Thursday, January 9, 2014

"Bring a Main Dish". . .A New Year's Resolution Mantra

While discussing her upcoming family holiday gathering over lunch, my friend expressed her concerns over the meal to be prepared and the fact that certain family members always brought side dishes while she and her husband usually brought a main course.  I could relate and I told her that after years of a similar fate, I finally just asked for what I wanted with the following request-"Bring a main dish."

It was as if a light went off in her head, a great epiphany had taken place. "Bring a main dish," she uttered. "Bring a main dish. That's brilliant! I think that will be my mantra this year!. Obviously attributing a deeper meaning to this simple statement, she had found inspiration in these words and I mulled over the different situations where this phrase could apply to in my own life.

For island people, food is a very important part of any gathering.  Ask any local and they'll tell you what they ate for lunch or what was served at a party they attended over the weekend or what they're 'ono' for right now. The true mark of success for any island event is how well the food was enjoyed by the guests. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it is a cardinal sin for an island party to NOT have enough food, as it is common for hosts to insist that guests take home plates of food to enjoy later or to feed family members who were unable to attend.

When you're invited to a dinner or get together, the first thing you ask here is, "What can I bring?". If the host says, "nothing, just come", you bring something anyway. And when you ARE asked to bring food, you better bring enough. I do feel for people not from the islands who are unaware of this unspoken rule. Perhaps all visitors and newcomers should receive a list of do's and don'ts when they arrive-much like filling out the mandatory agricultural forms on the airplane when coming to Hawaii. At the top of that list would be the following warning: "When asked to bring food to a local party (especially if you're bringing your whole family), DON'T BRING CHIPS."

So it is with this cultural context that I reflected on my dear friend's interpretation of, "Bring a main dish", and why she would choose this as her mantra for the new year.  I suppose that for her it meant to 'bring your best', 'bring your fair share', 'show you care'. Bringing a main dish also refers to an abundance mentality as opposed to a lack mentality.

With that, I've come up with a number of possible scenarios in which this mantra might be utilized:

To a child who gives a lackluster performance during a soccer game: "Son, when you come to the playing field, bring a main dish!"

To a co-worker who relies on other team members to do the bulk of the work on a project: "Sally, in the interest of the entire team, may I recommend that you bring a main dish when we start this next initiative?".

To a spouse who expects you to work AND do all the housework while he watches TV: "Ah, honey, I'm telling you right now, I'm tired of being the only one who brings a main dish to this relationship!".

To the face in the mirror who doesn't want to go jogging in the morning: "Girl, you got this, it's time to bring a MAIN DISH!".

Well, I've beaten this mantra to death, but I think you've gotten the point.  Whatever your goals are this year, whatever resolutions or grand visions you have for yourself, your family or your business, whatever your theme or mantra, may you find success and may you always BRING A MAIN DISH!

Happy New Year!

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