Understanding your roots is important.
Ieremia Lincolnson Lafi knows this.
He is the father of young Samoan TV stars, Ieremia Michael and Teuila Lafi. His children star in the TV series drama Hawaii Five-0.
Thirteen years ago, Ieremia left his motherland, Samoa, in search of better opportunities in Hawaii.
He was at first unemployed in Hawaii but when he received his green card, he was able to fulfill his passion of being an actor. He starred in movies such as Godzilla, Hawaii Five-0 and the main character of the Meadow Gold Milk waterfall commercial.
The new environment was tough for his family, Ieremia said.
Despite being far away from home, he built his small family in a foreign land on the foundation of his culture and faith that he grew up in.
“That is why I wanted to bring the kids here to show them more about their background. Bottom line is you have to go back to your roots to find who you are.
“It is really hard to come back here. My kids are learning from my background and a little bit about my culture. They look at you and what is it that you have? America is really a big world of activity and we do not want to waste the opportunity, we do not want to just be sitting around.
“My people they taught me who I am today. I have taught my culture and the ways of life to my kids. We have a farm and my background is still there. No matter where you are going it is inside you.
“I think it is all about the culture that makes you who you are and where you grew up from. That makes them unique and we know God is always involved. So all we do is to bring that up to the kids.
“I love acting. I love doing that stuff, but all I want to teach my kids that you have to do something with your time. You don’t want to miss that opportunity.”
Living in Hawaii has made him realise that every Pacific Island is related.
“So one thing I learned over there is I do not know if you heard about that, they say that our people went over there and established Hawaii and that is flipping me out.
“Some of the Hawaiian guys they got up on the stage and told the story of how people from Tagaloalagi came to Hawaii.
“When he mentioned that it humbled me about our people and we are neighbours, the Pacific Islands. We are all related somehow.”
Ieremia grew up in Samoa and his message for each person is to never give up on your dreams, there are opportunities out there. He says you need to get it or else someone other than you will get it.
“When I was there I did not have a green card. I really wanted one because I had to provide for my family.
“Faith and praying to God allowed me to get my green card and go to work. Everyone has to start from small beginnings; you can’t just expect big things.
“You need to take care of the little things first in life. You have to go through the hard times; you can’t force the big things they will just happen.
“You go step by step to get to the opportunities. I do not see myself and my kids as stars it is hard work that is how we would get there. This is how you get to your destiny God is preparing you for that.”
He believes opportunities are a gift from God but everyone should meet him half way.
“But I am so happy to be here with my kids and to share this experience. We are blessed to be back. I love to be back in this country it is something special, it’s a beautiful nation.”