Know Your Place
Li’ula Busby, MHS Grade 12
Kalo is happiest when it is growing where it belongs. When I was five, my mom asked me what I want to be when I grow up. I said I want to be happy. I’m happiest when I have a sense of belonging. Belonging means to fit in. It means being in the right place with the right people. Knowing your place is challenging sometimes because your place shifts when you’re with different people and when you’re in different places. To truly know your place, you need to know who you are. Next, figure out your viewpoint on what’s right and wrong. Lastly, know where you fall in line – your role.
Knowing who you are is more than knowing your name. When I’m introducing myself, I don’t just say my name. I say my name, my parents’ names and where I’m from. I’m young so people often ask me who my parents are. They ask because they want to know where I come from and because there’s a significant chance they know someone in my family. If you know where you’re from you know where you’re welcomed. If you know who your family is, you know who you’re welcome around.
“Politically correct is not always the same as culturally correct,” is a saying I heard from Uncle Earl Kawa’a.
To me that means what’s lawful isn’t always pono and what’s pono isn’t always lawful. For example, it’s politically correct for people to sit three feet away from you on a three-mile beach while blasting their music, but is it culturally correct? It’s legal for foreigners to vacation on Maui right now, but is it pono? No, it’s not. Be observant, know when to make the right decision and know how to behave in certain places at certain times.
Another way of knowing your place is knowing where you fall in line. If I’m around my little cousins, I can boss them around a little bit, but if I’m with my parents I’m the one that gets bossed around. Your place changes based on the people you’re with.
As 11th grader Nohea Rojas explained, “respect your elders because it’s just a common courtesy.”
When you go to someone else’s place it means it’s not yours, so it doesn’t have your rules. If you’re from the states and you come to Hawaii, people here are going to have different rules. Over here we take our shoes off when we come inside because our shoes are dirty. In some other places people keep their shoes on because they think feet are dirty. Even when you’re welcome somewhere you still need to know your place and follow the rules so you can stay welcomed.
Knowing your place is knowing who you are, knowing what’s right and wrong and knowing where you fall in line. Some varieties of kalo belong in the lo’i and some belong in dryland. Know your place so you can be happy when you grow up too!