I was a member of an investigation committee with regards to the tragic death of a child caused by abuse several years ago. A familiar book title, “Hope for the Flowers,” stood out as I was reading the child’s book journal. “I also want to become a useful person,” the child wrote after reading the book in the midst of extreme pain and fear. Even so, the child had hope for “usefulness.”
Since the first time I read the book as a child having been drawn by its bright yellow cover and a large butterfly image, the book brings a question in my mind at my life’s each turning point – “Am I being the caterpillar that is desperate to step on somebody else to move up to the top, without knowing what’s really up there?” The book delivers a message that we all have butterflies inside us bringing hope to flowers.
The discourse in South Korea is revolving around one issue at the moment. It resembles a dogfight – a kill-or-be-killed situation. Kids learn from adults. Yet, adults in our society are obsessed with doing better than others, no matter what means it takes to do so. People pay attention to those in the top, i.e., prestigious colleges and the title as a doctor. The “caterpillar tower” in our society exposed in light of the recent issue seems to leave scars on the hope of butterflies in our children’s hearts.
A few days ago, there was an incident in Daejeon where a father killed his two children under the age of 10 and killed himself after suffering from a financial struggle. While the adults in our society fight each other looking at the top of the caterpillar tower, our children hoping to become butterflies are losing their opportunities too early on. The book asks all adults, including myself, in our society a question – “Isn’t there anything better than this in our life?”