To be completely honest, I’m truly Americanized at heart. Growing up presented the challenge of being consistently obligated to dance, sing, and learn the language of my heritage.
My dad and I didn’t always get along, and, like any self-respecting teenager, I did my best to do the exact opposite of whatever he wanted — a rebellion which I would later regret.
Rather than owning and respecting who I was, I had something to prove.
Part of Two Worlds
You see, I am a product of two worlds: Samoa, and the U.S. And I never fit entirely in either one.
When my parents got divorced, half of that equation was effectively cut from my life. There were hurt feelings, and it took a long time to get back on track.
Late into my college years, I began to come into my own, and, rather than re-act, I realized something was missing.
But before I could bridge the gap between my culture and I, I needed to bridge the gap between my dad and I, which required several years, fights, tears, and abundant forgiveness on both sides.
We are not perfect, but the more my heart turns toward my father, the more it turns toward Samoa.
— And that is what I want to get at today.
In a wonderful episode of one of my favorite podcasts, Joshua Straub cites two studies:
- First, Robert Epstein found in a meta-analysis that the top 3 parenting strategies to get the outcomes we are looking for in our kids, in order, are:
- Love and Affection
- How a Parent Manages His/Her Own Stress
- How You Treat Your Spouse
- Second, Vern Bengtson from the University of Southern California, in a 55-year longitudinal study, found relational warmth is the single biggest predictor of faith transmission across generations — and men, this is for you — particularly from a father figure.
So, if you are a parent struggling with a young child or a teenager, a friend struggling with a friend, or a teacher struggling with a student —
Remember: It’s all about the relationship!!!
The impression you hope to leave will have the best chance of success coming from a loving, compassionate companion, just as God lifts, builds, and chastens us.
And it is never too late to make this shift. You may not be able to find a way back like I did; if you do, it may not be the same.
You can only do your best to live kind and spread Jesus’ love, and trust Him to work out the rest for your salvation and the salvation of those you love.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.Romans 8: 28
Savalivali (Means Go For A Walk)
While I’m at it, I’m slowly picking up a few things, and I thought I would share a piece of my culture with you today. Like me, this song is part of two worlds, one of which I am proud to say, is Samoa.
Savalivali, means go for a walk
Tautalatala, means too much talk
Alofa ia te oe, means I love you
Take it easy, faifai lemu
Teine manaia means pretty girl
Taamilomilo means around the world
Whisper to me means musumusu Maia
Oi aue, means my, oh my
E ua malie o, avane i le malo
E le faia so’u loto
A e tu’u lou finagalo
Go for a ride, ti’eti’e taavale
Stay at home, means nofo I le fale
Leai o se tupe, means no more money
Much trouble, means faalavelave
Aue ta ino’ino i lau amio pi’opi’o
Ua e musu ia ita ua e laulauina
A ua e alu e nofo i le Saina
Isa isa fuga i lou fia ai alaisa
A Bit of History for Those Who Are Interested
I read somewhere that this song was written in the days when there was a naval station in American Samoa, by girls who were, at the time, dating the shipmen of the Manuao. It was their way of communicating with the English-speaking men.
Which makes sense, because the chorus roughly translates to:
Go ahead, give yourself to the government.
It doesn't do me any good
When you give up your will
So there you have a little history, and some new phrases under your belt.
Here’s to learning more about who we are, and to loving ourselves and those around us as God loves us!