If we could read the secret history of our enemies we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility. —- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I’ve learned about various camera lenses through WordPress’ Photography 101 over the last few months, and amazingly it has helped me to understand people better. We all look at life through our own lens.
So which lens do you use when you are looking at relationships with others; macro, wide-angle, or telephoto? Do you look at things so closely that you fail to see the outer world? Do you take the wider view and sometimes have blurred edges and distorted images? Or, are you more versatile and able to change your focus based on the situation at hand, while occasionally missing the details or blurring the background or even blurring the foreground? Or, like me do you find there have been times in your life when you’ve changed lenses or even times when you wish you had changed your lens?
This month the Bloggers for Peace challenge is to focus on our family especially those we don’t fully embrace. Those who read my recent photo challenge post about family know that in Hawaii ohana means family and much more. I am thinking seriously about how the way I view situations has contributed to dynamics within my ohana. Of course living in a culture that discourages outing members of our ohana, I had to find a way to address the challenge without addressing any individual or group of individuals. The letter below is my response to the challenge. And if it touches a chord for you, I hope you will reach out.
Some of you may no longer realize that you are still part of our ohana, but you are. There truly is no way to remove someone completely from your life once they have touched it enough to be ohana. Believe me, I have tried to remove some of you. The reality is you and I were viewing the situation through different lenses and this resulted in a failure to communicate. It happens.
Unfortunately, it happens too often in this world. I’ve searched my soul to find answers to help bring peace back to our ohana. Honestly, it is still a process. I hope you are working on this from your side too because obviously there are always two sides to any problem. I still have hope that deep within your soul you care enough to want a solution.
I am willing to admit at least half of the failure to communicate rests with me. I hope you are willing to meet me halfway, so we can finally view the situation through each other’s lenses and begin to fully understand one another. I wish you nothing but peace and your reply is not essential for my peace, so you do not need to respond quickly or even at all. Still, I hope you will reply at some point because leaving you behind is not an option.
Aloha Is More Than a Word
You hear it frequently in Hawaii, but it is so much more than just a word we use. People use it as a greeting or to say goodbye, but not when we talk about spreading aloha. Aloha is a way of life many strive to reach. It involves showing kindness, compassion, and empathy to others in big and small ways. It is about showing love and respect.
I believe in spreading aloha, and I cannot honestly say that my blogging has been an effective tool for doing so. That is why the focus of this blog has changed.
Aloha Tower. Located at the dock where visitors were greeted with aloha prior to the airport opening.
Finding a Place for Aloha
I find I need to be present more in life. I have learned so much during my twenty-eight months of blogging, and I am grateful for my followers and the handful of people who have continued to read and share my posts. Yet, I know so many others who are more effective.
This is why I have decided to decrease my presence in the autism and anti-bullying on-line communities and concentrate on spreading more aloha. The blog will remain open for any who want to read prior posts including prior guest posts. I will use it for sharing photos and positive quotes and the occasional update on Cal’s story.
Showing Aloha to Others
I will continue to share Special-Ism.com posts on Twitter. I will no longer be writing for them, but I believe there is still a need for their on-line magazine, and I still support their work. Look for positive posts by others there too.
Hopefully, I will find time to finish my second novel, where Mia’s brother, Cal will be living aloha by helping others to change while supporting those with differences.
I’ll be there as an exhibitor and author and I’ll be giving away ten autographed copies of Delightfully Different. The keynotes and noted speakers looks impressive, and I know there are over 200 speakers total.
Let me know if you are coming! I would love to meet you face to face, and I might even tell you where to find the best beaches and the best shave ice.
When my children were younger we read a story book about the Aloha Bear which taught that aloha means hello, goodbye, and love. People also use it to mean peace, compassion, and mercy. Yet, even in Hawaii, we have a bullying problem that isn’t going away. Those who have been reading my blog know this affected my family directly a few years ago.
Hawaii is one of the few states without legislation specifically aimed at bullying, yet the problem is no longer being ignored. The harassment law was amended last year to allow for prosecution of technology related bullying. State leaders are working on ways to curb the bullying. The news media has also been giving it more attention this year. See the following for more information: Cyber bullying affects 1 in 2 Hawaii teens – Hawaii News Now – KGMB and KHNL Home.
It is time to educate the parents as to their responsibility. For more information about this see my accountability post: Accountability for Protecting Our Children | dswalkerauthor.
A parent’s primary job is to teach their child right from wrong and to protect them from harm. Protect your child no matter what anyone at the school or anywhere else tells you. Protect them by legal means please! Work with me to change the system.
Unfortunately, you will probably also have to help your child learn to forgive so they can completely heal. Becoming the bully is not an option. Becoming an advocate is. It is truly time to change the school climate to one of tolerance and acceptance of differences. I hope some of you will be brave enough to publicly agree with me by commenting here.
Addendum: Hawaii’s anti-bullying law became effective in 2011. However, it excludes over 150 private schools. You can find more posts about bullying by clicking on more supportive schools from the menu or entering bullying in the search area.