Tag Archive: early childhood development


Naalehu, HI. – A senior lady would come every other day to pick up the cardboard trash at the local grocery store Island Market. What was unusual, she used a brand new shinny red Ford F-150 Ford truck; my curiosity was awakened.

My wife Amy and I opened a grocery and convenience store, called Wiki-Wiki Mart – Union 76, two blocks away from Island Market.  When our trash and recycling service provider stopped I asked the lady to take over the service, so Sue Barnett, started taking care of our trash and recycling service; she was punctual and did a very good job for us.  I had to remind her to cash her monthly checks; there were four months of checks outstanding.  She was donating her checks to Naalehu Main Street a local non-profit group. The group told Sue it was “not worth the hassle to them” as they were phasing out of their group.  Sue finally cashed her checks.  This intriguing women worked very hard, then gave her money away.

After couple of years, Sue comes to the store with another new red Ford F-150 truck, wow,  how does this lady survive; giving away her income and buying another new truck.  So my curiosity peaked.  Finally, I ask her about her prior occupation; she said she was a retired veterinarian; wow, now it made sense.  She was taking the cardboard and making mulch for resale. Sue was always busy and very resourceful.  She donated her time once a month to neuter cats and dogs in the community; a very caring and giving person who shared her skills freely and with much compassion and aloha. One day she came to the store with a large “Black and Blue” mark on her thigh, she said a donkey bit her, then remarking how painful that was… yikes, I guess after a life long career she was used to those kind of rare experiences.

Now wanting to find out how she became so diligent I asked her if I could meet her for breakfast and listen to how she was raised by the parents; her story would be shared with http://www.Startsathome.org. She said yes and I waited with baited breath to hear her story.

She explained she did not come from a rich family and her parents had to work hard to put food on the table. Sue said “if you want something you have to work”  Her mom said if you want a comic you have to work. So the mom would send them into the neighborhood to pick up trash and she’d pay them five (5) cents for a bag of trash or pull weeds around the house. “So when you got what you wanted you’d appreciate it a lot more.”  She’s concerned about “today’s kids who feels that they are entitled to what they want and not investing the time to get it or stealing instead of working.”

An interesting comment she mentioned is “the’re kids that are born poor and die poor and there are kids that are born rich and die poor” She believes and a strong work ethics keeps people out of poverty. She appreciated her mom keeping her goals realistic and can remember wanting a pony and her mom said that’s too much money. “Having realistic goals can help and will encourage success”. She also sees that when people are not successful and give up could commit suicide. Sue says “we should learn from our failures, it’s the best teacher.  So get up and get going.”

Sue went to a local college with the scholarships she earned, then worked her way through graduate school.  She doesn’t like to be called doctor or use her professional designation as VMD.  She said those titles a not important as they cause to much “one up-man-ship”.  The community has come to know her as Aunty Sue.  Thank you Aunty Sue.

Written by Carl Okuyama

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where-is-aliyah-foundNaalehu, Hi. – Last year elementary school student Aliyah found a $10.00 bill in Union 76 Wiki-Wiki Mart; it was on the floor in front of the sales counter. Knowing somebody lost money she shared her story with Peter, her bus driver, who turned it over to the store’s lost and found. Since nobody claimed it we had to find Aliyah during school break.

A Facebook post looking for Aliyah was initiated. YAY, we found Aliyah! “Liking” the story other people donated to Aliyah to reward her for her integrity and honesty, including a California Judge who has been on the bench for 27 years. Aliyah was presented with the $10 bill plus $161.00.”Honesty Pays”.

In today’s society it seems people are losing their honesty and integrity; our children are seeing horrific news on TV and portable social media devices.  Children are seeing too much about presidential candidates accused of lying or cheating. What kinds of impression are we leaving for our children who will lead our communities and country’s future.  We all can help by encouraging and promoting honesty and integrity… let’s make a country of honest children.

