Today is May 1st and that means it’s Lei Day in Hawaii. I lived in Hawaii for two years while I was in High School and that’s how I discovered this wonderful tradition!
Moving, for me, was difficult. I had gone from Kindergarten through 9th grade in the suburbs of St. Louis, MO. It wasn’t a very diverse place.
Also, I had made the Cheerleading Squad and was voted to be Captain. And I had fallen in love for the first time. My life was finally looking up after the awkward years of middle school.
But, then, I was whisked away (far away) to Hawaii which, to any grown up, seems like a dream but, to me, a shy teenager, I was scared out of my mind.
I hadn’t had to make new friends, like ever. In fact, when new students came to our school, I had just ignored them. I had no idea how they might have felt. But, now, I was the new student. I was pretty sure I would be ignored.
Thankfully, I made a friend (she was also new to the school) the first day and we’ve been friends ever since (that’s 37 years now)!
Fortunately, I was also a swimmer so I joined the swim team. The season started in October so fairly soon after school started, I was part of a group and felt like I fit in.
Now, as a High School Guidance Counselor, I feel for students when they are new. Some take it like I did, upset and scared, but others embrace it and are happy for a new start. I’m always surprised at the happy ones because I never knew there could be a different feeling towards a move or a change. Perspective matters.
So, my first Lei Day was special because I didn’t know about it at all. My friend got me a lei and I wore it proudly all day. It smelled heavenly. Everyone in the whole school had on leis. It was magical.
There’s nothing like the scent of a beautiful flower to lift your spirits and make you feel loved.
Maybe that’s why I use flowers in my books as a symbol of hope and love. Because, just like flowers, I believe if we are living our passion, our authenticity, we are releasing an uplifting scent of hope and love to the world. That scent travels far and wide and encourages others to live their passion and to be authentic also. Increasing the hope and love in the world.
The old saying, “bloom where you are planted” is meant to encourage us to accept where we are at but I believe the most important part of that sentence is the word “bloom.” Let us all bloom, find our voice, and give our self to this world.
Lilacs have a wonderful scent. They have come to represent my company, Lilacs in Literature, Growing Children with Character. I want to encourage children through literature to be the best they can be so they can grow up to be passionate and authentic individuals so they can give the gift of themselves to the world and make it a better place.
So, Happy Lei Day and here’s to blooming into our passionate, authentic selves!