One thing that annoyed me when we went to East Asia was when people talked condescendingly about the people there being brainwashed. They probably are, it’s just the condescension that bothered me. Please. We in the West are just as “brainwashed” by a different set of lies as they are. There’s might be be a little more systematic and explicit, but to pretend we’re not enslaved to cultural lies ourselves is both naive and arrogant.
Like, we’re all brainwashed into thinking that independence is a good thing. It’s OK, even good, to do your own thing, be your own person. I think Dave wrote about this before, but it’s evident in our TV shows. In a lot of them, like Friends, Seinfeld, Cheers, the families are nowhere to be seen, and where they are, they’re made fun of. As opposed to I think Asian shows where the family is always prominent. The implicit message is that family isn’t that important, independence is good. Lots of things in our culture brainwash us into believing independence is a good thing.
And that’s strictly anti-Biblical, I think. As our pastor has said, Scripture is all about willful interdependence, both with God and others. That last part is significant. Our spirituality is not just about how we’re doing with God; from the 10 Commandments to Jesus’ most important commandment to everywhere else, fully half of what Scripture talks about as spiritual involves our relationship with other people. Independence isn’t a value, it’s a lie.
Why am I thinking about this? Oh yeah. So a friend of ours in Korea just had a baby we got to see and you know, it’s hard raising a kid. I’ve been thinking about it, and I don’t think a woman raising kids on her own (or just with her husband) is the natural state of things, the way it’s supposed to be. I think it was meant to be a team effort, involving community, especially family. It’s just absurdly difficult for someone to do it on their own, I have nothing but respect for that, because it’s hard. And, I have no evidence to back this up, but my guess is for most of history, that’s how things worked, child-raising was a team effort. I remember one philosopher we read in college (Locke?) suggesting that child rearing should be *solely* communal. Meaning, parents don’t keep their own kids, all kids are raised by all the people, there’s no exclusivity at all. Radical, a bit ridiculous, but with a kernel of insight, I think, as to what it takes to raise children.
Anyway, I think about that a lot with me and Jieun and what we’ll do when we have kids. We have no immediate family around here, we’ll essentially be alone in raising little Stone, and that strikes me as being a very bad thing. But I don’t know what to do. I’ve actually looked a bit and there’s nothing I could do in Houston, little in SoCal, and even if we went there, her dad doesn’t live there and her mom is gone half the year. I personally would want Jieun’s mom to live with us for a year but she’s busy with her ministry so that’s not gonna happen. I think we’re just screwed.