Father School

Thanks to Hau, for posting this article: the Korean Dads’ 12-Step Program.  Thanks to Linda and King for commenting on it.  Thanks to KM for an article by Koream on the same topic a couple years back: Schooling Fathers.  Both articles discuss Father School, a cultural import from South Korea that teaches Korean men to be better fathers.  Based on Biblical evangelism and self-help principles, Father School has been exploding in recent years, as more Korean men are trying to learn to become better fathers who are more emotionally connected to their wives and children.

I don’t know much about the program itself other than what was written in the articles, but my first impression is that this could be a great program.  Korean fathers–and probably Asian fathers–may have some issues with parenting, and this program could build both knowledge and community. The articles probably perpetuate stereotypes of Asian fathers, but these stereotypes may be true in many cases.  And if the stereotypes are true, we should be working to fix the culture so that they’re no longer true.  Outside of churches, Asian America doesn’t have many institutions that focus on building a strong culture, and this Father School could be a step in the right direction.

5 thoughts on “Father School

  1. In the old order of the world, I think that we often looked at culture as a competition. Every culture considered itself to be the best and the idea that another culture might hold superior ideas or customs, on any level was anathema. However, in this new order of world, where customs and cultures are colliding all of the time, we begin to see the collective of world cultures as a menu from which each of us can choose to assimilate.

    There are many cultures who look to Asian cultures for their work ethic, their discipline, and order. They hope to become more like Asian cultures, in some respects, and see value in the principles adopted there. And likewise, there are principles of Western culture that Asians are now looking to adopt. The benefit of access to worldwide cultures is that this becomes more possible in this age of technology, economics, and travel.

    If Asian family structures can benefit by adopting some aspects of Western ideals, then that is a good thing, just as some Western families may well benefit from some Asian cultural ideals. Korean dads probably can stand to be a little more emotionally opened, just as American dads had to do a few generations ago. We can all learn from each other without abandoning who we are as distinct cultures. It’s OK to say, “Hey, these guys are onto something!” All cultures excel in different respects, and struggle in others.

  2. King,

    I totally agree.

    It’s kind of like what has happened to martial arts. In the old days, people defined themselves by what style of fighting they studied. Some people were karate men, some were boxers, others were jujitsu fights, others were kickboxers. These days, if you want to master martial arts, you study them ALL. Ideally you aim to become effective, and if another art has better practices in certain areas, you’d best be learning from it.

    I think it’s probably harder for us to study other cultures since culture is such a big part of our identities, but crossing cultures is the most logical step for those who want to improve without reinventing the wheel.

  3. Martial arts: Good example! Wasn’t Bruce Lee one of the first to begin adapting a “mixed” technique? But yes, why not take the best techniques from wherever you can find them?

  4. Yes, Bruce Lee was the first “mixed” martial artist!

    Actually, he was the first to formally mix his martial arts. Before that, people still borrowed when they had a problem that they couldn’t fix. The technique of kata guruma (shoulder wheel) in judo is the “fireman’s carry” from Western wrestling, which Kano found in a book when he was frustrated over not being able to beat Fukushima:


  5. Yes, Bruce was a real MMA pioneer. His match with Samo Hung in “Enter the Dragon” was the first time I remember seeing MMA style gloves. Samo Hung loses and ends up tapping out because of an arm bar. Years and years ahead of his time!

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