Thursday, May 15, 2008

Midweek article

MIDWEEK > Newsmaker
Hawaii’s Mothers Of The Year
Wednesday - May 07, 2008 By Alana Folen

click on this link for the actual article:

The Ho family (from left) Ryan Ikaika, Margaret, Winston, Jessica Malia and Jacqueline Kukaealani
Born and raised seemingly two worlds apart, Jeanine Wong and Margaret Ho have at least one thing in common - both are mothers at the top of their game who take their role as a mother seriously. And with Mother’s Day just around the corner, it’s quite fitting to honor these women for their achievements and accomplishments as moms - perhaps one of the toughest jobs ever.
“In order for me to raise the best possible children that I can, I must try to be the best possible person that I can be,” says 46-year-old Ho, who was recently named 2008 Hawaii Mother of the Year by American Mothers Inc. (AMI) Hawaii Association.
And at 33, Wong has been honored as 2008 Hawaii Young Mother of the Year. Deeply rooted in her faith, she lives by words from the Bible.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should not look only to your own interest, but also to the interests of others” Philippians 2:2-4 NIV.
AMI is an interfaith, non-profit, non-political organization whose mission is to strengthen the moral and spiritual foundations of the family and the home. AMI is the official sponsor of Mother of the Year.
Mervlyn Kitashima, president of AMI Hawaii Association, was the 2003 State Mother of the Year and National Mother of the Year. Kitashima says that while very different from one another, both women are very deserving of this prestigious honor.

“Both Margaret and Jeanine deserve this honor because of their commitment to their families, their communities and their churches,” she explains. “Their lives are focused around being a wife and mother first while still contributing to the community by serving others. They spend quality time with their children and families and still manage their homes, their careers and their service.”
Wong was born in American Samoa and came to Hawaii as an infant. She is now married to her husband Michael, and together they have three children: Micah (10), Malia (8) and Aidan (7). Residing in Kapolei, Wong is primarily a stay-at-home mom, but is very active in her community. She does volunteer work for Hawaii Meals on Wheels, and at Moanalua Elementary School, where her children are students. She also serves as leader of the Awana Youth Program at Makakilo Baptist Church and leader of Junior Girl Scout Troop 1082 in Kapolei.
Originally from Iowa, Ho came to Hawaii in 1996 with her husband Winston and their three children Jessica (19), Jacqueline (17) and Ryan (16). Ho has always lived her life helping those in need, and has extensive experience working in special education. Ho calls Pearl City home and works for Special Olympics Hawaii, where she currently serves as vice president of area services.
Wong and Ho accepted their awards at the annual Mother of the Year Awards banquet at the Hale Koa Hotel.

The Wong family (front, from left) Micah, Malia, Aiden (back) Michael and Jeanine
“As a mother, this is the greatest honor in the world,” Ho says gratefully. “Of all the awards that a woman can achieve, there is nothing better than this one.”
Says Wong, “Receiving this award was the grace of God. While I am overjoyed to have been chosen, I am most excited about the experiences and lessons that will continue to shape me to become a better mom and woman.”
“Motherhood is not an easy job,” Kitashima says. “Yet these women have set an example of perseverance, faith and service to others. What they expect of their families - they model every day.”
Teaching by example - this is what mothers do.
“I believe that it is important for my husband and I to be in agreement with how we parent,” Wong says. “As our children’s first impressions, we set the examples and we need to be accountable that our words match our actions.”
In that respect, Wong adds it is equally important that her children be responsible for their own actions as well.
“Our children are expected to be respectful to themselves and others and make positive choices. When our children make mistakes, they understand that they will have consequences, but they will be forgiven. I had to learn to parent not in anger, but in love and grace and to have a sense of humor!”
For Ho, she and her husband are firm believers that a child must be raised in the same manner that you wish to see in them as adults.
“Truly, our role as a parent has to be in raising our children to be good adults,” Ho states. “I believe the values you live every day with your family will be the values they will live and pass on to their children. As a family, you must have good communication, set rules, set consequences and follow through with them, and show a ton of love,” Ho advises.
Ho and Wong both agree that children must know they are loved and supported in everything they do.
Ho says a child should never go to bed wondering where they belong in life, questioning if they are loved and where they fit in. “They should always know your family is all of that,” she exclaims.
A family should serve as an unconditional support system, and for Wong the desire for her children to grow up happy and loved is something she truly takes to heart. As a child and throughout some of her adulthood, Wong battled with depression.
“It affected my family early in my marriage,” Wong recalls. “But now with the support of my loving family, patient husband and the strength of God, I have peace within me that I’ve never experienced before.”
One thing is clear: Both women exude a magnitude of humility and grace. As a mother, it’s not about themselves first and foremost, or an award; rather, it’s about serving others and doing their part to build a bright future for generations to come.
“Every mother and father are role models,” Wong says. “It doesn’t take an honor like this to make us one. We are our children’s first role models and, as adults, we need to be role models in all aspects of life!”