Friday, November 23, 2007

The Official Guide to Korean Parenthood

I was asked to speak to you, the Korean parents of the students of Fremd High School, so that I may congratulate you for providing your children with an enjoyable childhood. Let me start off by stating Confucius; “Have no friends not equal to yourself.” This quote is so intuitive that it may take you an hour to fully understand the true meaning of it; you might even be reading this sentence an hour after you started due to the lack of knowledge of the American vocabulary. Although you have been in America for 15 years now, I understand that learning another language at the age of 30 is a very difficult task. By reading the school letters your student brings home, though, you have scrounged up enough words to call your child’s English teacher and complain about a mistake in the online grading system regarding your child’s latest test score, and I am proud of you for this accomplishment. Your child must be happy.
Korean children are so lucky to have parents like you all, parents who are so dedicated to organizing a jam-packed schedule to your child’s everyday life. The only way for your child to have a successful life is to study 24/7, excel in all his academic class, and play as many instruments as he can; in order to make this happen, force your child to start his homework right after school. Make sure you give him ample room on his desk for all eight of his 7-pound AP textbooks as well, and don’t let him out of his room unless he has written down two notebooks worth of notes. It doesn’t matter if your child has copied down the textbook verbatim because you won’t know what it’s saying anyway, and you also believe that long notes are good notes. If your child is receiving an A-, panic. You are doing something totally wrong and must find a private tutor for him immediately. I would suggest a place such as Sabio Academy, an extracurricular academy filled with other Korean students that qualifies to guarantee quick improvements in your child’s grades. By the end of the quarter, the A- will magically appear to its normal status of an A+. When your child comes up to you saying that he got the highest semester grade in the class, do not praise him. He will assume you are okay with an A, a clear suicide attempt. Instead, say, “You suppose to get A+. That’s why I travel 15 hours to born you here in country of America; so you have good life in 10 years later.” This will open the eyes of your child and help him understand that A’s no longer let you telecommunicate and A-‘s will leave him homeless. Gym is an exception. As long as your student is passing P.E. class, it doesn’t matter what grade he is getting because it’s not counted in his GPA and doesn’t affect his rank. Always compare your child to children of other Korean parents. Every time you compare him to another student, your child will become enraged and suddenly have the desire to overcome the other student. This will cause a rapid increase in academic performance.
Make sure to emphasize that someone else’s kid got a perfect on the ACT but your child only got a 35. Stressing the importance of the ACT and SAT is highly important while your child is growing up. Your child will never understand its value no matter how many times you tell him that it’s important. He just doesn’t realize how important a good ACT score is and how it affects his college application; trust me. You must tell him everyday starting at the age of 12 that it’s time for him to study The Princeton Review for the ACT. You should also personally talk to your student’s counselor and find out all the AP classes Fremd offers. Make sure to fill in all seven periods with challenging classes such as AP Physics, AP Biology, and AP Calculus BC. Never allow him to have a free period or a lunch. A free period will deprive him of further opportunities to learn and will eventually lead to failure in life.
If the homework, study, and tutor sessions don’t completely fill your child’s schedule, I highly recommend that you consider teaching him to learn the instruments of the string family. Never allow your child to play in the band because he will then be compared by your friends to their own children who play a stringed instrument and thus will be looked down upon in all of the Korean community. Playing the piano is a must. Start your child at the age of 5 so that he can become a piano genius by the age of 12. Schedule 1-hour lessons once a week and keep a record of all the days your child practices. I also highly recommend the violin; cellos are also an alternative, but only if your first child plays the violin. Your goal is to have a mini orchestra in the family so you can show them off at family reunions and birthdays. Never allow the viola or bass into the family; you don’t want to be the first one to break the tradition. If you have more than two kids, your third child can play the violin, and the pattern goes on. Who cares about the viola anyway? Violins are superior according to every Korean firstborn.
By the age of 10, your child should also know the fundamentals of one of the following sports: tennis, badminton, ping-pong, or any form of martial arts. Most parents prefer tennis because it is a widely recognized individual sport, crucial to the Korean culture. By the time your student is a freshman in high school, he should make the Varsity team and become captain his sophomore year. Not only should he excel in sports, but should also be actively involved in Student Council, NHS, SOS, Math Team, Debate Team, Chess Club, The Logue, Scholastic Bowl, and also become a member of the class board. In addition to taking the role of an active participant, he should also run for an executive position. If he fails to meet the criterion, simply call the sponsor and demand a phone conference. With the sentences your child has written out for you, all you have to do is simply read off the napkins and before you know it, the generous sponsors will offer your child a position as the President of their club because, just as you assumed, all the teachers at Fremd High School are so easy to manipulate.
I will once again bring up the quote from Confucius, not that saying it a second time will help the understanding of it; “Have no friends not equal to yourself.” When you finally figure out the meaning of the quote, you can begin action. Start by limiting the types of friends your child hangs out with. Always tell your child that you won’t let him talk to a certain friend because the friend isn’t smart enough to be your child’s friend. Only people who match your expectations can be friends with your child, so it is best you begin to introduce your own friend’s genius children to your own starting from the age of 6. Your child will quickly climb up the academic ladder while also slipping down the social one. But it doesn’t matter as long as you get into an Ivy League University and become a doctor or lawyer. You can live without friends for one year, junior year. Junior year is the most important of all four years of high school. It is crucial for your child to not screw up during this year. Be sure to tell your child, “Just think yourself is dead; so and so no more here. And then 5 years later, you become good doctor and then you have fun with friends. But now, just study, study, study.”

Parents, I advise you to heed to my guidance. Grades are everything for the success of your child. Constantly check his online grades and manually calculate the grades of each class in case there is a technical error with the computer’s calculator. With the little English that you know, go to your child’s teacher and confirm every single point so your child will never lose one. Be sure to convince your student to take all AP classes and get 5’s on each AP exam in May. That way you will save money when your child graduates early due to an exceedingly large amount of credits. Don’t forget to provide your child with a variety of music lessons so he or she can continue to maintain the Korean stereotype. Keep your child actively involved in school activities because the various clubs look astonishing on a college application. While you’re at it, make sure your child is also volunteering in the community, preferably a hospital because your child is striving to become a renowned doctor. By providing the opportunity for your child to participate in a sport, you will be instilling competition into his or her life. By doing so, your student will always compete against other students in order to become the winner at all times. Upon these few instructions, I now say to you, go and make a generation of happy, stress-free, Korean prodigies.

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