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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It. Still. Hurts.
#TamirRice Incredible news: @onedayswages is projecting to have our most impactful year as we grant out $1.3 million dollars! Thank you so much for your prayers and support...please read on to learn how you can join in our work.

As you gather with family, friends, and loved ones for Thanksgiving and the holidays, I wanted to share an opportunity. Often times, when I speak to people about the privilege of generosity, I remind them, "You don't have to but you get to." It's so true.

My wife and I (and our three kids) started ODW in 2009. We felt the Holy Spirit convicting us to give up our year's salary. It wasn't an easy thing to say "Yes" or "Amen" to but we made the decision to obey. As a result, it took us about three years to save, simplify, and sell off things we didn't need.

It's been an incredible journey as we've learned so much about the heart of God and God's love for the hurting and vulnerable around the world - particularly those living in extreme poverty. ODW is a small, scrappy, grassroots organization (with just 3 full-time employees) but since our launch, we've raised nearly $6 million dollars to help those living in extreme poverty: clean water and sanitation, education, maternal health, human trafficking, refugee crisis, hunger, and the list goes on and on.

So, here's my humble ask: As we do this work, would you consider making a pledge to support our work...so that we can keep doing this work with integrity and excellence?
You can make a one time gift or make monthly pledge of just $25 (or more). Thanks so much for considering this: http://onedayswages.org/give (link in bio, too) Don't just count your blessings. Bless others with your blessings. Here, there, everywhere. Be a blessing for this blesses our Father in Heaven and builds the Kingdom of God.

#ReThinkRegugees #WeWelcomeRefugees
@onedayswages Grateful. Still reflecting on the letters that I've received from classmates and students that have come before me and after me. Never imagined all that God would have in store for me. Lots of humbling things but in the midst of them, there were literally thousands upon thousands of daily decisions and choices to be faithful. That's what matters. Seen or unseen. Noticed or unnoticed. You do your best and sometimes you stumble and fumble along but nevertheless, seeking to be faithful.

Also, you know you're getting old when your school honors you with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Lol. 47 is the new 27. Or something like that. Here's to the next 47. In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply.

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