Mmmm” I am liking this, that on this Independence Day of 2006 we have opened our hearts with lokomaika‘i, the value of giving and generosity.
Independence. Patriotism. Freedom. Democracy. All are strongly passionate ideals, and methinks we need to be reminded of our gentler nature today, and the large capacity we have for being lokomaika‘i, “of good heart” as we reflect on them.
Our ancestors fought courageously for these ideals, and today they are gifts we enjoy with very little time spent actually thinking about them. Even this, the 4th of July, can become more about the bonuses of picnics, roadtrips, and other 3-day weekend pursuits.
When sending out my monthly newsletter yesterday, I directed the Ho‘ohana Community of email subscribers to the Talking Story archives for something I wrote at this time last year called Red White and Blue Values. This is a day and time I feel it’s important to remember that what we have is freedom of choice. As we make our choices each day, these choices we can make thanks to the freedoms we enjoy, our values give us good counsel and direction.
Beyond these values which serve us so well, there is something else which serves to strengthen them at their foundation, and that something steers us to interpret our chosen values in ways that are for good. They are virtues, and”
“Within virtue, we set our hearts free.”
I have written of virtues before, defining them as the character-building hallmarks of our “moral excellence.” A good concept to apply to this day we celebrate our country’s independence, don’t you think? Let’s give it more thought…
Imagine these as our Red White and Blue Virtues:
Freedom. A lokomaika‘i connection to giving and generosity if there ever was one! When we fight for freedom, we make a statement that freedom is something everyone should have; not just the victor. Every person, and every heart is to be set free.
Hope. When we have a sense of independence, we have hope in ourselves, and our own capacity to fill our free moments with learning, with creativity, and with more bravery for unseen futures. We are unshackled, and nothing can hold us back.
Humor. Ah, the great balancer! Humor keeps us humble, and keep us learning in our exuberant patriotic zeal. We are always reminded how young we are as a country, stumbling in our naivetÃ© and adolescence. Humor tempers our tempers! The ability to laugh at ourselves serves us well.
Prayer. We have shied away from prayer in our efforts at political correctness, and I am often quite thankful for my age when I recall how I learned American History when in school. No teacher of mine ever left the religious influences out of the lesson, and there was a very comforting feeling about having everything taught to me uncensored.
Vitality. There is such vibrancy within independence, patriotism and freedom. Each stokes such passionate fires of belief and conviction, and the causes we associate with them and rally behind become bigger than we humans are. They come to life, and they give us life.
Wonder. The story of America’s independence may be one of the greatest epics ever. Here we are, 230 years later, and our story still inspires us and challenges us. We wonder at the glory of it all, we wonder at the incredible belief we had in ourselves, and we wonder at all the possibilities still before us.
Trust. In our youth as a country we still have abundant trust in who we are and the democracy we stand for. We have never stopped believing, and I honestly can’t imagine that we ever will. In God we trust, and in us we trust.
Faith. Like our trust, our faith never falters and never wavers. We have faith that ours will continue to be a land of plenty and opportunity, and that as long as we work hard enough, and smart enough, our faith will surely be rewarded.
Grace. Ah that we can have more charm and grace, and be kinder, gentler, and always “of good heart.” It will be this virtue of grace that helps us to mentor and coach, and with the fine partner of humor, grace keeps our humility at the forefront of all our efforts to be as strong a country as we can possibly be.
Gratitude. There is bountiful reason that America the Beautiful will be joyously sung throughout the country today. We have much to be thankful for, and we have far more to learn about demonstrating our appreciation more than we now do.
Joy. When all is said and done, this is what hard-earned freedom has delivered to us; joy. When we allow our hearts to step in, joy gets revealed in countless expressions, and there are no limits to our enthusiasm, optimism, and energies.
Peace. The virtue we can never, ever stop aiming for. If we were all lokomaika‘i, of good heart each and every day, perhaps we would better understand how fighting for it is just all wrong. Aloha is a far, far better way.
Last year: Red White and Blue Values
And 6 months ago: My Aloha Virtue List
Our July Ho‘ohana: Lokomaika‘i (Giving and Generosity)