Saturday, May 19, 2012
The desk columnist of the Catholic Times focuses on a troubling societal problem that has been much discussed but without finding a satisfactory solution. The large number of youthful suicides in Korea leads the developed world, and the number contemplating suicide is one out of ten. Obviously, a serious issue for Korea.
What do the adults see as the reason? he asks. Is it the 'body' getting larger and the spirit getting weaker? Are parents telling children we are doing everything for your future but endure present difficulties? In the past, the young only had to worry about the last years of high school to prepare for college, but now it begins in kindergarten, where the competition and specialization begin. Those who have the means can accept what comes but those who do not, blame their parents and envy the more fortunate, which tends to create many other problems.
Efficiency and ability are the measuring sticks used to judge the worth of our young. Violence and bullying in school are ignored, and students with the poor marks lose the sympathy of teachers and adults, and become the object of ridicule.
The children understand the thinking of the adults on this matter, the columnist explains. They know their parents want them to succeed, have a good job, meet a good mate and live a decent middle-class lifestyle. If it wasn't necessary to go to the best schools to achieve this ideal, their battle to succeed in a highly competitive society would not need to be waged.
These are the reasons parents put pressure on the children; those who can't take the pressure often end up as suicides. The parents realize the risk but think their child is different, and will not be affected. And when these incidents do happen to their child, the parents find it difficult to understand. Obviously, it is not only a problem of parents but of society as well. It is a chronic, silent malady within our society, and he wonders how long it will continue.
Although he sees no easy solution, he would be happy with a makeshift solution. Isn't there some way of discovering the children who are hurting and do something about it? he asks. He believes there must be ways of reading the mind and heart of these children before they end their lives. Isn't there, he pleads, at least one person out there, somewhere, who can read the silent screams of agony of these young people?