Riding Waves, Young People Tune in to Nature’s Rhythms

“Call someplace paradise and kiss it good-bye,” laments Kepa, an educator and cultural expert on the Hawaiian island of Maui. To teach young residents and visitors about the Hawaiian concept of Kuleana, a mix of privilege and responsibility, he launches them on a marine adventure.

The first step: get them off the couch and into an outrigger canoe to experience the ocean as the ancients did: as a refrigerator, playground, and place of spiritual communion. As they paddle, kids work together and attune themselves to the rhythms of the waves. They appreciate how small they are in the vast waters, but also discover that they have the responsibility and power to protect the marine ecosystem that surrounds and sustains them. A few hours riding the waves can change their thinking forever and encourage them to practice Kuleana, no matter where they live and play.

Guiding Questions

  • How do you and other young people in your community connect with nature?
  • What routines or daily practices would you institute to have your family or school follow the principles of Kuleana?

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