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  • Writer's pictureKa Hana Pono


I share this story as an inspiration and as an example of conscious positive parenting in practice…


In ancient Hawaiian culture every child was seen as Spirit light, Spirit greatness, and valued and respected as such.

At the birth of each keiki, a bowl was carved by a kupuna, and given to the child for his exclusive use. It was understood from infancy, and explained to keiki in their toddlerhood, that each child is a ‘bowl of light’, here on earth to shine spirit greatness.

Any action or thought not in alignment with that light of spirit greatness was like a rock in the bowl, dimming the light until it would no longer shine, and the ‘bowl’ that each of them were, would become dark, full of stone, through which light cannot shine.

But as their true identities were actually spirit light, there was an easy remedy for the piling up of rocks in one’s bowl – they could huli the bowl, turn it over, so the rocks would pour out and their light, their greatness, would continue to shine.

Indigenous Hawaiian children were raised with this metaphor. Keiki were instructed to literally place pohaku (rocks) in their bowls whenever they did anything not in alignment with the principles of greatness. This was done on an honor-basis and self-directed, rather than someone saying, “That was wrong, put a rock in your bowl for that one.”

Kupuna regularly brought keiki together with their bowls and pohaku, to sit in a circle and review their conduct. This was never done in a judgmental or critical way, and keiki were always seen as separate from their behaviors. They were never ‘bad’, but it was acknowledged that certain behaviors would block their light and prevent them from accessing their greatness and connecting with Spirit.

I know of a kupuna who tells me that her kupuna used to say, “Whoa! Plenty lessons this week!” when she sat there with her bowl full of rocks. Never, “Boy, were you bad this week.”

Once the lessons were reviewed and the teachings acknowledged, the bowls were huli, and mahalo pau (thank you, finished). Very much the quintessential focus on “aloha ha’awina, mahalo kumu” – hello lesson, thank you teacher.

The mistakes were not bad, the child not bad. Experiences were viewed as lessons, valued and received with love and gratitude.

Can you imagine what your life would be like had you been raised in this manner?

Can you imagine what your childs life would be like should he/she be raised in this manner? 

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Ka Hana Pono Daycare & Preschool

a licensed childcare center on Oahu's north shore, in Hale'iwa, Hawai'i
at the Waialua Community Association.
We believe teaching and living with ALOHA and in PONO encourages the best

from teachers, children, parents and all caregivers.

Children ages 2 to 5 are eligible to enroll ~ We currently have openings for August 2024.


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