Parental Love in Korea and in AmericaWhen you live in many countries, you learn how big the cultural gap is through various experiences. The love of parents for their children may be the same everywhere, but it shows significant dif ference in real life. It is interesting to see the difference in the respective traditions, cultures, and ways of living.
American parents, regardless of their level of wealth, make their children experience life in a capitalist society from an early age. When children are young, they earn their allowances by running a paper route or mowing the neighbors'' lawns. They are taught that money is not given automatically, only through labor, and that labor is valuable. When children grow older, they go to work at fast food restaurants such as McDonald''s. You often see high school students working at such places in the U.S. In high school, many students participate in projects where they establish a business plan and set up a company to produce and sell products.
Korean parents put all their love and efforts into their children''s education. Therefore, the most important thing for Korean children is to study. Most Korean parents save and sacrifice everything of their own to focus on their children''s education. Once there was a news story concerning a mother who went as far as to work at a bar at night to make money to pay for the private tutoring expenses for her children. Children focus only on grades, because grades are directly linked with entrance into a university.
In addition to their regular curriculum, the children need to have private tutoring so it is almost impossible for them to work. Good grades are the parents'' pride; the most common way in which parents express their love is to do their best to make an environment in which the children can study hard.
When their children go to university, American parents think that the children are on their own, as a great number of university students earn their own living expenses and pay for tuition with loans that they pay back when they get a job after graduation. Some students work in the fisheries in Alaska during the summer because with the high pay they can earn, they only have to work a few months to earn enough money to pay for the next year''s tuition. Ordinary American parents teach their children that they must become independent and responsible for their own livelihood.
Korean parents pay for their children''s university tuition and graduate school. When children get married, parents pay the wedding expenses and in the case of a son, even the cost of a house to live in. Korea is a country with expensive housing costs, but many parents, even in cases where the children are old enough and have the ability to become independent, think that it is the parent''s job to provide a house, all paid for or leased, for the children. Some parents even give monthly allowances to their married children as an expression of their love.
In the book "Rich Dad, Poor Dad," read by many Koreans, the author says that in order to become rich, one must donate money to charity. Many rich American parents choose to return their wealth to society rather than leaving it to their children. Americans, who have experienced capitalism longer than Koreans, have realized from experience that it is not always the best choice to leave money to their children.
Korean parents try to leave as much inheritance as possible to their children. They try to give as much money to them as possible by looking for legal ways to pay the least tax, so that children can live in wealth and comfort after the parents pass away.
These days, Koreans are witnessing what the early entrepreneurs who contributed to the development of the economy are leaving as inheritances, and they also see its side effects. Is this the best way to express their parental love?