Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Filial Piety and Choices


Filial piety is still of significant importance in Asia but especially in Korea-at less I know. When I think of filial piety it's probobably no coincidence that my mind wonders to one of my older sisters', when my birthparents were busy with trying to provide for their groving family this sister took on the role of caring for the younger children. She would probably have taken care of me as well and helped to raise me-she seemed happy to look after them yet I think it had more to do with the fact that she had no choice. She was expected to that and as a filial daughter she agreed to it.


Not until 15 years later did she consider dating in the hopes of being someone's wife and future mother. The reason for that is that by now the youngest sibling had gone of to College. My sister eventually begun dating a fairly successful athlete-evidently he was promised a successful career in his chosen field but instead of going overseas he chose my sister and a future in Korea. Eventually birth father begun to contemplate that the end of his life was approching and he expressed that he wished my sister would give him a grandchild.

With my birth father's blessing my sister and the athlete eventually had an out of wedlock child but married before the child was born. They are still married to this day-but I personally don't think I would be willing to accept doing something out of filial piety because I was not raised in such a culture and those values are more or less foreign to me. Of course, that is a great sorrow for me that I know such cultural values speaks against everything I was raised to learn. It has to be considered an unfortunate consequence from my adoption. I was born into a high context culture where collectivism is more or less ingrained into the minds of people. While I ultimately was raised in a low context culture that focuses on individualism.

 Not that there wasn't a time where I tried to fulfill the same expections of filial piety that my birth parents evidently had for their remaining children. The children that they raised. I wish they could have expressed that same filial piety to me as well. It was a bit surprising - even shocking to learn that it seemed more important for my birth father to have a grandchild than for my sister to b married first and then consider children. I like to think of Abeoji as as quite a progressive and modern man becuause of that.

I think its quite remarkable that my Korean family doesn't seem to think that its shameful to have an out-of-wedlock child in their family tree. It makes me proud, especially when single mothers as well as out-of-wedlock children are people who chooses to place their children for adoption. Then again, maybe its not as foreign as for them as I would like to think. Maybe its logical for a family to consider such values irrelevant if they once lived though that themeselves. What really should matter is love and kindness to one another, and to protect and care for younger generations regardless of who their parents are.