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Humans of Harker: Michael Kwan embodies caring role among friends and family

%E2%80%9CMy+relationship+with+my+siblings+is+really+not+different+from+others+%E2%80%94+I+don%27t+know%2C+it%27s+just+that+some+people+think+of+taking+care+of+their+siblings+as+an+onus%2C+a+chore+for+them+to+do%2C+but+I+think+of+it+as+something+happy%2C%E2%80%9D+Michael+Kwan+%2812%29+said.+%E2%80%9CLike+when+the+mom+has+the+baby+it%E2%80%99s+like+a+blessing%2C+right%3F+I+think+of+taking+care+of+them+as+a+blessing+as+well.+And+with+friends+it%27s+the+same+thing+%E2%80%94+having+friends+is+the+blessing%2C+it%27s+not+like+some+sort+of+chore+where+you+have+to+drive+them+around+and+everything%2C+just+spending+time+with+them+is+okay+and+should+not+be+taken+for+granted.%E2%80%9D
“My relationship with my siblings is really not different from others — I don't know, it's just that some people think of taking care of their siblings as an onus, a chore for them to do, but I think of it as something happy,” Michael Kwan (12) said. “Like when the mom has the baby it’s like a blessing, right? I think of taking care of them as a blessing as well. And with friends it's the same thing — having friends is the blessing, it's not like some sort of chore where you have to drive them around and everything, just spending time with them is okay and should not be taken for granted.”

“My relationship with my siblings is really not different from others — I don't know, it's just that some people think of taking care of their siblings as an onus, a chore for them to do, but I think of it as something happy,” Michael Kwan (12) said. “Like when the mom has the baby it’s like a blessing, right? I think of taking care of them as a blessing as well. And with friends it's the same thing — having friends is the blessing, it's not like some sort of chore where you have to drive them around and everything, just spending time with them is okay and should not be taken for granted.”

Eleanor Xiao

Eleanor Xiao

“My relationship with my siblings is really not different from others — I don't know, it's just that some people think of taking care of their siblings as an onus, a chore for them to do, but I think of it as something happy,” Michael Kwan (12) said. “Like when the mom has the baby it’s like a blessing, right? I think of taking care of them as a blessing as well. And with friends it's the same thing — having friends is the blessing, it's not like some sort of chore where you have to drive them around and everything, just spending time with them is okay and should not be taken for granted.”

by Eleanor Xiao, TALON Editor-in-Chief

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Michael Kwan (12) rolls up in his black Mercedes 7-seater, sunglasses on, driver’s window rolled down, ready for wherever the day takes him. Impromptu afternoon ice cream run with friends? They can ride together in his car. Sister Michelle Kwan (10) wants to be dropped off at the mall? Just let him know when the pick-up is. The family dog needs to be let out? He can rush back home in an instant. A devoted friend, brother, son and everything in between, Michael is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to taking care of those around him.

“Being the oldest sibling, I guess you have some of those innate leadership qualities and if you’re not taking care of the younger sibling, I don’t think you are doing your job,” Michael said. “It’s like your role, it’s like being a mom, you have the unspoken role of trying to be a carer, and I think as an older sibling they have that same role.”

At school, Michael can be found dishing out sarcastic comments and witty jokes in a classic teenage boy fashion. Yet at home, when tasked with the role of older brother, Michael molds into a paternal figure, embracing the challenge with pride.

“When my parents aren’t around and they have stuff to do, it’s been up to me to take care of the kids,” Michael said. “One of the defining challenging moments was when they first did that when I was 10 or 11, they were like, ‘Michael, you take care of the other two,’ and then I’m like, ‘okay.’ I made sure that they’re watching the correct TV shows, they had enough snacks, they went to the bathroom every once in a while like the dog, and when my parents came back I’m like, ‘I’m done,’ and they were like, ‘Wow, great job Michael!’”

With one sister in 10th grade and one in 6th, Michael can be found as free tutor, personal chauffeur and protective brother all in one.

“I remember I had a TSA conference one weekend and really needed to buy some last minute supplies for my competitive event, and he drove me to all the nearby Targets and Office Depots to find the specific items I needed,” his sister Michelle said. “Also, when our parents are out, he always brings me and Emma some takeout from our favorite places.”

Jerry Chen (12) called him the “responsible one” of their friends.

“He’s very dependable,” Jerry said. “He always knows what we’re doing. He’s the one we always put in charge of knowing what to do and knowing where to go and scheduling things, because he knows all this random stuff.”

Through all the errand-running and care-taking, in the end, Michael never views the favors he does for family and friends as a burden, and embraces and cherishes the time he can spend making the lives of others around him easier.

“My relationship with my siblings is really not different from others — I don’t know, it’s just that some people think of taking care of their siblings as an onus, a chore for them to do, but I think of it as something happy,” Michael said. “Like when the mom has the baby it’s like a blessing, right? I think of taking care of them as a blessing as well. And with friends it’s the same thing — having friends is the blessing, it’s not like some sort of chore where you have to drive them around and everything, just spending time with them is okay and should not be taken for granted.”

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Humans of Harker: Michael Kwan embodies caring role among friends and family