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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"He must become greater; I must become less." - John 3:30 We have to remind ourselves of this truth every day lest we forget:

Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant.

Be faithful.

PS: Also, it helps to get some Vitamin D especially if you live in the rainy Northwest Thank you, Brooklyn, for the reminder. Umm, @jlin7 is a Christian but he wasn't very Christlike with me on the basketball court. He muscled me into the paint, dunked on me, mentioned my momma, and then said, "Stick with preaching." Just kidding. Kind of.

If you haven't heard, Jeremy Lin is donating his one games wages (approximately $140,000) and an additional $100 for every 3 pointer made to support Girls' Empowerment and Education through @onedayswages. That game is this Friday vs the Boston Celtics!

Join his campaign as he's inviting his fans to donate just $7. - http://onedayswages.org/jlin

Did you know that 32 million girls of lower secondary school age are not enrolled in school.

Did you know that every year of secondary school increases a girl’s future earning power by 20 percent.

Did you know that if all girls in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and West Asia had a secondary education, child marriage would fall by 64 percent.

We can't change the entire world but we can impact the lives of one, few, and in some cases...many.

#jeremylin #jlin #linsanity #onedayswages Don't be held captive to either praise or criticism.

Know who you are.
Know what you're about.
Know WHO you serve.

The answer to who you serve makes all the difference... It's the day after International Women's Day - and it's still important to celebrate the contribution of women in our lives, society, and world. As we honor women all around the world, I'm also reminded of how women and children are those who are most deeply impacted by injustice - especially poverty.

Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

This is not a misprint.
200.

She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
Sahara and her children all survived this journey. They survived because she persisted. 
In honor of Sahara...and so many other women who keep...keeping on.

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