Thank you to Aliyah’s parents Pastor Troy and Heather Gacayan; we were pleasantly surprised that Aliyah’s parents are the senior pastor at River of Life Church in Pahala. Peter Serfin, Bus Driver, works for the Volcano School of Arts and Science; Peter is the former Editor of Orchid Isle Magazine, he enjoys helping children.

Together we can train children in the way to go.

by Carl Okuyama

 

Where is Aliyah $10 Lost and FoundLast year elementary school student Aliyah found a $10.00 bill at Union 76 Wiki-Wiki Mart in front of the candy counter in Na’alehu, Hawaii. Knowing somebody lost money she gave it to Peter her bus driver who turned it over to the store’s lost and found. Since nobody claimed it we had to find Aliyah. A Facebook post looking for a Aliyah was initiated. We found her and we’ll be returning the $10 bill to Aliyah.  A couple other people have donated to Aliyah to reward her for her integrity and honesty, including a California Judge whose been on the bench for 27 years. Honesty pays. All monies raised will be given to Aliyah.

In today’s society many times it seems we are losing our honesty and integrity.  When our children watch the news, what kinds of impression are we leaving for our children who will lead our community’s future.  With your help we can encourage more Aliyahs.  Hopefully with a successful fundraising campaign and a news story can all help shape our future.  #startsathome.
Where is Aliyah 2015

Please help and donate $5, $10, $25, or more; it’s very much appreciated. Help build honesty in our community.

Aloha and thank you very much for your help!

Carl Okuyama

Here Come #3 Child

Mom a few week’s before giving birth to Justin. Kimberly 3 years old, Jeffrey 2 years old, and Justin coming soon.

The year was 1983, Amy is at the Hilo Hospital and she just gave birth to Justin, our third child. Kimberly was three years old and Jeffrey two years old, they both were eager to visit mom and their new brother.  Like the saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”, before leaving for the hospital I asked the children, “we’re going to visit your brother, the poor guy has no teeth, no toys, and some clothes; do you think you can share and help him?”  Jeffrey and Kimberly quickly noded with a smile and said “yes”, Kimberly handed over a toy and said “he can have this”.  This was one way to plant seeds for a helpful and sharing family.

It’s now 2015, thirty-three (33) years have passed and Kimberly, RN worked at Queen’s Hospital’s Trauma Center of the Pacific, and Queen’s Mililani Emergency, she and her husband Christian just had their second child his name Cody.  Although time has changed the spirit of helping and sharing has carried on.  Now, her daughter Andee who just made three years old, in the name of building and helpful family is being promoted to a new and very important job – Mommy Helper. Congratulations Christian and Kimberly, you’re great parents.

cody and Andee first kiss

Andee gives Cody her first kiss, she’s been waiting for this day for months.

Teach sharing and helping others.  It’s good to facilitate the concept of “ours” verses “all mine”.  “All mine” promotes selfishness, egotism, and a may foster a bully in our mists.  A challenge for an informed parent is knowing the concept of siblings not wanting to share their mommy or daddy when new siblings are born, this can pose a challenge as the earlier born children doesn’t want to loose or share the attention of their parents to the new baby.  A suggestion would be mom or dad asking the children to be a Mommy or Daddy Helper, to help with small chores that give children the  opportunity to be with their parents and be complimented and encouraged.

These chores are performed together with the older child, newborn, and parent. This may take the form of helping change the baby’s clothes, feeding the baby, giving a bath, pushing the stroller, changing the diapers, going shopping, or other family chores together.  When showing the newborn to family and friends, you can keep the older child in the conversation by asking “Andee, uncle Justin wants to know how much did Cody weigh at birth?” Keep giving the children the attention they shared before the the newborn arrived. Keep up the great job you’re doing!

By Carl Okuyama

Andee's smile says it all.  Andee is now a Mommy Helper.  Yay!!!

Andee’s smile says it all. Andee is now a #MommyHelper and #DaddyHelper. Yay!!!