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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, June 6, 2010

This column may be over, but the lifelong job that inspired it goes on

By Monica Quock Chan

I like that "aloha" means both hello and good-bye.

Therefore, in writing this final Advertiser column, I wish you "aloha," for this is both an end and a beginning.

I still remember when I happened upon this columnist position. As a new mom with a 6-month-old baby, I hesitated to apply, but thankfully God nudged me in the right direction.

Seventy-five columns and another child later, this Sunday space has become integral to my parenting experience. Not only has it led me to reflect on my growing 'ohana, it has also been cathartic (e.g., soothing myself during parenting crises with, "At least I can write about this in my column!"). Hire me again when my children are teenagers.

This finale is harder to compose than it was to once craft my valedictorian speech. Graduation is filled with soaring dreams. Career paths can be more nebulous. But wherever you find me in the future (and with a maiden name like Quock, I'm sure you'll find me), I'll certainly be writing. Maybe even for the new Star-Advertiser. My kids are only 2 and 4 years old; there's a lot left to record.

Still, as my keiki snuggle close, I know what my true lifelong job is. As a mother, it has been my privilege to write about parenting for "Family Matters."

Thank you, readers. From the lady who quoted me at her relatives' annual gathering; to the CEO who debated with me because he cared; to those who laughed, cried and related to my stories: you kept me aspiring to do my best.

A big mahalo to the newspaper staff, to those behind the scenes, as well as the veteran journalists from whom I learned reams. It's been an honor to work with you.

Much appreciation goes to my own 'ohana, especially my husband, for his faithful love and support, and our beloved kids, for providing the never-ending inspiration for this column. I am also grateful to my own parents, who made er, encouraged me to pen my first newspaper contribution at age 6. Finally, I owe everything to God.

Shortly after I discovered that the Advertiser would be merged, my aunt passed away. She was well-off and educated, but her last conversation with me revealed what had truly meant the most to her in life: her family, especially her husband of 55 years.

A few days before her passing, her son-in-law had queried, "How can I make life meaningful?"

Love. Believe. Build character. Sacrifice. Be good. Act honorably. Have self-control. Forgive. Realize the big picture. Grow. Show gratitude. Protect. Create peace. Respect. Take responsibility. Share. Have courage. Purpose. Serve humbly. Give. Have faith. Persevere. Be rather than do. Learn. Have patience. Apologize. Care. Tell the truth. Hope. Act kindly. Imagine. Be joyful. And continue to love.

This has been the same through the ages, though it is often hardest to apply to our own 'ohana. Still, it is worth trying, for as this column is called, "Family Matters."

Aloha, all.