Life Relationships South Korean-born dads go to school… to learn how to hug

South Korean-born dads go to school… to learn how to hug

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Fathers in South Korea enrol in schools to help them become better and more affectionate dads to their children.

Known as ‘Father Schools’, students (dads) attend the four-day retreat to become “more loving and involved parents”, according to PRI.

Classes – which are beginning to take off in the US, too – involve hymns where men sing along, listen to lectures and partake in activities. One of those activities literally teaches the men how to hug.

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PRI reported most of the men – aged from their twenties to seventies – attend on instruction from their wives.

“I’m not into the habit of hugging,” Jason Chang, 47, said.

“Being a Korean guy, when I was growing up, my father and mother, we didn’t really hug.

“She [Mr Chang’s wife] basically signed up and said, this is the start date. Go ahead and go’.

“But I’m glad I did it. They had homework, you know, that I normally wouldn’t do. It gave me some insights.”

Mr Cheng attends the Duranno Father School in Centreville, Virginia.

Volunteers move through the American church hall, teaching the men in groups and individually.

“Do you think your father loved you?” one volunteer was heard asking.

The dad reportedly could not answer, so the volunteer said: “Yes he did. He just didn’t know how to communicate it.”

Korean workers do some of the longest hours in the world, so the Duranno school was started in Seoul, Korea, in the 1990s.

It was founded in response to “an epidemic of absentee fathers”.

The men receive homework, write letters to their wives which encourage them to list 20 reasons why they love them.

One of the volunteers, Dave Lee, said most of them are alumni from the program, and help out because they don’t want to see other fathers make the mistakes they did.

“Even though I fall back on it sometimes,” Mr Lee said, “through this school, it made me closer to my family — my wife and my children. I’m able to reflect back on things I’ve done wrong, or could have been done differently.”

Families join their fathers for the graduation ceremony and men wear school-designed polos to symbolise their transformation.

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