Benjamin is doing very well with our family.
He has been enrolled into our medical insurance and his mother took him to the school to start the process of enrolling him. He is full of smiles, and gets along with our four other kids.
On past weekend we took the kids to Desert Hot Springs and the kids had a great time swimming and getting burned by the Sun. It was super windy, but we had a lots of fun.
Last night we (all seven of us) sat down together for a dinner meal at our home.
Helen, our oldest daughter is also 14 years-old. So is Joseph whom we adopted 11 years ago is 14 as well.
So we have three teenagers at our home that are all 14 years-old and their birthdays are all within a month apart. I guess it will be quiet a challenge to send them to colleges all at the same time.
As we sat down to eat dinner, Helen prayed for the meal for all of us.
She thanked God for bringing Benjamin home. She asked God's blessings on our home.
When I explained to Benjamin what Helen had prayed, he said,
"No one has ever prayed for me like that. It is the first time for me." Benjamin said this with a hint of gratitude.
The dinner time (or any meal time) with kids was loud and noisy with unceasing amount of conversations exchanged between the kids and the two parents. As usual, the most loud and talkative of all was Joseph, and understandably Benjamin was the most quiet one. With his limited understanding of English, he didn't know what was being discussed unless I periodically explained to him what was being said. At one part of the conversation, the subject turned to school, as the kids were at the end of the spring break and the next day Monday was their back to school day.
At this point Benjamin spoke up with a Southern Korean accent (just like in the US, Southerners speak with accent).
"Will I also be going to the school, too?" he asked in Korean.
"Yes, your mother will try to enroll you into a school tomorrow." I replied.
"Will I be safe at the school? He asked that with a bit of worry on his face. He continued,
"While I was in Korea I heard some stories where the kids in the US are very rough and tough and violent. Is that true?" Benjamin was concerned.
"It really depends on which neighborhood you are in. There are some places that are dangerous, but our school is a very good school and you do not need to worry about that sort of things." I tried to calm his fear.
"In Korea we have to 'school fight' a lot because there were fightings at our school all the time. What if I get into a fight?"
"Fighting is not an acceptable behavior at the school here in the US. If a person starts a fight, he will most likely get a suspension." I spoke this in Korean where the word 'suspension; is called '정학' (Junghak) in Korean. Benjamin then asked,
"What is 정학 (suspension)?"
"It's a form of punishment where you may not be allowed to be in a class or from the school for a few days."
Benjamin mentioning the word 'school fights' brought me the old memories from my past where I have witnessed many fightings by individuals and by groups in the schools.
Benjamin then looked at me and wavered a bit as if he wanted to say something.
"How do typical Americans view Asians?"
"Well, based on my experience they view Asians as good people that are hardworking and tend to do well at schools and in business." I continued,
"So that means Benjamin would have to work hard at school to keep up with that image, right? I smiled at him as I jokingly told him this.
"Well, I wasn't a good student, and I have a confession to make." Said Benjamin.
"A confession? What is it?"
"Well, um, ah,...well, ah..., I change my mind. If I tell you this you will be in a great shock."
That got all of us interested in what he was thinking of.
"It's OK. Just go right ahead tell us. Nothing will surprise us at all. Go ahead, what's on your mind."
"Ah...well...no, I better not you will get too shocked at this."
By then all of the kids were interested in hearing what the secret was all about, and they all beckoned him to speak.
"Well, if you promise me that you will not get upset or be shocked then I might. I'm not sure if I should tell it." He shook is head as he said this.
"Benjamin, it's OK. We won't think any less of you. Go ahead." I encouraged him again.
"Well, um,...at one time...ugh...well, one time I went to school carrying no text books and did not do any homeworks for a while. This went on for a few weeks and I even slept during the classes."
We all looked at one another, and I blurted out,
"That's all?" I asked. "You call that shocking?"
All of us expected something really bad, but not doing homeworks and not carrying the text books? That wasn't what we expected to hear. At this my wife spoke.
"In the US, kids usually keep their books at school lockers and you probably don't need to worry about that."
I confessed to Benjamin, "Your Dad did a lot worse things than that when he was an orphan kid in Korea." At this my wife chimed in and said,
"Yeah, tell him about the story of how you broke the windows at a church for fun."
This was a news even for the rest of the kids that heard this fact for the first time.
They all beckoned me to share my story.
So I went on telling Benjamin and the kids some of the bad things that his Dad had done as an orphan.
One of my daughters asked me, "Why did you do it?"
"Well, because I was stupid at the time."
At this, they all erupted into laughter and the good dinner continued on.