Realization Of The Value Of Sacrifice

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My dad squints his eyes, so focused that he doesn’t hear me asking him a question. Nothing seems to distract him from the news and his dictionary app in his hands. After moving to the States, he only watched American news and until recently, I thought he had an interest in American current events. Moving to a new country is a huge stress, and things do not always work out as planned. I was unaware of the issues we had; all I could hear was my dad arguing with different people in English over the phone every day. My dad was our family’s only reliance in this new country. I thought my dad was good at English, and it was too late when I realized he wasn’t.

The more familiar I was with English, the more obvious his lack of grammar and pronunciation became. Once coming home, he kept saying, “it’s too hard”. When I asked what he was talking about, he said he struggled to communicate with his coworkers. I didn’t know how to react to this because I wasn’t used to seeing his weakness, so I laughed it off. Any English conversation he had was full of grammar mistakes. His arguments over the phone that made me think he was good at English turned out to be as a result of miscommunication. Every time this happened, I got frustrated. He was no longer a flawless man, but a actually real man who, despite his flaws and many struggles, had to solely support a whole family. After his 4-year term in Chicago ended, he was reassigned back to Korea. He, who always refused to watch Korean shows with us, started to watch them again. In fact, he loved them, which was evident from his uncontrollable laughter. I thought he loved American news, but turns out, he only watched the news to improve his English in an attempt to be able to carry on a casual conversation with his American coworkers. I now understand that the challenges were evidence that my dad tried his best to support me and our family and his workplace. I admire him no longer because he is perfect, but because he is a dedicated man who gave up his freetime to study after a grueling day at work to become a dependable leader both at work and home. I, my dad’s biggest hope and source of happiness, did not appreciate him enough.

The sacrifices he made for our family are endless, and it breaks my heart that I realized this only after he had to go back to Korea. To stop the further regrets of not being able to help my dad to the fullest, I became an English tutor every Wednesday and Friday for my mom who also struggles with language competence. We focused on everyday conversations, what she needed the most. Along with helping my mom, I also took my chance to become a small group leader at my church. I gladly took the offer when my pastor asked me if I can particularly take the “fobs”, or fresh off the boats. Along with the sermon translations, I tried my best to give them tips on how to adapt to American school, improve English, and helped with school material as well. It still feels like I am looking at my past whenever I see my group kids. Making time in between my tasks can be difficult, but I find tutoring my mom and leading my small group most meaningful. Seeing their growth is an incredible blessing as their guide to a positive direction. This is due to the realization my dad gave me about the value of sacrifice. Though I now only see him through Skype, he is my true role model, inspiration, and Superman. Like him, I want to continue my willingness to give back to my family, community, and the world.

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