A Reminder Of What Really Matters

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - June 08, 2011

I participated in the Lantern Floating at Ala Moana Park this past Memorial Day and I want to thank the Shinnyo-en Buddhist order and sponsor Na Lei Aloha Foundation for providing this healing, nurturing and memorable opportunity.

Kudos also to all the volunteers. I truly want you to know how much of an endearing impact you had on the 40,000 people who gathered to bid aloha to the memories of loved ones who have passed. I, for one, am deeply appreciative.


* I marvel at the resiliency of young children. I was recently having a cup of coffee at a local fast food restaurant when a family of five had a seat. It appeared the mom and dad were struggling as they corralled their kids into a booth. The parents were hard workers, with the dad streaked with dust and dirt and the mom in the uniform of a local store. Now, I know it’s reckless to make assumptions, so I want to stress that these are more observations rather conclusions. Nonetheless, it was the faces of the children that had the greatest impact. Yes, they were a bit unkempt and a bit disheveled, but they were so happy! They were happy because they were in a restaurant grinding on food they loved and playing with prizes they enjoyed. More than that, their contentment is attributable to their hardworking parents. Sure, it seems times are tough. And yes, they may not be living the high life. But they clearly were the foundation of a loving family. The smiles and laughter they shared, if only for that time at the table, was just so inspirational to see. How many families get caught up in the travails and challenges of the day and allow the material pursuits to cloud their family?

OK, the nice cars and fine houses and designer clothes, you bet those are nice. But isn’t it true that real wealth is found in the connection between parents and children? All that from just one cup of coffee.

* Yes, there are a myriad of issues facing us today - city, state, federal . The city is ramming this nonsensical train down our throats, the state still is searching for ways to separate you from your wallets, and the Obama administration is lording over one of the most stealth economic recovery periods we have never seen. I get that. I write about those issues regularly. But life is more than that. It’s taking your daughter shoe shopping and noticing she’s grown another size since the last time. It’s listening to your son practice Mozart and Beethoven on the piano, without asking him to do so. It’s reveling at the beauty and talent of your wife and thanking the Lord for allowing her to see what others cannot.


I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’m turning 50 soon. Or maybe you just have to take a break from the observation and analysis of actions and events you don’t control and can rarely change.

All I know is there will be points of concern and disagreement about our community, as well as moments of praise and attaboys. But, for just this week, I thought I’d take some good advice and stop to smell the proverbial roses.

Peter, Neil and Obama can wait. I’m gonna take my kids to a movie.

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