My great grandparents, Taru and Kama Shimabukuro, with my great uncle, Rinsei, and my grandmother, Otome, in 1915.
I really love looking at old photos of my family. It reminds me about grandparents and how hard they worked to raise my parents. It also makes me realize appreciate how much they sacrificed for their family.
I was raised with the saying, “Kodomo no tame ni.” It is a Japanese saying that means for the sake of the children. I witnessed this throughout my life watching my grandparents and parents working hard so that us kids had the best possible future.
My dad’s mom embodied this saying in all what she did. She came from a family that had very little. Despite all the hardships she faced, she hardly ever complained about it. She would laugh much of those tough times off. From being very poor to finally becoming comfortable, she always remained positive about the future. She was never rich in terms of money, but rich with her tight knit bonds to her family.
I have to remind myself now and then about where I came from.
My great grandparents left their familiar home country in hopes of making it better for their families. It took great sacrifice and decades of hard work to support their family. They literally came with nothing and helped to set the foundation for the values that shaped the next generation, my dad and his siblings.
My dad was instilled with his parents’ ethics to work hard to get ahead in life which he taught me and my siblings. He recently confessed to me the real reason he continued the farm and the reason surprised me. It wasn’t about money. It was something completely different.
He had lost his papayas to the ring spot virus as a farmer in the 1970’s and needed to recover from that devastation so he took on a full time job at BYU Hawaii. He said that he could’ve just worked that job and quit the farm but he wanted to keep it going so that we would learn the value of hard work. His intention was to keep it going for us to learn important life lessons.
The farm days were really family work days.
When the second wave of the virus hit yet again after moving his fields, he still pressed on. My siblings and I had to get jobs at age 15 to support the family and work on the farm too. Not only did we go to school, hold down part time jobs, participate in extracurricular activities, and do our chores, we also worked on the farm. That was the childhood my dad knew. It taught him good work ethic and determination and it did the same for me and my siblings.
Every once in awhile, I get frustrated with things going on in our state and it makes me want to leave it all. I have to remember the hardships my great grandparents, grandparents, and dad went through.
I have it so good compared to what they went through and it’s their sacrifices that got me to where I am now. The hardships I live through now is different than what they knew.
I honor the past because it gives me a better idea of the future that I want for my children.
I’m no different than others who want to preserve a certain way of living that teaches each generation important lessons. Lessons of respecting each other and the land, honoring old traditions, and leading a noble life to honor one’s ancestors.
Many of these activities are under attack in Hawaii on various fronts by people who have never shared in these practices. This is why I have joined a group of like minded folks who share the same ideas like me. We’ve joined together with fishermen and hunters to form the Hunting, Farming, and Fishing Association to broaden our reach with others to become a louder voice in educating and advocating for our way of life. By collaborating with others, we can help to preserve these practices for the future generations.
We must speak up for the future of Hawaii. Please join me!
Learn more about the Hunting Farming and Fishing Association.
Exploring the world is what will help our keiki learn lessons for the future.