoc on Hālawa Valley.)

Then he said, in a very matter of fact way, “ E Hoʻomākaukau.” Be prepared.

Could I ever be THAT prepared?

I guess it all comes down to the fact that we need to prepare as best as we can. We need to prepare for the big things. We need to prepare for the small things. AND we need to prepare for the unexpected.

HOW do we prepare? Pops would say “By living in a pono (righteous) way.”

Ah … But that’s a topic for another blog post.

Happy Thursday.

3 Responses to “Are YOU Prepared? E Ho‘omākaukau!”

  1. Amy says:

    Jason,
    Thanks for sharing this. Very insightful and inspiring. Great website!!!
    Love you and wish you a wonderful trip,
    Amy

  2. Rosendo Rady says:

    Maybe it is also time for the GOP hacks on Fox News to come clean about being nothing but mouth pieces for the party line.Cheap guild wars 2 gold

  3. Nicole Thibadeaux says:

    Jason,
    My eldest (14) went to a leadership camp in Utah this summer and they did a tsunami simulation. The campers had to run to higher ground when they called out “Tsunami!” One counselor was the tsunami and he ran around telling campers, “Now your leg is broken.” or “You broke your neck.” The other campers had to help each other reach high ground. One with a “broken leg” helped another who was “blind.”
    In a crisis, who gets left behind? No one.
    E Ho’omakaukau.