Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Strength in the Family Comes from Love

"You only need one point higher than your partner."

A priest sociology professor writing in the Eyes of the Believer column of the Catholic Times uses these words to speak about competition in our society and its price. He had just returned from mountain climbing and was in a restaurant and overheard the above words where a mother was talking to her daughter. Confused, but they were an aspect of our life in the present-day society where we incite others to  unlimited competition.

Despite experiencing war, hunger, dictatorship, industrialization, IMF, polarization, not only in politics but also in schools and corporations we are living in an extreme culture of competition in which we have to do better than the other and win. In this sick society, he reflects on the path of family sanctification that will save the children and teach true love.

The family-based traditional Confucian culture is rapidly weakening in the wake of materialism, individualism, and consumerism. However, the Confucian 'ambition for success' that comes from the ancestors still dominates the spirit of Koreans. The collective obsession and anxiety of the ancient scholars in their efforts to achieve high office was clearly portrayed in the most popular cable TV drama in history: Sky Castle.

The drama deals with the lives of four housewives living the high life in the Sky Castle area of Seoul. They are all living well and want to live better and raise their children to enter the best schools in the Nation. SKY refers to the three schools: Seoul National, Korea, and Yonsei, the goal of students who desire the best.

One can live in a dangerous uncomfortable world provided they have received strength and understanding from family members. Desires, orientations, and attitudes of parents have a great influence on the character formation of children. If parents do not have 'inner peace' children have the danger of picking up a neurosis. It's a big price to pay for making the #1 spot when parents and children are yoked with personality dysfunctionality. When  children don't do well in their studies but get support of their parents they can grow up with great courage and joy overcoming all difficulties. Do not pray unconditionally for your child's success which may distant them from religion. Pray for their loving and peaceful life.

The home should be a place to nurture true human beings. We are on a lifelong pilgrimage, free to love. not tied to one's expectations, sharing one's weaknesses and accepting the weakness of others, and working together for a better world for all. This will be an essential value in the future when the fourth industrial revolution becomes more entrenched. In fact, even in today's job crisis, the final interview says that "sociability" is more important than "sexuality"or any other specification.

In her book, "Life Lessons," Kubler Ross mentions the "unconditional love" that a child receives from the parents. The baby unconsciously welcomes the existence of the parents, relies on them unconditionally, without knowing the parents' educational background, wealth and not judging their parents' appearance or personality. When a child grows up and has to fight in order to live up to the conditions and expectations of the parents, the opposition in 'attitudes' makes both the parents and child anxious and sick.

The basis of a Holy Family is love. God continues to look at each of us and our parents with mercy. As a partner with the parents, God has shared life with us in his creative work. We need to give thanks for the joy of existence before any achievement. "In our family life, we must develop the power of love. It allows us to confront all evils that threaten love" (Pope Francis).

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