Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Need for Wise 'Housekeepers'

Yesterday was Chuseok  Holiday, writing in the Catholic Times, a university professor remembers his deceased mother who would spend  time preparing the meals for the family and guests with great joy on Chuseok and similar holidays. She was a hidden saint sharing willingly God's love, mercy and life with others.

In modern society, where industrialization and urbanization are firmly in place, the only way to succeed and develop is to make a lot of money and consequently housekeeping is not looked upon with favor. In a Confucian society the husbands were the money makers and the housewives naturally would cook, wash, clean and care for the children. Since work in the home did not bring in money it was not considered important or respected.

But today, the world is changing. With the abolition of the the Hoju (family register) system in Korea in 2007 which was consdered a violation of the right to gender equaility we have the domestic work of women recognized. With the large number of women entering the work force men are more actively involved in child care. It is easy to imagine the problems a family has without concern for the household tasks.

As a sociologist the writer learned a little about life and living when he was in charged of a study hall. It was not difficult raising money and management but it was never easy to prepare three meals a day and to care for each child and try to to energize the children. He was grateful to learn a little more about "real life", more important than "money and management" thanks to the lay teachers who shared God's love while playing with children and those who didn't want to study.  

In Korean the word for housekeeping (living),  does not orginate from the intransitive word 'living' but from the transitive verb to give life. In today's individualistic society where  concern with oneself alone is prominent, serving others does not come quickly to mind.

Therefore, the spirit  behind housekeeping is in touch with  God's creation of the world and seeing that all was good. Beyond the narrow thinking only of oneself, all the family members are at the heart of 'houseliving', serving family, the neighbors and giving life to the community of all, not 'ownership and competition' but mercy and the marvelous abundance of God. 

When parents invest huge amounts of money in their child's education, and forget the child's expectations  this is not good 'housekeeping'.  Because of the economy when employers refuse to give a minimum wage to the poor part-time students this is just anxiety, and not good 'housekeeping'. When a pastor without  concern for the feelings of the parishioners asks unreasonably for funds for the church the pastor is not 'housekeeping' correctly. If you are looking for high profits with real estate and unreasonably ask for an increase in rent, this is not good 'housekeeping'.  If we fall into the ideology that encourages division and disconnection and refuse the way of reconciliation of the North and the South to advance towards world peace, this is not good 'housekeeping'. 

In order for us to live a real life, we need to have the courage to go beyond the standards of the world and begin to take examples from God's mercy and grace to humankind.