Sunday, December 19, 2010

Love That Goes Down

The price that one paid for the good life is quietly seen in the homes. No time to talk, to play and enjoy each other's company. A columnist writing for the  Catholic Times refers to this condition by quoting from a poem written by a 2nd year grammar school child:"I have a mother who shows me love/A refrigerator that gives me food/ A dog I can play with/And a father--why he exists, I don't   know."

The columnist remarks on the humor of what the child wrote, but it also left him with a bitter taste, reading this sad portrait of a Korean father. Apparently getting up early in the morning, coming home late every day, and having to sleep during the weekend are not as important as the refrigerator in the kitchen. Another child wrote: "Dad is the one who loves Mom, puts food in the refrigerator, and feeds the dog."

A father himself,  the columnist reflects on his  life and his feelings of what a father should be: A father is like a pillar of the house that keeps the roof from coming down; a father is like a camel with a large pack on its back in the desert. He wonders how his children see him. The 2nd grade grammar school child was not describing the families of most Koreans, but there is a difference in the way the fathers of the past related with their family and the way modern fathers are forced to relate in the present.

What do children want from their fathers? He asks.  As parents we want to raise children well so they will become good human beings. However, in the future,  the child will not consider important that he was brought up in a well-furnished home and given the best things to eat. More importantly, they will remember that they were loved or not loved, that they enjoyed or did not enjoy the company of their father and mother in play and conversation.

When returning home from work, there are times, the columnist says, when irritation breaks out on both sides. Children are expecting to be greeted with warmth, and the parent is expecting not to be harassed. He believes that to understand the heart of a parent it is necessary to be a parent. He distinguishes the love of a parent for a child by describing it as a love that "goes down."

"Love that goes down is a  one way love but without sadness. Not expecting the object of my love to love me in the way I love them. Happy if the love just doesn't bounce off. No matter what the circumstances it is the love that I have been made to give. It is the love that I have received from above that I give to those below. But at times this love gives pain. It is not a choice but our calling."                         

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