My vs. Our

My last trip to Korea I had a friend explain to me why I can’t introduce family as “my mom, my dad, etc.” He said they use “our mom, our brother, etc.” I thought this really interesting and completely in contrast with the US.

I can’t speak Korean, but in learning the few phrases I have, I’ve already noticed a change in the mindset of Korea vs. US. In Korea, and probably most of Asia, the idea within the family is “OUR”, whereas in America, everything is “MY”. In Korea, within the family, everything is shared; house, money, food, child raising, parent caretaking. And it spills over into friendships; paying for meals, bringing back gifts from trips. Even something so simple as grabbing an extra coffee for coworkers in the morning regardless of whether or not you’ve asked. It’s IN THE CULTURE to think of others. I really love this. I find myself saying “my” and “mine” so often, and I see how it’s led me to be stingy with my money and possessions. It’s hard for me to freely give because I’m always looking out for #1. I wonder how our society might benefit from letting go of a possessive attitude to a shared attitude. I mean, it’s things…stuff, for cryin’ out loud.

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