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THINGS WE THINK THIS MONTH: Korea's focus on family time

Written by
SIHWA KIM
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Back in 2014, I read a poll conducted by NBC that 58% of Americans said that they have dinner with their families at least five times a week, and that, supposedly, even President Obama makes a  point to have dinner with his family at least twice a week. When I shared this information with my absent husband who rarely comes home for dinner with our family, he pointed out the differences in company culture between the two nations and made some excuse about the lack of restaurants in our neighborhood. Despite the emphasis on needing to prioritize family, there seems to be rather little quality time spent together when actually examining the statistics. According to a Korean job-search website, 66% of male employees have dinner with their families twice a week. Of them, more than 57% said they  couldn't do so because of working overtime or attending company dinners. According to an online survey conducted by IKEA last year, 73% of Korean parents would like to spend more time with their families and the survey also showed that the most popular activity shared between family members is watching television. With family month approaching, I took these statistics to heart and am making  an effort to spend more time with my family conversing over dinner and reading together—at least once a week onFridays. With children attending extra classes and companies demanding overtime,   family time isn’t easy, but this month, perhaps, we can all take a moment to remember what we care about the most. ■Park Seong-mi (Freelance editor)

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