Monday, June 17, 2013

Attitude and Ability

In Korea today, the children of the elite in society are making sure their children are getting the best possible education available. A very natural desire of all parents. But recently the mass media has revealed examples of the lack of fair play in securing entrance to the better schools. A priest-professor at Sogang University, in the View from the Ark, writes about this tendency in society, and cites one example of a family who took their child out of a famous middle school, after the press made much of the acceptance, sending the child to China for schooling.

Among the power elite are those that will send their  children to  study in the States, but presently consider it more important to send their children to China.  Study  of the Chinese language is becoming increasingly more popular around the world today. He mentions hearing that the royal family of Spain is teaching their children Chinese, and the elite of the United States are employing Chinese wet nurses for their children. Not only in Korea but in many parts of the world fluency in Chinese
is an investment in the new culture.

Parents, by taking these measures, believe they are helping their children to live more successfully in the future. They are aware that Mencius' mother moved three times to make sure her child would have the best education possible. Korean parents have this same concern: out-of-school studies and sending them to study overseas are only hampered by their financial condition.

The professor has one question concerning all of this: What do the parents hope to achieve by this zeal for education?  What  do they want their children to become?

For some years, he was a member of a non-governmental organization working in East Timor when it was under the trusteeship of the United Nations. He said that he learned a great deal about values and experience, and their importance in life. Persons not having experienced living in a colony, with poverty and tyranny being daily affairs, don't know, he says, how dangerous it is to control the workings of a small weak country. Korea has had the  experience and can contribute to building bridges of communication from the rich to the poor countries around the world.

To be players in the world of the future, he believes that knowing Chinese, English, and even Japanese will be important.  However, he stresses that even more important than the languages will be the mentality of the persons with these language skills, and it will be this attitude that will have influence in society, an influence, he says, that can be used to give life or to kill. Those who do not have empathy for the weak, the dignity of persons, and the common good are not the kind of people society needs; they can easily be  concerned only about  themselves.

The priest reminds us of the rich man and Lazarus, in Luke 16:19-31. The rich man never saw Lazarus. 
Often the weak are stepped on to benefit the strong. Consequently, the talents and capabilities that many  possess can be used  as weapons to harm  the weak.