‘Ike loa is the Hawaiian value of learning.
My children were just ending their middle school years when the trending toward the year-round school calendar made its way to Hawaii. So for us, Kepakemapa (September) has always signalled a definite shift: the month has been synonymous with Back IN School and the disciplined scheduling habits that came with it. The laid back laziness we indulgently wallowed in over the summer was but another memory, and hopefully it had recharged us. The Back to School shopping had been done in August, the nice new teachers had begun to dole out homework, and it was time to buckle down and get the brain in gear.
Ashley and Zach always went through a rash of different emotions about all this. Me? I’ve always loved it, always will.
As a mom, September has held exciting prospects for me, for I knew that by the time summer returned and another school year had gone by, my children would have grown in wondrous ways. Not physically, although of course that happened too, but intellectually. I couldn’t wait for the debates; for them to trump my old thinking with their new whys and why nots. Whether they realized it or not — and no matter how much they might try to fight it — they would learn, and they would continue to tweak how they learned. They would be affected by the knowledge that had been shared with them, that had challenged them to understand and comprehend it, and they would emerge as new people.
Throughout it all, I’d be preening like a brilliant blue peacock.
‘Ike loa is the value that my managers have told me “turns you into an absolute fanatic” and I suppose that’s true. It is one of my favorites, for it is all about learning and seeking more knowledge, something I am very passionate about. Gaining more knowledge equates to having more confidence and belief in one’s ability and capacity to learn, and having more of that self-belief empowers you, liberates you and releases a creativity you may not have even realized you possessed. You constantly give birth to new possibilities in this creative process; you create your own destiny, seeking your best possible life (‘Imi ola).
You are sure to feed your body each day, aren’t you? Well, new knowledge is the food for mind, heart and soul. Without it, you are not providing nourishment for your overall well-being. We grow as we learn.
—Managing with Aloha, page 135-136
When we’re in school, we wonder, when will I ever use this stuff? Only after our schooldays are done do we finally realize that we weren’t there to remember the stuff; we were there to learn how to learn it, to get practice at a host of different learning styles — virtually risk-free — until we finally discovered the best way we personally could be, and would be, lifelong learners.
Fast-forward to a career in management, and guess what? We are taught to recruit and hire learners, for learners innovate, learners embrace change, and change is the “new normal” in business. We discover that if we can now perceive how our employees learn best, we can manage them better; we can help them banish routine, boredom, mediocrity, apathy and complacency. We can help them love the work they do, and associate more meaning to it. As their champions, we can love our own work too, for our employees have become our work. They are our causes, our successes, our joys.
We become parents, and we discover that as our children learn they become more confident, more independent. They can become more inspired, they can have more hope for the future, and they can see more possibility than we can. They can be better than we ever were. They remind us that everything is impossible until the first person does it, and someday someone will. They dream of being that first person, and they infect us with their dreams; we suddenly become very conscious of the time we have already let slip by. We discover that giving them a love of lifelong learning is the best possible gift we can give them — and that is a gift we are fully capable of giving them.
As we make all of these discoveries, what about us? What about our learning?
Us too. Same things. It is never too late.
Ho‘ohana with me this month: Let’s go back to school; a school of our own design. Let’s learn something. Let’s learn a lot of somethings. Let’s get inspired, and nourish our minds, our hearts, our souls. Let’s lead in learning with our own good example.
We’re here to live our lives too, and “of those to whom much has been given, much is expected.” Ours must also be lives of lifelong learning, and lifelong growing. We deserve it.
I am going to challenge you this month: If you feel you are already a learner, you will be the one I pick on the most! Set your sights high in these next 29 days: Today is your only day to decide and plan: What will you have learned when September is over? Choose something of your own design, and then get ready to learn even more.
After all, we are the the Ho‘ohana Community.
Postscript: If you are new to Talking Story, Ho‘ohana „¢ is the monthly newsletter of Say Leadership Coaching, sent on the first of each month to our email subscribers. Talking Story is home to the Ho‘ohana „¢ online essay of each issue, and we explore more on the newsletter’s theme periodically through-out the rest of the month. The best way to sort out the Ho‘ohana „¢ posts from the others, is to click on the Talking Story category link named Monthly Ho‘ohana: they’ll appear from newest to oldest.