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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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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