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Our Grandchildren’s ‘Ulumotu’a

According to Tongan culture, the oldest male son in the family is the ‘Ulumotu’a. Here is a link to read more about this.

https://www.eua-island-tonga.com/Tongan-Culture.html

This role is inherited by the eldest male line. In our case, our oldest son is Robert (Lopeti). It just so happens to be his birthday this month. He has shown his ability to be a leader in his family, while serving in the Air Force, and in his ecclesiastical responsibilities.

His role (as far as his siblings are concerned) is to officiate at family activities, funerals, weddings, and special events. The ‘Ulumotu’a has the final say on these events when it comes to the family.

According to this custom, the Ulumotu’a in my husband’s family is his older brother, Sioeli. He helped to bring most of his siblings to the United States and has supported several of them while they made the transition. We appreciate all he has done for his brother while at school and for our family.

Robert James Kongaika was born October 2, 1974 in Tonga and he eventually became fluent in the Tongan language. When the family left Tonga to move to Hawaii in 1992, Robert stayed behind and lived with his grandmother, Lu’isa so he could graduate from Liahona High School.

Similar to John Groberg’s son in the movie, The Other Side of Heaven 2, Fire of Faith (2019), Robert nearly died at one point in Tonga. He had a very high fever and lost consciousness when he was less than a year old. We tried to wake him up, but nothing worked. We were frantic and the doctor (Salesi Havili) met us at the hospital. Baby Robert received a shot and he finally started crying. I was so relieved to hear his cry. Since then, he has been strong in body and strong in will.

Robert was named after his grandfather, Robert H. Anderson. My Dad taught him all about airplanes, having been a pilot in World War II. Robert soaked it all in and it stoked his desire to serve in the Air Force.

Robert met his eternal companion, Abi, at BYU-Hawaii. They had four children, Israel, Princess, James, and Robbie. They have all supported and followed him throughout his career in the military. We are all thankful for the time and effort he and the family have put into helping to keep America free and safe.

We are grateful Robert came to our family and appreciate his great example of service! We wish our family ‘Ulumotu’a a very Happy Birthday, !

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Cousins Being Bad!

Nothing makes me sadder than cousins being bad (mean) to each other! Some of my grandchildren have been staying with me this summer and once in a while they say or do something that puts down another child. Life is tough enough without the support of your cousins!

Cousins being kind!

When I notice something being said or done to another child because they think they could do better, it is very difficult for me to be quiet. Almost immediately, I mention how that may have hurt another child’s feelings. I suggest to the child that they apologize and always show love and support to their cousins. Instead, they should have their back!

No sibling rivalry here!

One thing I learned in Tonga is that cousins stick up for each other. They support one another and treat each other as brothers and sisters rather than just relatives. I love that part of the Tongan culture. Also, aunties and uncles are more like parents to their nieces and nephews. One big happy family!

No sibling rivalry here, either!

I remember as a child being compared to my cousins. Since I was always the shortest, and not quite as bright, this became a common topic amongst the adults. It didn’t really help me to grow taller or smarter! Just think if all of my aunts and uncles had supported me more in my efforts, who knows what I may have been able to achieve?

Siblings enjoying being together.

For the most part, I love seeing my grandchildren together. They play well together and help one another. But there are those times when a little more kindness could be shown. As their grandmother, I leave this admonition to my grandchildren: love each other and build each other up!

The same goes for siblings. I have watched older siblings picking on the younger ones and probably that is quite normal, but it really isn’t fair. Why not pick on someone your own size?

Three siblings getting along!

Well, I’ve shared my thoughts. Please take my advice. Think of those cousins you may have offended and make it right! Apologize and be better for it. You will not regret it when you are in need of help.

Happy Cousins!
Robbie (Robert Mateialona) being baptized at the Red Sea with his father Robert and Grandfather Robert.