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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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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