We need a public education ho’oponopono

Hawaii’s public education system is full of discord and disharmony. Contract negotiations have fallen through again and again, while furlough days continue. The State, the unions, teachers, politicians, parents, and taxpayers blame each other.

We need to work together to resolve all of the anger, blame, and bad feelings that have grown out of an economic downturn and an expensive public education system.

We need a traditional Hawaiian ho’oponopono for public education.

Ho’oponopono: setting to right; to make right; to correct; to restore and maintain good relationships among family, and family-and-supernatural powers. The specific family conference in which relationships were “set right” through prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness. [“Nānā I Ke Kumu” (1972) by Mary Kawena Pukui, page 60]

I think that we should ask Governor Linda Lingle; Wil Okabe, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association; Garrett Toguchi, chairman of the Board of Education; a parent representative, perhaps from Save Our Schools; and a student representative to the Board of Education to come together and heal the negative emotions that have entangled almost everyone in Hawaii.

According to Mary Kawena Pukui, ho’oponopono is practiced with a leader or moderator who has complete authority. All discussions are channeled through the leader, and everyone agrees to participate with truthfulness and sincerity (‘oia’i’o).

The practice of ho’oponopono involves:
1. An opening prayer (pule).
2. A statement of the problem (kūkulu kumuhana).
3. The “setting to right” of each layer of successive problems (mahiki) through self-scrutiny and discussion of individual conduct, attitudes, and emotions; questioning by the leader; honest confession; a plan for restitution; and mutual forgiveness (mihi) and release (kala). A period of silence (ho’omalu) may be called at any time to calm tempers or encourage self-reflection.
4. A closing prayer (pani).
5. A feast (‘aha ‘aina).

In old Hawaii, ho’oponopono reconciled warring chiefs and resolved family arguments. I think we can adapt ho’oponopono to solve a modern community-wide problem. However, I suggest that any information revealed during ho’oponopono may not be used in a lawsuit or legal action.

Who would you suggest as a helping-healing kahuna or respected kupuna? Who has the spiritual authority to set our public education to right?

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