Mai Kāpae i ke Aʻo

Mai kāpae i ke aʻo a ka makua, aia he ola ma laila.

Do not set aside the teachings of one’s parents for there is life there.

A dear friend of mine wrote a book called “ʻO Kelekolio, ka Manini Liʻiliʻi” that tells of a manini who went too close to a sewage pipe in the ocean, despite his mother’s warnings. The end result was a loss of all his scales, and he had to “borrow” scales from the different fish in the ocean. He was a far cry from the easy to identify Convict Tang (its English name, named for its stripes). The moral of the story is the ʻōlelo noʻeau above: Mai kāpae i ke aʻo a ka makua, aia he ola ma laila. Do not set aside the teachings of your parents, for there is life there.


Remember your younger days? How many times did you think your parents didn’t know what they were talking about, not up with the times, naive, out of touch, stuck in the “old ways” and “old days”? And no matter how many times they told you that they have been there, done that, it didn’t make much of a difference. At least that is how I felt.


Seems even harder to get this message across to children in these trying times, especially as children reach their teen years. As Tommy Kaulukukui said, teaching is all about modeling, mimicking and mentoring, in that order. We must model positive values so our children mimic those actions and as they do so, or not, we serve as mentors on the side to guide them along the way and support them in any way we can. Being a positive role model and being a good listener is our best line of action. What helps me in dealing with my children, and now my grandchildren, is reflecting upon my own youth and experiences. And remembering how difficult it was, at times, and then imagining the many additional challenges children today face that we never had to consider way back in “the old days.”

Copyright: 2017 – Liana Iaea Honda. All rights reserved. All versions of “He Momi e Lei ai”, in its entirety, past and present, is the property of L. K. I. Honda. Reproduction and use of any kind other than the sharing of this website is prohibited without written consent. Alteration to the original content in any form is prohibited in every and any instance, and use in any other variant is prohibited without written consent of the author. Address inquiries to: hemomi [at] Definitions and wise sayings are from: Hawaiian Dictionary by Pukui and Elbert, 1986. ʻŌlelo Noʻeau – Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings by Mary Kawena Pukui, 1983.
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