There is a Korean saying that was instilled in me without my mother uttering a Korean word (loosely translated): “If you don’t like how the higher ups are doing something then do what it takes to be the one in charge.” I don’t know an American equivalent (maybe, Quit your whining!) , but most definitely, my mother lived out that state of being as long as I can remember. Every day she got up and without complaint she led by example. She modeled a lot more than she talked. During this Thanksgiving season I want to share a bit about my mother and why I’m so thankful for her example, especially now that I have a daughter of my own.
My mother was born and raised in South Korea and her name was Kim Chong Ae. When she married my father (Jasper Sims), who was born and raised in America, she took his surname and her name is now Chong Ae Sims. See, in South Korea, the woman retains her surname all throughout her life, even when married. The children are given the father’s surname. Being raised Korean, this is what my mother knew. So, why did she give up her surname and take my father’s name?
My mother is relentless in not allowing us to make excuses. Anyone can make an excuse. You have a choice. For example, you might not go to the college of your first choice, but if you really want to go to college you can do it. America is a place where you can go to college…if that’s what you really want to do.
My mother is a fascinating woman. Beautiful. Wicked smart. Please do not mistake her quietness for being obsequious or unaware. She and my father have been married 47 years. With all that has gone on in their lifetime it is impossible for me not to stand in awe of not only how they overcame brutal adversity, but how, in the midst, they were able to teach their daughters a different way…a better way. It’s too easy to pass on the hate to the next generation, so all the more amazing it is for them to exemplify God’s love, instead. Her heart for her husband and children is unsurpassed.
I am so thankful she taught us courage and independence and a lot of sacrifice along the way. If I were to listen to the noise of society I would have a completely different life today. How on earth did I bypass all of society ills of being a girl? My mother. I am a fan of her feminism <3. I pray my daughter AND son will be a fan of their grandmother’s legacy of two seemingly simple questions: What kind of person do you want to be and what are you going to do about it? No complaints. No excuses. You have a choice.