I'm sure you already read about this, but wondered all your readers' thoughts on the course.
Well, there's the question. Here is a quick preview of the article:
The Korean Dads’ 12-Step Program [New York Times]
Like many of the men in the room, Rhim never wanted to come to Father School. (Seven dropped out after the first day.) “I’m not a bad father,” he told me a week earlier. But realizing how difficult it was for him to relate to his wife and two teenage kids — and realizing, finally, how empty that left him — he paid the $120 course fee and agreed to show up.
Father School has been helping Korean men like Rhim become more emotionally aware since 1995, when it started at the Duranno Bible College in Seoul. The mission, drawn up at the height of the Asian financial crisis, was to end what the Father School guidebook calls “the growing national epidemic of abusive, ineffective and absentee fathers.”
“Traditionally, in the Korean family, the father is very authoritarian,” Joon Cho, a program volunteer, told me a few weeks before this session of Father School began. “They’re not emotionally linked with their children or their wife. They’re either workaholics, or they’re busy enjoying their own hobbies or social activities. Family always comes last.”
In the midst of another participant’s group testimony, in which he talked about how he neglected his 16-year-old son when his son was battling drug and gambling addictions, he crumpled to the floor in tears. When he stepped down from the podium, a few members of the group gathered around him in a consolatory huddle while the rest applauded.
Readers, what are your thoughts?
After some reflection, here is the Korean's thought:
The Korean Father is probably a prime candidate for the Father School. In his life, he has never said "I love you" to his sons. He has never called the Korean unless there is an actual issue to discuss; the phone call is over after that issue is discussed. Hugs are awkward for him -- he puts his hand out, as if to fend off an attacker.
But the Korean has never wavered in his belief that his father loves him. TKFather already gave up his incredibly great career in Korea to bring his sons to America, for no other reason than giving them better education. The Korean knows, with absolute certainly, that his father will give his life for his son. So the Korean does not need his father to attend any Father School, because he does not need any communication to be assured that his father loves him. The actions by his father have been plenty of proof.
The fact that these fathers attend the Father School, to the Korean, indicates the supreme sacrifice that these men are willing to make to fulfill their fatherly duty -- their children want them to do it, so they put themselves through the humiliation. The Korean would have never, ever asked his father to do that.
Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at firstname.lastname@example.org.