Recently I read something very interesting. Bernhard Bueb, longtime head of the elite boarding school Salem and author of” In Praise of discipline” gave an interview to “Der Spiegel” and said on the topic of so called “children of foreigners”: “Foreigners children learn in their families to submit to authoritarian rules.”
In contrast to all those German children who are totally neglected by a liberal education, and must have all their needs met immediately, because otherwise they suffer a nervous breakdown.
Now I don’t know how he knows this about foreign children. (I doubt that many foreign children visit Salem.) But he’s right! And I should know. Because I’m one of those “foreign children”.
Korean “Gastarbeiter” raise strong children
My parents immigrated into Germany over 40 years ago. They came from South Korea to work as a nurse and a miner in the Ruhr area. A recruitment agreement between the two countries, which this year will be 50 years old, made it possible.
Therefore I was not only born in Germany, but also born as a so-called “foreign child”. Although I personally prefer the term “guest worker child”. The later term has a hint of “underdog”. Very cool!
Confucius and authoritarian rules
But back to the topic of submission and authoritarian rules. The Korean social system is characterized by Confucian values. Until today. One of the most important Confucian values is the hierarchy. Confucius speaks of five elementary relations:
Father – Son
Ruler – subject
Husband – Wife
Older brother – younger brother
Friend – friend
Of course it is about the principle of “top” and “bottom”, expressing “submission”. Only the two friends are equal.
And it’s about discipline. Without discipline, the maintenance of hierarchies is impossible. Why else do you learn to make your bed absolutely accurately in the German Army? Unlikely to win first place in the “Schöner Wohnen” competition.
I, the cool guest worker Child from the Ruhr area, I also had the pleasure of authoritarian Confucian education. Even though my parents have not managed to make an early riser out of me, who will every morning swallow a “ wheat germ – kale smoothie” ( yuck! ) , jogs an hour through the woods and then taken the world by career costume. (Instead I like red meat, long sleep and super casual jeans.)
But I developed an incredibly strong willpower, coupled with great assertiveness. Everything I put into my head, I pull through! I’m completely unconscious about it, by the way. The year abroad in Seoul, which I financed with temporary jobs. The post of editor in charge of a local newspaper (Although I think I was simply the only candidate…). The creation of my own company, (which is still downright sabotaged by my parents) and for which I had to move so many stones out of my way. Including the lack of understanding by girlfriends who – shaking their head – could not imagine why a woman would trouble herself with such a task – when she could simply marry a rich man.
By the way, I just realize that I can’t submit I imagine the way just realized that I can’t submit myself to authoritarian rules and predefined hierarchies at all. Hmh. No idea what went wrong with me. Maybe too westernized and neglected? Fulfillment of needs I’ll find quite beautiful. Regardless, the article in the mirror was still interesting. And who needs a costume to conquer the world?
Have you made the same experience?
You are well educated, you have professional experience and most important: You have drive and ambition. You want to make a contribution and build a good career.
But German employers don't value your talent. You apply for job after job. You spent hours editing your CV and cover letter to fit perfectly. And then: You don't even get an answer.
There is a way forward! Chris Pyak and the rest of us at Immigrant Spirit GmbH: We want you to succeed.