A Story About the Blessings of Social Media

Over the past few years, I’ve heard people complain quite often that social media—especially Facebook and Twitter—is destructive to relationships as well as the individual. Whereas I can see how this can be true in some instances, I do think the criticisms have gotten the lion’s share of the attention. In my experience, the discussion has drowned out some very positive things about social media. Personally, I think social media has some great benefits, so much so that I’d even call them blessings.

Sometime in the past year, I was having a conversation with a high school student named Jason*. He shared with me that he doesn’t like it how sometimes social media gets a bad rap. He said that if it hadn’t been for social media, he would not have the social skills that he has today.

Jason went on to explain that prior to social media, he had a lot of difficulty navigating the social landscape. He even confessed that he had significant bouts Continue reading

Memories of Racism, Memories of Grace – My First Racist Encounter

That’s me in the middle.

Besides almost dying from cholera when I was one and getting my hand crushed by a large, steel door when I was three, the rest of my early childhood in Korea was mostly a time of innocence and fun. I do have that one memory where my mom is pumping breast milk for my sister into what seemed to me at the time a large basin, but I’m still not really sure what to make of that image, whether it traumatized me or simply surprised me. But other than that, it’s hard to recall anything remotely negative. All I see is a skinny, Korean boy playing in the stream trying to catch frogs and tadpoles; hiking and exploring the hillsides and woods (we visited the shigol [countryside] often); waiting around the corner, listening for the man with the pull cart to ring his bell so that I could buy and devour a newspaper cone full of bundaegi (roasted silk worm pupae), which, at the time, was by far the most delicious thing on the planet (today, I can’t go near the stuff); feeding cute, fluffy, yellow chicks with rice grains; throwing a hammer at my grandfather’s head; and running away from my three uncles after pouring a bucketful of soapy water into the well, our main source of drinking water (they had to empty the entire well and wait for the next rain to replenish the supply). Of course, I only remember bits and pieces, but from those fragments and the stories my folks share with me, it seems that I really was a rambunctious, happy, little kid who, unlike the current me, actually loved to dance. Continue reading

Memories of Racism, Memories of Grace – Among Professionals

In this post, my friend and colleague Dr. Hue-Sun Ahn (pronounced Hae-Sun) shares about an experience with racism in the professional world of clinical counselors and psychologists. I’m sure many readers will resonate with her story as racism is still systemic across most professional disciplines. Continue reading