Add spontaneity to schedule with full-body slam
By Ka'ohua Lucas
Experts suggest that consistency is the key to raising healthy, well-balanced children.
I agree. Every weekday evening I insist that homework is completed, meals are served at the dinner table, showers are taken before bedtime and our two boys are reading between 8 and 8:30 p.m.
However, good intentions often go awry. As in every family, there is always one who ignores convention. These nonconformists like to bend or break tradition when the tiniest opportunity arises.
Right around 8 p.m. when credits appear on the television screen announcing the end of a family sitcom, my husband stretches from his supine position on the floor and with renewed energy springs to his feet and vaults to the pune'e, or daybed, where my 7-year-old languishes.
In one swift move, he flips my son over and wrestles him into a half Nelson.
My 11-year old, who has been staring at the TV with a glazed expression, comes alive.
He leaps off the recliner and bounces into the air, landing his 130-pound frame onto the back of his father.
Meanwhile, my youngest is screaming, "Get off of me!" as his body is crushed under the weight of the two.
"Come on, get off of me," my husband grunts. "You're hurting your brother."
The 11-year-old deliberately slithers off his dad, jabbing a few of his pressure points as he comes to stand at the side of the pune'e.
My husband rolls off my youngest who by now is laughing while gasping for air.
Then, in a move that would only impress the wrestling federation's Stone Cold Steve Austin, he yanks my eldest son off his feet and pile-drives him into the mattress.
"Stop it, you guys!" I sigh. "Dad, it's time for them to brush their teeth and get to bed."
Unfazed, the wrestlers continue.
It reminds me that at this time of year from approximately October to the end of January early Hawaiians celebrated the Makahiki season.
"The Makahiki festival was a time to rest, and a time to make great feasts of commemoration for life and health of the body, and for the help received from the god," writes the 19th century scholar Samuel Manaiakalani Kamakau.
"When the Makahiki kapu was ended, the akua pa'ani, the god of play, came forth," says Kamakau. "His work was to promote the strengthening of the body."
Selected individuals were trained to compete in certain events, one being hakoko, or wrestling.
Although I have been frustrated over the years that the wrestling taking place in our home begins just before bedtime, I have pondered the advantages of having men who thrive in physical combat.
- I never really need to worry about my boys ever being picked on at school. They can handle themselves.
- When it comes to any kind of sport that requires physical contact, my boys never shy away.
- As they have been in training since birth, their bodies are strong and sturdy.
- They are cultivating the traditions and honing the skills of their kupuna.
So if you are feeling frustrated by inconsistencies in your family's schedule, relax. A little spontaneity adds spice to life.
Ka'ohua Lucas has an 18-year-old daughter and two sons, 11 and 7. She hold a master's degree in education curriculum and instruction, and works as an educational consultant on Hawaiian curriculum. Write: Family Matters, 'Ohana Section, The Honolulu Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or fax 535-8170.