Every week I post a new portrait of a person from a day or time that stood out to me. Sometimes the stories that along with it are cultural, other times they’re merely introspective. Overall, they’re meant to capture a moment. Something that made me think during my travels. To see more Portraits Around the World, click here.
I came across this photograph as I was browsing through my spring album in Korea. For whatever reason, I took a closer look, and it made me really happy. The way this mother is looking at her child, leading him along.
I’ve had the opportunity to work in a school that’s built within a subway station (that’s right, I work underground). Since I’m always so close to the public, I’ve taken to people watching and observing the things that I can A) learn, or B) distinguish as differences from back home. One huge thing that has actually become a running joke amongst many of my friends is that Korean toddlers are encouraged to, kind of, wander off.
They’re never entirely alone at such a young age, mom is not too far behind, but they’re certainly far enough to cause worry in heart. I wasn’t raised quite the same way. In the United States, it’s pretty rare to see a little kid walking alone with such a sense of independence. The world, unfortunately, isn’t safe enough for that kind of freedom everywhere.
I’ve since learned not to ask, “Where in the world is this child’s parent!?” and instead revel in the fact that it’s completely okay for these little ones to explore all on their own. In fact, I think it might make them see the world in a different way. Perhaps they will live life with a little less fear.