06/14/2012 12:03 pm ET Updated Aug 14, 2012

Fatherhood and Lineage

Each year, I take my son Ethan to the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival in Hawaii where we live and where I teach Huna, the ancient discipline of energy, consciousness, and healing passed down to me through family lineage.

The late Uncle George Na`ope, founder of the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, taught that your spirit and higher Self come through when you dance. Going to the festival with my son gives us time to bond and cultivate a strong foundation in our relationship. These are lessons I learned from my own family.

My grandfather was the happiest man I have ever known. I remember spending time with him while we were on family vacations. This strengthened not only my own spirit, but also our family. Grandparents' love and guidance can be a great support and foundation to help parents raise their children.

This concept of lineage, of passing down valued lessons from generation to generation, is central to the Huna way of being that I teach. Huna means "secret" or "hidden wisdom." It is the modern term used for Ho'omana, the ancient Hawaiian system for empowerment.

Ho'o means "to make." Mana is "energy." Taken together, Ho'omana means to make life-force energy. Huna teaches people how to get in touch with their life-force energy, how to move it, and how to understand their connection with the environment and with others.

In the Huna tradition, women carried all the mana in the lineage. The masculine side directed the energy because energy undirected simply disperses into the universe.

I was raised by a single mom who was an empowered woman. Yet I learned from my Huna lineage the concept that a father needs to be there for his son.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to begin learning Huna at the age of 13 directly from Hawaiian elders. They passed down this knowledge, a gift based on thousands of years of indigenous experience, to our family.

I remember, when I began studying Huna, people would say, "one day you're going to teach it" and "you need to do this because your dad did." But that western concept of lineage misses a valuable point.

Lineage teaches you that you can stand out as an individual. I am a different person from my father and want to do things on my own. At the same time, I have a responsibility to preserve the Huna lineage.

Likewise, it is not my son's responsibility to someday take over my company and run it. But I'm his dad, and he was born into our family. With lineage, there is a level of responsibility. Given the gift of knowledge about Huna, my son has a responsibility to pass that on to the next generation.

Today I share this foundation, passed down through thousands of years. Learning Huna at an early age directly from Hawaiian elders like Uncle George, I can teach these ideas with the confidence that I am passing along something larger than myself.

This gift of lineage gives a confidence about where you come from. You are sharing your foundation so that those you teach can lean on that instead of leaning on you.

It is the same with fatherhood. If I make it all about me, my son will think he has to rely on me to fix problems. But if I rely on my lineage, that will give him a solid foundation for life.

Matthew B. James, MA, Ph.D., is President of Kona University and its training and seminar division The Empowerment Partnership, where he serves as a master trainer of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), a practical behavioral technology for helping people achieve their desired results in life. His book, The Foundation of Huna: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times, details forgiveness and meditation techniques used in Hawaii for hundreds of years. He carries on the lineage of one of the last practicing kahuna of mental health and wellbeing. To reach Dr. James, please contact him via his Facebook fan page or his blog.