Sunday, May 11, 2014

Culture is Prevention

Tonight I went to my friend's senior vocal recital. I've been to other senior recitals, but this one was different. Whereas the others exhibited vocals in the style of opera, jazz and Broadway, my friend did his in the style of his people- the Hawaiians. He opened with a Hawaiian chant (a very important form of song), next with a chant of hula kahiko.
His songs ranged from ones composed by the Ali'i to more modern songs of the WWII era, many of which were accompanied by hula dancers. Some were fast and fun, some were slow and nostalgic. All in all it was a great performance, and it carried me away to another time, another place. It made me feel, and it made me think.
As I was watching and listening, I was reminded of this video:
 

That theme: culture is prevention. That's the model of intervention for many Native American tribes. It's the idea that connecting with your past, your ancestors and your culture act as a type of preventative measure against behavioral dysfunction such as alcoholism, abuse, etc..

I believe in this model. A connection with culture, family and ancestors acts as a type of anchor that steers individuals away from seeking other vices to fill a void: the absence of human associations. A sense of belonging to something bigger than self.

I loved my friend's performance because I have grown to love the Hawaiian culture and feel a profound respect for it. I almost envy Hawaiians for having such strong ties to their culture. It makes me want to create stronger ties with that of my own.
I wonder what the Danish do?

Even if the culture you are confronted with is one of dysfunction, go further back. Go back to before dysfunction was introduced to your family. There is such a time. If you feel lost and floating, not knowing where you fit in, find a culture you can tie yourself to, for that will act as your anchor. You don't have to feel lost anymore.

The Hawaiians serve as an example to all of us to connect with our ancestors, our families, our cultures and to one another.

And if I can so interject, the apostles and prophets have been saying it for years: do family history work. God apparently has seen the positive affects of connecting with culture and has been telling us to do so for decades.
Oh heavens, now I get it.

I encourage you to connect to your culture. Do family history work. Connect with others. Go see a cultural display and then learn about it. As you engage in forming your anchor, you don't have to worry about being lost anymore.



If you would like to learn more about how to start learning about your family, please visit https://www.lds.org/topics/family-history

https://www.lds.org/topics/family-history

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