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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The secret to being grateful is no secret. You choose to be grateful. Then you do it again and again. Every day. If you forget, start again. Back to fishing...I mean, umm...back to writing a book. There's no such thing as a self-made person. Someone believed, encouraged, and invested in you. Be grateful and be that someone for others.

Taking a break from the sabbatical...to partner in ministry in Denver at Cherry Hills Church and at the CRU staff conference. It was such a gift to be able to encourage a handful of folks one-to-one, a small group of Asian-American leaders from EPIC, and the larger group of 5000 staff during one of the sessions.

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