Column by Tutu and Me
Po`okela means excellence, to exceed, to excel. In the Hawaiian culture, everyone has not only their kuleana, responsibility, but also an understanding that we should do more than what is expected whenever possible. It’s a feeling in your na`au (literally: guts; figuratively: of the heart or mind) that you should do not only what is asked, but to perform beyond what is expected. In school, it means doing assignments not only thoroughly, neatly, and turning it in on time but putting a cover on the report, adding illustrations and doing extra research. The same is true in the workplace – not only performing up to expectations but taking the initiative to do more than you are asked. This is po`okela.
Getting keiki out of the house in the morning is a challenging task. Getting to Tutu and Me consistently is good. Getting to Tutu and Me and being on time for the morning circle is superb. Attending consistently and arriving on time with both caregiver and keiki smiling and ready to go is po`okela.
All of the wonderful toys and equipment at the Tutu and Me site are fabulous. All of the “homemade” activities – the cardboard box canoe, refrigerator, puppet theater, etc. are awesome. The extra effort the staff gives in creating these things is from their hearts, and with aloha is po`okela.
Try This at Home:
• In daily activities with your keiki, po`okela should be recognized and praised.
• Po`okela is learned through observation and modeling. When a task has been completed well, describe and explain this to your keiki. For example: “Look! Daddy washed the car. Not only the outside but the inside too. He did a really good job, didn’t he?”
• Recognize and praise keiki when they do something well. For example: “You not only put away your toys but your sister’s as well! That’s an excellent job!”
Remember: Kulia i ka nu`u – Strive to reach the highest. Motto of Queen Kapi`olani.
Contributions from Tutu and Me Traveling Preschool, a program of Partners in Development Foundation. Tutu and Me is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.