Friday, May 23, 2008
no small thing
for this morning's english conversation class i took my students on a field trip. we went to the sky lounge cafe on the 20th floor of the library for waffles, ice cream and of course, an intense group discussion about sexism!
over the last couple of classes we have been exploring stereotypes and a variety of -isms. the depth of thought and enthusiasm that has been brought to these discussions leaves me ecstatic. this is definitely the new generation of korea. these young people are shaking things up. many question and some reject the traditional views on marriage, children (preference for a male child), gender roles, sexuality, and negative racial stereotypes. as soon as they figured out that my stance was very open-minded and all inclusive, they were bubbling over with eagerness to share their seemingly radical, revolutionary thoughts. a few students have come up to me after class and expressed great relief and happiness at being affirmed in their deviance from what has been a very strong set of norms. many agree that they still come up against so much pressure to follow tradition. these thoughts are most often kept secret from family.
i tell them that thinking outside of the box is no small thing...questioning the status quo....taking the road less travelled. it calls for a lion-heart. venturing outside of box after box is what has continuously led me on my journey... it is what brought me to the west coast of california where i broke open, discovering who i was underneath the layers of what i thought i had to be to fit in and have a place in the world....it is what beckoned me here, where an inner spaciousness and ease has taken root inside. i have no regrets, only gratitude and a growing reverence for the mystery that continues to surprise with its richness and beauty.
i feel i can create a safe place for my students to share their taboo questions and thoughts; i can listen, support and affirm. doing this is quite possibly one of the greatest joys i've ever felt.