Eugene Cho

well, this explains it

the academic pressure was pretty brutal in our cho household growing up.  sort of a common story especially amongst asian immigrants.  ask any asian-american and they’ll know exactly what i’m talking about.  immigration does some intense things to people.  i was six, mike was 9, and phillip was 12 when we moved to the states.  technically, i had the most time to acclimate and should have been the one to kick most ass but my brothers were pretty incredible – particularly my oldest brother who holds a ph.d [which really stands for Permanent Head Damage] in mechanical engineering with special focus on acoustic vibrations. 

because of my parents’ high expectations and their commitment to our education, we all did “well.”  i managed to graduate tops in middle school but it was pretty much down from there.   now, i still did well – but just not tops.  i was in the honor society in high school; graduated college in three years…but just not tops which translated to “not good enough.”  during my fourth grade summer vacation, my mother gave me “homework” which was the case for every summer.  that summer’s homework was the most memorable…i was assigned to copy the world book encyclopedia – by hand.  each and every volume although i think i only got through the “S” volume.  i ripped out pages when she wasn’t looking and pretty much hated life.  but, thanks to the brutality of my parents and their passion to get me educated and succeed, let me just tell you and the rest of the world right now, i know alot about AARDVARKS.

but it was tough not meeting their expectations and not getting my Ph.D like my oldest brother.  that guy is one smart dude.  and my middle brother is sharp as well.  i simply couldn’t keep up with them.  but when i ran across this story today in the new york times, it all made sense.  it’s not my fault!

The eldest children in families tend to develop slightly higher I.Q.s than their younger siblings, researchers are reporting, based on a large study that could effectively settle more than a half-century of scientific debate about the relationship between I.Q. and birth order.

The difference in I.Q. between siblings was a result of family dynamics, not biological factors like changes in gestation caused by repeated pregnancies, the study found.

Researchers have long had evidence that first-borns tend to be more dutiful and cautious than their siblings, early in life and later, but previous studies focusing on I.Q. differences were not conclusive. In particular, analyses that were large enough to detect small differences in scores could not control for the vast differences in the way that children in separate families were raised. [read full article]

my decision and conviction to enter seminary and go into ministry brought much pain and anxiety to my parents.  i was “ordained” to be a medical doctor.  those were some painful years.  but through it all and while not necessarily meeting my parents perfect expectations, it feels so good to know that my parents are now our biggest supporters and advocates.  while i ultimately seek to bring glory to my Heavenly Father, it feels good to bring joy and honor to my parents as well.

Filed under: asian-american, family

6 Responses

  1. katie says:

    well, you turned out ok and that’s all that matters. 🙂

  2. Joseon says:

    Ehh, don’t get too depressed. Have you ever read Born to Rebel? According to studies by the author, a researcher at MIT, older siblings are more likely to be conformists while younger siblings tend to be more creative and more likely to reject the status quo.

    http://www.amazon.com/Born-Rebel-Family-Dynamics-Creative/dp/product-description/0679758763

  3. chenster22 says:

    that sure as heck doesn’t apply to me. my sister gonna make way more dough than me. haha.

  4. Tracy says:

    I am trying not to sound like a overly spiritual person, but it was a reason why you didn’t get your MD, it was because you and your family were to bless many people. Man, I can’t think of my life without you and your wife committment to God and prayer!
    Okay okay ok back on the “popular” track: At least you tried. hehehe

  5. Jacob says:

    This is a fascinating post. I love the insight into the academic pressure placed on asian-american immigrants. Wow! the world book encyclopedia – I can’t even believe that. I wouldn’t have made it through the “A” section. Of course, I am the youngest of 3, so maybe it’s an IQ thing, or maybe it’s that I am not an immigrant, and my cornbread parents didn’t push me with their kick-ass work ethic!?

    The struggle you describe within your own family is pretty enlightening too. I guess the encouragement I would offer is that I think it’s pretty cool to have a smart guy like you on the ground, in the church, practicing, and thinking their way into God’s bright future – for the sake of others. peace.

  6. djchuang says:

    I have my own family experience with the World Book Encyclopedia, though it was not to copy it by hand, which I think woulda been easier and more mind-numbingly mechanical. I had to read entries from it and write up reports.

    And, even though I’m the oldest son of 3 boys in my family of origin, I don’t find myself having the drive and motivation to be so top-notch driven with accomplishments. The part I do recognize my birth order affecting me is tendency towards being dutiful and risk-aversive.

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One Day’s Wages

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Window seat. For the win. As leaders, we must not see ministry and family as competing commitments.  We must not sacrifice our marriage and kids for the sake of "ministry." How can we? Loving our families IS ministry & good leadership.

And on a side note, we took this goofy photo for Mother's Day last Sunday at @seattlequest. I was shocked! What in the world happened to our kids? Our 13 year old son blocked four of my shots on the basketball court yesterday. He's since been grounded... I fear that we ask God to move mountains, forgetting that God also wants to move us.

In fact, it's possible that we are that mountain. Time flies. The eldest is wrapping up her 1st year in college and the college tours have begun for the 2nd child. The youngest enters high school in the Fall. Can't say enough about how proud Minhee and I are of the kids - not just of their accomplishments but the people they are and are becoming.

But...man...we can't wait to party it up when we're emptynesters. Party at our house. It's going to be epic. Humbled. Grateful. Mindful of God's grace and faithfulness in my life. It's all grace... It's an unexpected honor to be invited back - even with some mini-drama - to @princetonseminary to receive the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award - exactly 25 years after starting my journey there as a student in 1992. Wow.

Princeton isn't necessarily for everyone. And to say that I loved everything about my experience would be misleading but it was very formative. Ir challenged me to examine why I believed in what I believed. It reminded me that God could handle my questions. It prepared me for a post-Christian context where I am not entitled to be heard but I had to earn the right to be heard, and of course, it taught me that all is good with a Philly cheese steak at Hoagie Haven.

No one is an island to themselves and I am certainly an example of that. Many people - women and men, young and old, and of many backgrounds - prayed, encouraged, mentored, and loved me along the way. Grateful for my professors at seminary, my many classmates, and the numerous fellow staff and co-laborers I've had the privilege of serving Christ with past and present. And of course, I'm forever inspired by my parents, my children, and my wife, Minhee. Thank you for your faith, hope, and love...and oh, for your patience. Only your family will know and see both the best and worst of you. They've seen my worst...and keep on believing in me.

Thank you again, PTS and President Barnes, for this honor. Then, today, and tomorrow...by God's grace, just striving to be faithful to my Lord and Savior...to preach and live out the convictions of the whole Gospel. Amen. So humbled and grateful to be with @catalystleader in Cincinnati to encourage leaders from all around the country about the invitation to Uncommon Fellowship.

Preached from John 4. We can talk, preach, sing, philsophize, liturgize, and spit rhymes about Samaria...but we still have to talk through Samaria.

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