Blame the parents, in Korean

Everybody is traumatized by their parents in some form or other. At the “big” end, perhaps their divorce made it hard on you to commit. At the lesser end, perhaps their parsimony made you want to splurge as the prodigal child. Parents have a certain character and are faced with decisions they take as adults. Children witness their parents in the adult world and are impacted in a big or a small way as they themselves grow up. Even with the best intentions of the world, parents can not shelter their children from themselves. They will be traumatized by something. What has always toyed around in the back of my head, is what if we do it on purpose? What if we choose the trauma rather than letting fate decide what it is that will impact them.

Imagine if you put your kid on the Korean School in Paris. Just like that, from day one of the primary school onwards. You have nothing whatsoever to do with Korea, have never been, will never go and have never even met a single Korean in person. And then you put little Jacques on the Korean School. He will have friends with names like Dong-Sun, Mun-Hee and Kyung-Soon with ex-pat parents who work at the embassy, university, Samsung or LG. And Jacques. As he grows older, he will be more and more confused as to why on earth he is on a Korean school. Of course you will answer him, telling him it is a good school and all that. By the time he’s twelve, he will know that it a 200km drive from Seoul to Chanwon. He will have written essays on the collapse of the traditional Korean value system. He will know about the healing powers of Kimchi. And yet he has virtually nothing to do with Korea, because, you know, he’s French.

This is the trauma to kill all others. Jacques, of course, will be fine. He’ll think his parents are weird, but then which kid does not? And will no doubt put his own kids on a normal school someday, but then, most people do. But what he will not do, is complain about your early morning Elvis-fueled kitchen dancing. That is just too petty. The kid will be practically trauma-free.

Of course his sister will go to a normal school, you know, just to rub it in…


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