Passing Down Korean Traditions to My Children
October 29, 2020
I left when I was 5 years old. I’m from South Korea. We have a lot of respect for older people, like our elders. Not only older people, our elders like parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts. And I try to teach my kids because they were born here and they’re so Americanized. But what I try to keep teaching them the tradition of my country. One of them that I really like is when we serve our food, like dinner, lunch, or whatever, we always serve our elders first. And we wait until they first start eating. We have to see them start eating. Then we can eat, too. Otherwise, we have to wait. If they start talking, and they’re not eating, we have to wait even though if the food is all served. So that’s one of the things I really like. And I try to teach my kids to respect their elders and everything. Not only that but that’s one of the things I really like.
And another thing is if we drink alcohol in front of our elders we have to do a 45 degree … we cannot drink, like, face to face. We have to turn around and drink like this. So those are the little traditions that I’d like to teach my kids. Even though they don’t like it … they always say, “Yeah, but we’re Americans. I was born here. So whatever.” Blah, blah, blah. But I say, “No, no, no, no, no.” I mean, if it’s something else. But respect, I think, is very good to teach them. So I try to teach them whatever is related to respect.
My parents passed away already. So between my siblings and myself, we try to teach them whatever we remember. I would like them to talk…speak Korean, too. But I guess they’re a little more comfortable … like myself. I mean, I left Korea when I was 5 years old. And we went to South America. So, I’m fluent in Spanish too. I mean, not that I was forced to speak my language. But my parents didn’t speak any other language. So I didn’t have no choice. But my kids, they have the opportunity that I speak English and Spanish when they’re doing Spanish homework and stuff. So they’re not forced to. But they feel more comfortable. They do understand, but they answer me in English. They understand English, Spanish, and Korean … but they all answer in English.