Our goal is to become a voice to compel social change. 

It takes a village to raise a child. I know firsthand what that means. When I was in the mainland and not able to be there for my children, my sisters-in-law, my sisters, and my mom helped me more than I’ll ever be able to repay.  My daughter practically lived with her aunties, who helped her view the world, and understand herself. My daughter’s teachers (who were friends of mine) helped me take care of her too. Today, she knows that she has a multitude of people she can count on when she needs help. I hate to think about what could have happened if she did not have them. For whatever reasons, some of our children don’t feel they can talk to anyone about the issues they face everyday. In the last few months we’ve lost many young lives to suicide.  For some reason, they didn’t feel like they could go on. For some reason they felt alone. Were they bullied? Were they isolated? We will never know.

Even if we didn’t know these children personally, it is our obligation to make this our concern. Too many of our children are being stolen by the world, and the fraudulent culture that encourages the pursuit of things that do not matter. As we move farther and farther away from times when we knew all of our neighbors, and when Aunty down the street would cook dinners because Mom and Dad were working late, we lose connection, we become isolated, and when life gets too hard, we have nowhere to turn.

My heart goes out to the ‘ohana who have recently lost their young, loved ones to the world. We feel sorrowful, but time passes, and we forget. But we should never forget because we lose focus on what’s important. If we focus on love, faith, trust, building relationships and holding ourselves accountable for one another, we strengthen bonds, we increase account- ability, and we increase safety, communication, and connection.  he lives of our children depend on our communities being strong and connected. We can care for each other’s children like shepherds shepherd their sheep.

Shepherds were one of the oldest occupations originating in Asia Minor thousands of years ago.  Shepherds were paid to safely lead their lock of sheep from pasture to pasture.  When one sheep wandered of, the shepherd would go after the lost sheep, pick it up, and carry it over his shoulder.  he shepherd carried the sheep until the sheep knew the shepherd’s scent, realizing that it would be safe if it stayed connected and close to the shepherd.  hat’s how we should see ourselves to all of our community’s children. Hawaii is unique in that the sense of ‘ohana is embedded in our culture, but still, we must remember to take the time to reach out to one another’s children.  When we see something not right, we should stop what we are doing, ask questions, make calls, make connections, offer support, and be the shepherd to the lost. Sometimes we tell ourselves to mind our own businesses because we don’t want to offend anyone, but the risk of offending another is smaller than the risk of losing someone because we didn’t do anything.

Over the next few months, we will suggest ways to help, and connect you with organizations helping shepherd the lost.  hey can use our help, and they need all of us. If you know of ways, or have suggestions to strengthen our communities and protect our ‘ohana, please give us a call at (808) 888-9434, or email us at napuahometownmagazines@gmail.com.