Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Family Culture

Writing in the Diocesan Bulletin, the director of the Family Cultural Center in the city of Incheon says that the name of the Center does not make clear what she is doing. Consequently she is always ready to answer the question, what do you do? by replying that family culture is a way of keeping some of the values of the extended family alive in the nuclear family.

Now that Korea has settled into a 5-day work week, the word 'leisure' has entered the daily vocabulary, and an attempt is being made to have harmonious relationships between work, leisure, and family.

She asks, what do families spend most of their  time doing? In one survey, watching TV was first, and for the last ten years nothing has changed.  When she asks for the reasons, she is told that it's because of work and fatigue, and because most families are not familiar with anything else. The dictionary meaning for 'family leisure' would be that the family as a unit uses leisure time to communicate with one another: father, mother and children reacting to the needs and wants of each other. Communicating with the TV would not be an acceptable option.

She gives the example of a family getting together on a spring day. They prepare together the rice balls for the picnic, bake the cake together, but just not any cake; it is a cake with the face of a bear, and all participate in trying to make it a masterpiece. Another good way of bringing families together: Camping together and volunteering as a family for some Church or community function.

The more we relate with one another, she says, the more opportunities we will have to bring about intimacy, communication and bonding at a different level. Parents are always trying to find something that will fit the level of where the children are, and this interrelating will help them to grow in virtue and emotional maturity, especially today when studies play too prominent a role in the lives of Korean children.

To strengthen family ties that are getting weaker, she recommends that families have a weekly family day in order to spend more time together. It could be anything; going to a movie or museum would be enough. We have children addicted to video games, staying by themselves as latchkey children, being bullied,  and many other ways that society is playing havoc on children's emotional maturity. She recommends that parents take a cue from the Christmas scene, and use a blanket to keep the family members warm, together.

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