10 months since graduation?! Hopefully still learning.

I am so busy these days that it’s hard to really spend a lot of time blogging about things that I’ve been learning. I think I started this one like three weeks ago. I just have to let it go, can’t spend much more time on it. I really need more time to myself to reflect and take stock of everything that’s been happening. It is ridiculous how fast time is going. Every day there is just so much to do. And only when I force myself can I actually write in the blog. This could use more work, but whatever. I hope it’s an interesting read to some people.

A theme my brother and I have seen recently is just how messed up many PKs are. So many PKs have poor relationships with their parents. So many are up to no good, going nowhere, hanging out with losers, careless about life and their futures. Our personal experiences are with only a handful, but our dad tells us of many others. Through it all, we are amazed we turned out the way we did. It is only by God’s grace.

One thing we have noticed is that there is a common characteristic to many of the PKs that tended to cause problems or that we were exasperated with at church. The PKs with behavior problems at church, whether it’s attitude or ADD, tended to have passive parents who couldn’t control and discipline their children. At the dinner table, when our family talks about this, the frustration often spirals back toward the dads. What are such strong-voiced, sociable men–men who are leaders and pastors in the church–doing, just letting their kids do whatever they want at church, not scolding them for bringing video games to church and fooling around during service, and not being more active in teaching them about the Bible and the gospel and about living for God?

My parents say that a lot of the younger generation Korean immigrants to America are taking this passive approach in raising their kids. To an extent, the way parents raised my “generation” wasn’t much different. Parenting was heavy-handed with regard to proper behavior, especially social etiquette and academic rigor, but it was often a hands-off approach when it came to instilling a deep understanding of the underlying reasons for being good, for studying and working hard, for being respectful to elders. We were always told the good things to do but not why they were good. So a lot of us started to get really good at looking good on the outside, at whitewashing all the mess our lives had become. As the language gap grew, most parents kind of assumed that as long as they sent us to school, to church, to hakwon, we would turn out okay. I’m beginning to learn why that’s a really bad idea. Outsourcing parenthood never turns out good results.

So now we get people who are having quarter-life crises because their parents spent the past 10 years pushing them to go into a career they never really thought through. Now we have people who get into dating relationships with no thought at all about where these relationships are supposed to be leading to, and we end up with guys in their early 30s who have had girlfriends left and right but haven’t made the commitment to marry. The only thing their parents do is pressure them that they should get married, not advise them on how to prepare and plan for it. We have people who go on mission trips because everyone else is doing it but yet their hearts are unchanged and jaded.

The sad thing is that these problems in passive parenting will get passed down and repeat themselves in the next generation. A man whose father only yelled at him and never told him he loved him will do the same to his son. A man whose father worked really hard to put food on the table and provide materially for his children but was rarely emotionally involved in his life will lead his household in the same way. The Bible teaches that the men bear primary responsibility for the way that their children end up. One of the qualifications of an elder/overseer in 1 Timothy 3:4-5 is this: “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” We need to identify the areas of our culture that are unbiblical and break the cycle of complacency.

Realizing the problems makes me hope and pray that when I become a dad, I wouldn’t succumb to the same mistakes and the same bad habits of my parents’ generation. It must have been so hard for all of them; we owe so much to them for their sacrifice and hard work. But we can’t sugarcoat their imperfections. I know working 12-hour days to survive can make it so hard to be there for the children. Life is hard, being a parent is hard. But man, when I see just how much of an influence a mother and father (as well as the lack of a mother or father) have on their children, I really start praying that God would start the preparation now, way before I get married, way before I have kids–that every experience, every conflict, every responsibility and leadership role, every step out of my comfort zone, I would take seriously and would learn as much as I can from it. What can I work on improving as a follower of Christ? What am I neglecting–certain sins, certain relationships, certain disciplines? What lessons have I forgotten? What does the Bible say about being a good steward with time, with money, with friendships, with the doors that God has opened, and most importantly, with the amazing message of the gospel that God has so graciously entrusted to me?

Much to learn…

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One response to this post.

  1. Sam,
    Excellent post about PKs…i didn’t know you are a PK?! My brother Ben and I are PKs too…
    See you soon…

    Stephen

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