10/28/2013 11:14 am ET

Memories of a Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Today, I am inspired to actually sit down and write this blog. Why? Because the Hawaii that I was born and raised in is changing. Some for the good and some for the bad. Changes are occurring rapidly with how we live and do things in our islands. Local people have to wake up and be part of what's happening, which is the reason for why this blog is born.

I grew up in a time where life was pretty simple. Our family lived on the North Shore behind the Mormon Temple. We were raised in the country where there were no paved roads and mud puddles were our pools. The grassy fields and prawn farms were our playground to wander in all day long without a care in the world. Scoop net fishing, catching catfish, digging up worms, rafting down a stream on an inner tube, and playing mud were some of the activities we did when were done practicing piano or homework. I really had the best childhood a kid could ever have.

I have so many childhood memories of growing up on the farm. My grandpa would walk us down to the convenience store and buy us candy from the Ching Tong Leong Store, then we'd cross the street and play at the beach. Finally, it would be back to the farm for more adventures. As my siblings and I got older, little did we know that we'd become the laborers.

The farm life was not an easy one but it really taught me a lot of life lessons that are still instilled in me to this day. My dad would always be on us to always do our best, quality job number one. Never sit to work because that is being lazy. Keep yourself busy, always. Take initiative to do something or find something to do. These were the life lessons learned on the farm that were pounded into our heads. Don't do things to make the family shame, make us proud of you in everything that you do. While growing up, we'd get sick of hearing it every time it was farm day. Now that I have my own kids, I've learned to realize how so many valuable life lessons were acquired on the farm. It's those things that you can never learn anywhere else.

Many simple things can teach kids and ourselves a lot about our world. Simply walking around and turning over a rock and discovering what lives under there is a great lesson. Taking a fishing net down to the stream to a catch fish teaches about patience and keen observation. Learning how to pick starfruit from the trees teaches about how food grows in seasons. Walking down the beach near the debris line and finding all kinds of creatures and objects tell us about how the ocean carries everything. Visiting the places I grew up and seeing how things change over time. There are so many small but valuable lessons that we all can learn by looking at the small things around us that we overlook in our busy lives. It's time to stop and look around us and appreciate those little things again.

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