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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"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.

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

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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. 
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