Encouragement Is a Luxury?

Yes, I have realized that it is. Encouragement is a luxury for those who have the freedom to move forward with it.

Principle #5 of Encouragement says…Possibility is necessary. 

I just watched a most amazing Ted Talk by Suki Kim.  The talk, This is What it is like to go undercover in North Korea, was fascinating. She chronicles her time teaching the sons of North Korea’s elite, students at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. A place where very few students had incredibly limited access to computers and the internet. Yes, no internet, at the most prestigious university of science and technology.

Suki wanted to see what life was really like in North Korea and felt the best way to find out was to live among the people, not just visit.

As she began to understand the depth of their inability to think freely, she began to wonder how much she could push them. They spoke from scripts taught to them from birth, always giving credit to the Great Leader, for all they had. Here is a video of the song No Motherland Without You, dedicated to their Dear Leader Kim Jong-il.

Suki sums up the luxury of encouragement, and why she was always cautious in Chapter 5 of her book, Without You, There Is No Us. The title is taken from the song No Motherland Without You.

…It was a fine dance. I wanted to push them but not too much; to expose them to the outside world, but so subtly that no one would notice.

…Was this really conscionable? Awakening my students to what was not in the regime’s program could mean death to them and those they loved. If they were to wake up and realize that the outside world was in fact not crumbling, that it was their country that was in danger of collapse, and that everything they had been taught about the Great leader was bogus, would that make them happier? How would they live from that point on? Awakening was a luxury available only to those in the free world.

Wow! After seeing the TED Talk I read the book Without You, There Is No Us. It was mesmerizing, to walk with Suki through this experience. So surreal.

And of course finding connections to encouragement is always enlightening.

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