I read a lot of negative things about the Hawaiian Public School system, both from the locals and people who have moved here with school aged children. I particularly hear complaints from the military families who may have moved to Hawaii from areas with better school systems.
Here’s the truth: None of my kids are school aged anymore. I’ll probably never write a post that criticizes or praises Hawaii’s school system unless I dedicate some time to interviewing teachers, administrators, parents, and kids.
I did do a very general article about enrolling kids in Hawaii schools for people who are moving to the Islands, though.
In fact, I think that Hawaii is one of THE BEST places for kids to grow up.
Just from being on the Islands in the time that I have been I can tell you that I would have wanted my kids to grow up and develop in Hawaii. And, by the way, I’m saying this while my kids grew up in a very nice area of Massachusetts and attended a great public school system there.
There are experiences and characteristics about Hawaii that I think would be great for kids to be part of that they just won’t get enough of just by vacationing in Hawaii for a couple of weeks.
Why Kids Should Grow Up in Hawaii
1. Appreciation for Nature
Sure, the kids in Hawaii have Facebook, Instragram, SnapChat, Twitter, Xbox, Playstation and iPads. The difference is that the kids who grow up in Hawaii also have a deep appreciation for the islands and the life that lies within them and that is a result of them.
One thing that I am always impressed with is the amount of young local people who are enjoying themselves on Hawaii’s beaches and hiking spots. They truly love and appreciate what they have from the wildlife to the scenery. Sure, they tend to not know how special of a place they live in sometimes but that’s normal. Below it all, there is a true feeling of gratitude.
2. Respect for Elders
It’s part of the culture. It’s taught. It’s bred. IT’S BEAUTIFUL. Sure, kids and young people in Hawaii can be punks just like any other pubescent, immature meatball teenager around the world. One thing that you will almost never see, though, is a kid in Hawaii disrespecting their parents and DEFINITELY not older people in Hawaii.
There is a deep respect for elders. This is due to both the native Hawaiian culture as well as the Asian culture that is strong on the Islands. The sense of family, or “Ohana” in Hawaii stretches beyond blood lines and you will often here older people being referred to as auntie, uncle and even tutu which means grandmother. They are terms of deep, respectful endearment.
One funny account I read was that of a non-native, older lady who was waiting for the bus. When it finally arrived the young driver said, “Oh, Auntie you still waiting for da bus. Sorry so long!” The lady said she never felt more accepted by Hawaiian culture as she did at that moment.
3. Learn About Money and Value
If you want kids to value and appreciate having steak and milk on the table then growing up in Hawaii will teach them that. It’s expensive and beef is a sort of a luxury. (We’re talking about a culture that has embraced SPAM® as their “steak”. LOL)
4. Different Cultures
The melting pot of the Hawaiian Islands that packs lots and lots of different cultures and nationalities onto rocks in the middle of the Pacific will teach young people tolerance and appreciation. It will also result in them growing up with a richer understanding of the entire world around them…no matter if they stay in Hawaii or decide to reside somewhere else.
5. A Varied Diet
I guess I could have lumped this point in with the different cultures but it is a separate topic altogether, in my opinion. Poi, sushi, fish eyes, ocotopus, ahi; Hawaiian, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Malaysian, Micronesian and so many more! You name it and that type of food is somewhere on the Island and, in lots of cases, being prepared fresh on a truck and sold for everyone to enjoy somewhere near a beach!