Articles from the July 1997 Unification News

A Mother's Heart with Her Son in Korea

by Gertrud Yasutake

How much will we need to cry for our children? I am the parent of one who has already cost me some tearful prayers, but who is maturing in ways unimaginable to us, and in ways I could never provide as a parent. Our son goes to school in Korea. He has found his own world, a world full of academic challenge, friends from many countries, and an austerity that one can only achieve in dorm life in Korea. Has your child ever been so grateful for a glass of milk or a slice of cheese or the lasagna you cook for him? Well, dorm life and life in Korea gave such a sense of gratitude to our son.

We decided to home school our children when they reached school age. It was always assumed by us that our first son Chris was not "artistic material", so to send him to the Little Angel School was not a viable option. We felt his strength was in science, or any other field, just not art. But the possibility to send him to Korean opened up and made us change our mind. There were several reasons why we changed our minds: 1) his best friend had gone there and now our children were without this precious comrade, 2) Chris and his younger brother Tim did everything together, they were in fact viewing life through each other. This, we felt, was becoming to be an obstacle to their development, and a change was needed. 3) Though home schooled, he had experienced one year in public school and stood up well to the influences a group situation brings. 4) Chris had learned some Korean and most importantly, he himself wanted to go.

We sent him off with the feeling that this was a good step for his growth and getting-equipped-for-life. I was ready to create a scrap book about his experience there, planned to collect his letters, documenting his adventures there, with our correspondence, with photos, and memorabilia.

In the first letter that he wrote home, he said that he was fine, he only missed seeing the stars at night and the green grass of Hawaii. I was moved by this show of sentimentality. When in tearful prayer I randomly opened my DP book, it was the quote from the Bible in Genesis where God shows Abraham all the stars in the heavens. From then on I determined to give our son to God as Abraham was ready to give Isaac.

After that experience, hardly any letters came. He was fully immersed in his new life. We talked on the phone several times, and we noticed that his voice started to change. I still missed the close-up observation of his development into puberty, but it was also precious beyond words to see our son again after he developed. The strides our children can achieve are astonishing. When he returned for summer vacation I saw clearly that I had to discover him again. He was not the sum of my concepts of him anymore, he was a new person, a child of Heaven who had come into his own right, his own path, his own world.

In the dorm "family" he holds the position of a hyung, an elder brother. The social structure is very clearly set up according to the Korean tradition. The dorm parents' care, the different responsibilities within the group, and being responsible for his own studying, cleanliness, etc. have shaped our son into an attentive young man.

Our concerns about the art issue dissolved in a very clever way. After the 1 1/2 years of preparation time, Chris and one other student were the first to attend a regular Korean public school. It is only about a ten minute walk from the dorm in Kuri City. Again we took it as a sign that heaven wanted him there. And so it is. He has a home, a safe haven to grow and develop, and we could become wandering pioneers again to do the National Messiah mission in Bosnia & Hercegovina without distracting him from his chosen path.

I believe our children will live in a world culturally more intermixed than ours, pursuing jobs and missions unimagined by us today, bridging and criss-crossing the world. We need to give them a linguistic und cultural advantage. Our children are definitely not ours alone. As Khalil Gibran said, we are only the bows from which powerful arrows shall fly.

May our children's lives be rich and full of spiritual treasures. Then they will master the physical and emotional treasures as well.

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