An Old Lesson


Several years ago, my eldest daughter had asked for a globe for Christmas.  Santa loves toys that are educational and timeless, so he brought it for her.  As she’s turning into a tween, her interest in it has waned but my kindergartner has become very intrigued by it since our adventure to Ithaca last year.

As Katelyn, my soon to be 6 year old, was trying to figure out her place in the world, she started asking questions about many of the fellows that she met at Cornell.  Her first question was where was Nassib from.  We started to talk about Uganda.  She was even more curious and wanted to see what Uganda and other African countries were like.  She randomly pointed her finger at the globe and landed in Zambia.  She then said, “Momma, what are the kids like there?”

Well, I decided to search on YouTube Zambia and children.  As expected, videos about feeding children came to the top of the search.

I showed Katelyn the video without even screening it.  I explained to her that there are children who only get to eat one meal a day.  She was simply shocked.  I asked her how she would feel if she only ate once and she said she would not like it.  We had a great discussion about why momma went to Cornell to help kids who weren’t as lucky as she was.  I emphasized to her how can you play when you’re always hungry?  She said she can’t do anything when she is hungry.  Sadly, there are so many in the world who are in this situation.

As the video played, I could not help but think about how many times I was told that the “feed the world” message is “propaganda” by corporations.  That message doesn’t resonate with people who have it all. As I watched the video of the children eating happily, a biblical passage came up.  I’m not an ultra religious person but I can appreciate the moral lessons in the bible.

“I was hungry and you fed me.  I was thirsty and you have me drink.  I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

The concept of feeding others isn’t something new at all.  It’s no different than Jesus’ lesson on teaching a man to fish is better than giving it to him.  The theme of Sharing our food is an ancient lesson that helped to build our societies and communities.

As I showed Katelyn where her ancestors came from on the globe, it’s clear to me that we all came from some place far away.  Hawaii was an area of global convergence thanks to agriculture.  We cannot forget our roots in the global community.  The Hawaiians descended from people that travelled from the Polynesias.  They were travelers of the world themselves.  We are global citizens.

We can live under the fallacy that Hawaii is not key to the world but that’s operating under a false assumption.  What we do in Hawaii affects the world and not helping others, especially the children, is selfish. We can teach our children to be self centered people or we can teach them some of the old lessons, which focused on compassion and thoughtful person to help their fellow friend across the world and in their communities.

My kids will not learn the lesson of “me,” but a life lesson that it’s about “we.”



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