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God And Boys at Hawaii School

BY J. ARTHUR RATH - Protestant Missionary influences remained ingrained in boarders’ lives at Kamehameha School for Boys in the Forties.

In addition to daily devotional services, school chaplains taught weekly classes, and their offices were open for student visits.  Closest friends and I trained to become Sunday School teachers, we were in the Hi-Y, a Christian-oriented social club.  Chaplains took us to teach at area churches—dressed in school uniforms, of course.

In weekly school newspaper articles, upperclassmen reminded fellow students of how vital our religious training was:

Dewey Eberle wrote:  “Kamehameha helps each student prepare for his life work, including work in the Christian way.  Our devotion periods help lessen the strain of our day’s task.  In devotion period, we pause for a few minutes to give thanks and ask for guidance during the remainder of the day.”

John Miller stated: “With the attitude that there is a God Almighty who is always willing to listen to the pleas of mankind, the person is soon relieved of his burden.  Many times it isn’t possible to confide in any one person, but it is quite possible to go into meditation and disclose your thoughts to God.  Therefore, one of the chief values of religion, as we learn it, is its power to aid a person when there seems to be no other help available.”

Although religious precepts were important in this school for Hawaiians, we were told: “You have it easy compared to St. Louis College where Catholic Brothers really make the boys toe the mark!  Episcopalians at Iolani were strict, too."

Dewey’s and John’s attitudes came to us from America’s “Greatest Generation.”  Our challenge was to perpetuate them in the face of social change and I remember their perspectives.

 

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