Eugene Cho

broadening worldview

Two of our children are now in the public school system in Seattle and our third will be on his way in 1.5 years.  I’ve always been a fan of the public school system mainly because it’s all I know.  I entered Sherman Elementary School immediately after my family and I immigrated to San Francisco in 1977.  Philosophically, it makes sense to invest heavily into the public school system in order for ALL children in ALL neighborhoods to benefit.  On paper, it’s supposed to work but sadly, easier said than done.  The Seattle Public School system has been in much disarray and the school that my kids attend, Whittier Elementary, have been in more disarray with the removal of the principal for disciplinary reasons – a difficult and painful story I’ll probably write about at a later time.

Anyways, Whittier is an excellent school.  The teachers are caring; the parents are very invested; and resources – like technology and a great library – are available.  We’re also only five minutes away from the school.  We should be loving it but every single week when I drop off my kids at school, I can’t help look around and notice the lack of diversity.  It’s no fault of the school – it just reflects the neighborhood.  So, we’ve considered moving – except we want to live in the neighborhood our church is located; so, we’re considering the possibility of transferring our students to a school called Sanford International School – if we can get in. Whittier is about 85% Anglo and there’s only couple ethnic teachers – two of whom we’ve enjoyed through our children.

While we want the best for our children like any other parent, there’s not a week that goes by when I don’t think about my immigrant and minority experience – and how this impacts my children.  For Minhee, it’s a very fresh experience since she only immigrated ten years ago.  I still remember a dinner conversation couple years ago when our oldest daughter J shared how kids were laughing at her ‘Chinese eyes.’  Minhee and I tried not to weep visibly but it was painful – not only because others were making fun of her but because she didn’t know that they were making fun of her…

How do we help our children to fully embrace who they are – as Koreans, as Asians, as Korean-American, as US citizens, as children of God, and as followers of Jesus Christ – in a larger culture that is dominated by the White Worldview?  How do we shape and nurture them to accept, care, and embrace others – that don’t look or think like them?

It’s for this reason that we attempt to share our ethnic identities with our church, our neighborhood, and our other communities.  I was unable to go but Minhee joined our oldest daughter’s third grade class last week to help educate them about Lunar New Year and Korean New Year.   I appreciate Minhee so much – not only because of her sincere faith and trust in Jesus but the manner in which she lives out her faith.

Long post simplified in one line:  We all owe it to our children (and to ourselves) to broaden their worldview…

Filed under: asian-american, justice, seattle

3 Responses

  1. anonymous says:

    thanks for sharing this eugene. i wholeheartedly agree.

  2. Tracy (Noah and Ari's mom) says:

    What a blessing to read this…keep on keepin on!

  3. james says:

    e: you are blessed! minhee is wonderful.

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One Day’s Wages

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. 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.

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