Parents in Korea have often in the past given all of their possessions to the children before death. Buying a house for the son, when marrying, was frequent and helping a son to begin a new business venture was common. Parents in other societies would often do the same, but in Korean society parents often become penniless helping their children. This is changing and parents are not as quick to give all of their savings to the children before death.
Parents feel an
obligation to pay for their children's expenses long after their
off-spring have become adults. This results in parents needing to be
dependent on the children.Not uncommon is to see grandfathers and
grandmothers with little energy, and dreams, precisely because
they are dependent on the children.The following story in a diocesan
bulletin is helping to educate parents on what they need to do in their
retirement years. Stories of this type we see often, which is bringing
about a change in the way parents prepare for
A father had educated all his children and they all were married and had left the family home. The father was
diagnosed with a serious decease, and called all the children and their
mates to the house.
"I have raised you and sent you to
college and took care of the expenses for marriage and all that was
necessary. You know I am not in good health, and not able to work, and
I went into debt to educate the four of you. Here is a piece of paper
to write down what you can repay."
The children stared vacantly at each other. The second son who was
not in the best of circumstances wrote down 50 thousand dollars. The
other children were, as at an auction, deciding what to write. The
oldest son wrote down 20 thousand, the third son 15 thousand and the
daughter 10 thousand.
There were no visits to the sick
father or telephone calls. He called the children again to his bedside
and this time only the children came.
"I don't want any
fighting over the inheritance after my death, and bad feelings
among the four of you, so I have prepared everything with the help of a
lawyer. You will all get 5 times more than you wrote on the pieces of
paper. After this is deducted there will be about 3 million dollars left
which will be given to charity."
Hearing these word
they were all struck dumb, and their faces turned deathly pale.