Happy Children in Seoul, S. Korea

A few days ago, I told you that today, May 5th, is Orini Nal, Children’s Day, in South Korea. Today, I had the privileged to see some people celebrating this holiday.  We all love children.  When I was growing up, my dad began at one point buying gifts on every holiday for us whether is was traditional to buy kids gifts on those days or not.  I had an extremely generous dad.  That is what Korean parents are like.  When they get married in Korea, they get married because they want kids. Sometimes whether or not they are in love has nothing to do with it; they just want kids.  Korean fathers are some of the most doting fathers in the world!  I have been amazed at how the dads here act like American mothers toward their kids.  They are so thrilled to be dads!  It doesn’t mean the mothers don’t love being mothers too because they do too, but they get a lot more help from the dads than the mothers do in America. Korean dads will change those dirty diaper and push the stroller without a problem.  The focus is the children in many families in S. Korea. My daughter teachers small children in her school and feels like too many of them are just downright spoiled because their parents are so glad to have them.  My Korean son in law told me that Children’s Day in Korea is like Christmas in America for the children, and I got to see it first hand today at church.

I told her I wanted her picture in her pretty dress her mother had dressed her in for Children’s Day, and she was thrilled to have her picture taken.  The pink bag in her had is part of her gifts for Children’s Day. She is Hamin’s little sister.

The first thing they did was the whole congregation read several scriptures together out loud about how lucky a man is to have lots of children:

“Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are son’s born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them (Psalms 127:3-5a).

I have been friends with Hamin since he was born. When he was small, he used to jabber on to me in Korean and didn’t realize he was teaching me Korean because he didn’t have as large a vocabulary as the adults which made him easier to understand. Now, he is studying English.

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. And, whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me (Matthew 18: 3-5).

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Of course, the read all these scriptures out loud in Korean, but I read a long in English to make sure I didn’t miss anything.  I appreciated what they were doing and reading because I love children too and raised four of mine own.  After they read the scriptures, they sang a son in Korean that children around the world traditionally sing, “Jesus loves me.”  The children who were there were singing their hearts out because the worship service was relating to them, and they understood, knew the song, and loved it!

All the kids got gifts!

At the end of the sermon, the preacher had a surprise for them all. He brought out gifts for all the children.  One of the mothers brought a cake with candles on it for them.  The kids were thrilled with their gifts. I had thought about giving each of the kids an origami (the art of Japanese paper fold) ball, but I changed my mind when I saw them with such nice gifts. In the past, I had given these kids origami birds just because they are sweet. At Christmas, I brought them cookies, and on Stick Day (a Korean holiday. If you don’t know about it, you can find the blog about it.) I brought them sticks on Stick Day. I also brought them Cherry blossom sticks when I took a trip to Japan and on Easter, I gave them sugar eggs. However, today, I didn’t give them the origami balls because I knew my origami balls would look like nothing compared to the gifts they got.  My Korean son in law is right. Children’s Day in Korea is like Christmas in America.

I took this video of the kids receiving their gifts and their cake.

When I was growing up, my parents would say that having kids at Christmas time made Christmas. I have to agree. I loved watching my kids opening gifts when they were small. The world is full of wonder, and the gifts are truly appreciated. Kids don’t have money to run to the store and buy just whatever they want like many adults.  Adults are harder to buy gifts for than kids, and when kids get gifts, it is so much fun to see their happy faces and their excitement at getting a new toy or getting candy.  When I gave out the sugar eggs on Easter, one little girl who wasn’t there today was eating hers and getting blue icing all over her face, and her parents told said to her, “Thank Ronda for the candy egg.”  she didn’t even look at me, but kept eating and saying “thanks” with her mouth full of candy.  Her exuberance for eating that candy egg was enough thanks for me!  I tried to get a picture of another little boy today, but he was moving so fast and so excited about his gift that all I could get in the picture was “swish, swish, swish” fast movement!  You couldn’t even tell what the picture was after I looked at it. Children’s Day is a very happy time for the children in Korea!


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