Recently, my wife and I went on vacation, and I had to explain to my nine year-old son why it was just the two of us going. I explained that mom and I needed time for just the two of us, just like he and I spend father and son time.

Each year, I take Ethan to the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival in Hawaii where we live and where I teach Huna, the ancient system of empowerment and flexibility of the mind/body/spirit that is being passed down to me through family lineage. One idea of Huna, taught by Hula master Uncle George, is 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 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 a 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 my father and 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.

(Sidebar) A purpose-filled vacation

Interested in a Huna vacation for fathers and sons? Huna expert Dr. Matthew B. James suggests one of his nine-day Huna training seminars to learn the lessons of this ancient system and experience it intellectually, physically and spiritually. The itinerary includes:

•Day 1 Learn to release negative emotions and limiting decisions
•Day 2 Learn to connect with the five elements and do a meditation and initiation to connect with your higher self
•Day 3. Option to learn hula, taking what you're learning and putting it into physical expression, followed by instruction on elements and how to flow them. Learn how energy and money are related and how one can learn to control both. Also discover how to trust your gut, reduce stress and relate with others in intimate or business relationships.
•Day 4. Learn to chant, more teaching on the Huna perspective, laws of Huna magic and dream interpretation
•Day 5. Chanting to open up neurology, understand the language and connect with the lineage. Also training on the 5th element, the Keawe, to resolve conflicts and dichotomies in life and dream time initiation.
•Day 6. Visit Honaunau, the city of refuge, and learn about the concept of forgiveness and release practiced for generations at this sacred site
•Day 7. Visit the Kilauea volcano, hiking three miles across the crater and meditating to connect with the fire element and the energy of the planet
•Day 8. A Hawaiian guest discusses the culture, plus wrap up content for the class and Q&A
•Day 9. Discussion of lineage and aloha, symbol initiation and luau

Author's Bio: 

Matthew B. James, Ph.D., international trainer, lecturer and educator, is President of Kona University and the Empowerment Partnership. His work is dedicated to creating personal transformation by teaching Huna, the ancient science of consciousness and energy healing, using cutting edge therapeutic techniques. To contact Dr. James, please email him at To learn more, visit