Parents’ Day with My Father

May 8th was Parents’ Day. In Korea, instead of having a separate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we celebrate Parents’ Day. My mother passed away last year, but I had a wonderful time with my father on Parents’ Day.

Dad is already ninety years old. I still talk so much with him when we’re together that we could stay up all night and it wouldn’t be enough time. His extensive experience in academics and wisdom about the ways of the world were always like a compass to me in my life. But I notice that although my father is hale and hearty, his body is growing smaller with age. I felt my hands tremble a little as I affixed a carnation at his chest just before breakfast, and I thanked him with all my heart, told him how much I appreciate him for being my dad. He smiled brightly and said, “This is the best day of my life!”

I recently invited him to Jeju Island, and we got to go sightseeing and spend some time together. He said it was the first time he had been to Jeju Island in ten years, and he thoroughly enjoyed himself. I think in a small corner of my heart, I feel sorry that I couldn’t take better care of my parents and my family because I spent so much of my life traveling all over the world for my dreams and my vision.

Somebody asked Dad if I wasn’t mischievous as a young boy, and he reminisced about my childhood days. What he said about me was, “He was more of a good son than a troublemaker. When he went out in that cold by himself to go all the way to buy meat on his grandmother’s birthday, he was so young, but he wasn’t scared. And he was always more concerned about other people than himself… When he was little, during the morning assembly at school, he wasn’t even a teacher but he would go around making the kids line up because they weren’t lined up properly, and the teachers saw that and had a good laugh.”

My father has been an educator his whole life and is accomplished in the Chinese classics and feng shui, as well as the philosophy of the Korean heritage. He’s the one who first taught me about Grandfather Dahngun, who founded Korea on the Chun Ji In philosophy that holds that Heaven, Earth, and Human are one. He always believed in me; Dad was the one who said I was a “late-bloomer” when I couldn’t adjust in school and was struggling to get my bearings in life. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

Thanks, Dad. I love you.

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27 Comments. Leave new

  • Beautiful story! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Dear Ilchi Lee, thank you for this posting. I find it very touching and beautiful.

  • Jungoui Hwang
    May 13, 2011 12:09 pm

    This post reminds me of ‘HYO, CHUNG, DO’.
    Life is beautiful, full of love,
    when we choose that,
    while embracing and transforming sufferings of life
    into uncompromisable pursuit of serving a cause greater than ourselves.
    Thank you for this heart-warming post.

  • I think if more peolpe were to see that and have gratitud
    for there parents they will feel more joy
    thank you for sharing

  • Thank you so much. I can feel your heart.

  • My father passed over a year ago, and in truth, as I reflect back, I realize now what I sometimes overlooked when he was alive. As a man who came from humble beginnings, had no college education and who rose to the top of his field, he embodied much of what you teach us,
    Thank you for this very touching sharing.

  • Beautiful! Thank you. Your father looks fantastic! Ninety, yow! I can see the happiness, love and joy on both of your faces. Your time together is a precious gift. I’m really so thankful for you both.

  • Thank you for reminding me of the importance of our parents in our development. I feel a lot of gratitude to your father, if he hadn’t been who he is, where would I be? Give him a big hug from me!

  • Thank you for this wonderful and personal sharing! I am glad you could spend the time with your father and share your gratitude. I will try to do the same with my parents when I have the chance!

  • What a touching sharing and beautiful picture of father and son! Big thanks to you and your father.

  • I am so impressed! Thank you so much for this wonderful sharing!

  • Thank you for this sharing. It must have been difficult not being able to give your time to your parents as much as you would have liked. Susuengnim gamsahamnida.

  • Eternally grateful to you and your parents, Ilchi Lee!

  • This is so beautiful. Thank you for always sharing your heart so openly.

  • What a nice picture of you both! You have the same nose!
    Thank you for the touching sharing.

  • Thank you so much for sharing your heart!!

  • Thanks for your heartfelt story. I was teary when I was reading your sharing…

  • Marlene (Chunbo)
    May 24, 2011 7:30 am

    Thank you so much for your heartwarming story about your dad. So often we forget how special our parents are to us. Unfortunately, both of my parents have passed away, but I still think of them each day and express my love and gratitude for all they did for me. Thanks for your sharing.

  • It is a wonderful gift to have the opportunity to know our parents as people, as well as parents. Your father is your friend; thank you for sharing your love. My mother, who has passed away, is with me still, and listens to my heart.

  • I lost my dad two years ago. Losing a parent is irreplaceable but keeping my dad in my heart allows me to think about him every day and appreciate and am grateful for everything he taught me and things that still I remember after his death. It was a great sharing about your dad. He looks a great person.

  • Thank you for your loving personal story.
    Your father seems very healthy. I’m happy for both of
    you have some close time together.

  • Michael Munson
    June 6, 2011 4:31 pm

    This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this intimate story Ilchi Lee.

  • A beautiful heartwarming story. You are so lucky to still spend quality and meaningful time together with your father. I can feel you love him that much. Thank you for sharing with us your story.

  • Thank you Seuseung nim for sharing !!!!

  • cynthia bianco
    May 14, 2014 6:24 pm

    Thank you Ilchi Lee for sharing this beautiful story.

  • Jean Santoro
    May 17, 2014 3:42 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your day with your father with us. I am so touched to know about you and your dad. Your experience touched my heart and made me think of my own dad. It helped me to think of him, remembering him with love and gratitude.

  • Martha McKinley
    May 22, 2014 4:44 pm

    I had a beautiful, nostalgic feeling in my heart as I read the story of Ilchi Lee’s story. It brought back memories of my parents, especially my father. I just wish I had spent more time hearing stories about his life, later before he passed he was not willing to speak anymore! Please don’t wait and spend some time listening to your parent’s past experiences & impressions about yourself!!! I think this could be helpful for appreciating them!


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