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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tapping into 'power' of aloha

By Beverly Creamer
Advertiser Education Writer

The aloha spirit card has a lack-of-aloha misery index on the reverse side.

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Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona has launched a program of positive thinking called the Power of Aloha, and hopes to hand out an Aloha Card to every student in the state.

He said he thinks that if he starts at the "grass roots" level with young people, it could have great effect throughout the state.

Some students have already punched holes in their card and hung it around their necks, he told a Board of Education committee this week. One student was wearing hers as an earring.

"This really is a moral compass," he said of the little blue plastic cards that say "aloha" on one side and "misery" on the other.

"It's imparting the values that aloha stands for. ... It's not a Bible. It's not a social studies book. It's not me preaching," he said. "It's to talk about the spirit of aloha and see if you're really practicing it."

With the approval of the Department of Education, Aiona has handed out 30,000 cards so far at about 10 schools and to business organizations, and 60,000 more are coming. He sees the cards, which give positive messages and traits on one side and negative ones on the other, as an addition to character education that's already in the schools.

"I didn't mean this would take the place of character education," he told the board committee, "but this would supplement it."

Board member Maggie Cox told him "it's especially important at intermediate school" and said "something like this makes it very real.

"It's not that kids haven't been doing this," she added, "but it's a way of making it real."

Aiona also hopes that parents might use the cards as a way to open a discussion with their children about behavior and the way they treat others.

He said it's already working in his own family.

"At home when I'm angry I have a 21-year-old girl who says, 'Hey, Mr. Aloha, how come you're not practicing aloha?' " he told the committee.

He said it has also been a way he and his 17-year-old son can get into talking about issues.

The positive side of the card, titled "The Aloha Spirit at Work!", has three columns: Seed planted, fruit of seed and harvest. For example, if the seed planted is forgiveness, the fruit is unity and the harvest joy.

By contrast, on the Misery side of the card, entitled "Where is the Aloha?" if the seed planted is unforgiveness, the fruit becomes disunity and the harvest bitterness.

Several years ago, local businessmen launched a similar campaign called Live Aloha!, and the bumper stickers can still be seen on cars around town.

This time business is also involved, said Aiona, and donations are financing the cards, which cost about 28 cents to produce.

The program was originated by pastor Allen Cardines of Hope Chapel Nanakuli with the intention of getting a card into the hands of every one of the town's 11,000 residents. So far about 4,000 have been given out at schools and in the community.

"You get a lot of hurt people walking around, and we know the DOE can't do it all," Cardines told the committee. "So this is a way we can get into the heart of the kids. To change a child you've got to change their heart."

Aiona said he consulted with the DOE before he launched the campaign in the schools and got permission to go ahead, but this was the first time he was letting board members know about the program.

Reach Beverly Creamer at bcreamer@honoluluadvertiser.com.