Eugene Cho

like father, like son

my parents immigrated to the US in 1977.  i was six.  my father joined the US army while in korea to learn english; he was unable to attend college in korea because of poverty.  as fresh immigrants, we struggled mightily in many ways but my parents were a symbol of great fortitude and perseverence.  while i was embarrassed of them during my teens, they have become my greatest mentors in life; they are not perfect but that’s exactly the kind of mentors i (we) need. 

but there are couple aspects about my parents and particularly my father i wish i could just let go of in my life.  one of those things is his inability to spend money and enjoy things.  it’s common amongst many immigrants and particularly the first generation.  they know hard work and sacrifice.  but they do not know how to rest and enjoy.

i know.  i know.  from a christian perspective, this is a virtue in the quest for simplicity and downward mobility.  but without going into too much detail, it has become sort of a quasi-disease in my life.   i’ve always adhered to the goal of saving as much as i can for ‘the big stuff’ like providing a home and a safe car for the family and giving to the causes of conviction.  i don’t have problems and issues with saving and investing for such matters as attested by the incredible home we currently reside in at ballard.  but, as much as i’ve tried, i’ve realized i just can’t spend for myself.  yes, there are areas of weaknesses such as the new used laptop i just purchased four weeks ago.  but tonight, my wife and i went to macy’s to redeem a certificate someone gave me for xmas.  i paced around the men’s section for about an hour wrestling with purchasing a ben sherman shirt for $30.  it was reduced by 75% and i still couldn’t pull the trigger!  my wife was so frustrated with me.  the only way i get new clothes is if she purchases them for me and when she does, we fight because i ask her to return them.

so after the hour of pacing, we did what we both enjoy doing.  we went to the local goodwill store.  i purchased a great jacket, one sharp shirt, another casual shirt, and a pair of pants for $14.99.  i love goodwill.

my advice to folks:  earn as much as you can within your boundaries, save as much as you can especially for ‘the big picture stuff,’ and give away as much as you can.  and for the small stuff, enjoy but enjoy it at goodwill. 🙂

Filed under: family, seattle

5 Responses

  1. take it from someone living with the opposite “affliction” you are in a much better place… i am a trigger happy spender and long to be a saver…

    now that you know that this comment won’t surprise you… ben sherman stuff rocks….

    but, i also enjoy the goodwill…

    sj

  2. Teresa says:

    I’m with you 100%!

  3. Blake says:

    Good for you P.E. I wish I could be a saver; I pretty much stink at it. When I see something I want for myself I have a really hard time not impulsively buying it.

    I can empathize with you on the Dad part because my own Dad never really wants anything for himself; at least he’ll never admit it. This makes holiday gift buying a real chore because he just doesn’t think about himself much. He’s is the most amazing giver I’ve ever known, but just doesn’t do much for himself. I admire that about him, but it is still a challenge at times.

  4. g. says:

    feel free to buy things for me then, PE. 🙂

  5. e cho says:

    had never heard of ben sherman until one of our church folks gave me his shirt that he outgrew. it’s become my favorite shirt.

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One Day’s Wages

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Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer. Seattle. 7:00pm. Desperately holding on to summer. #goldengardenpark #nofilter Happy Birthday, Minhee! I'm so grateful for you. You radiate faith, hope, and love.  No...you don't complete me. That would be silly and simply humanly impossible but you keep pointing me and our family to Christ who informs and transforms our lives, marriage, family, and ministry. Thanks for being so faithful. I love you so much. (* And what a gift to be in Korea together.)

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