Posted by Meditation USA on August 9, 2020
Youngsung Kang’s family story
Youngsung Kang, a father who was stressed out because his son neglected studying to play computer games. He has lived with the belief that life is only worthwhile if you live working diligently. He couldn’t tolerate that his family was lazy. His son and daughter were cold to him because he forced them to live life like he had. Even his wife, when she looked at the situation, would say that there was never a comfortable day. It was meditation that ultimately softened this father who was so strong and hard headed. Eventually, father and son reconciled. Finally, they’d become a peaceful family.
When He Came Home, My Dad Used to Make This Face
Son: I guess my family really reconciled. We’re being interviewed! (Laughs)
Dad: This is all thanks to my son. Thanks to you, our entire family started meditating and we’ve all changed a lot.
Mom: Your face looks more comfortable these days. You used to make a face whenever you came home from work.
Dad: You wouldn’t have liked me before. If you said one or two words to me, I would say, “Alright, stop! I get it. That’s it!”
Mom: Actually, you never said, “I get it” You asked, “What did I do wrong?” You never admitted that you were doing something wrong.
Dad: Right, right. I thought living and working diligently was the best way to live for fifty years. I thought I didn’t do anything wrong because I lived and worked diligently.
Mom: The goal of your life was only to work hard. While being married to you, I have never seen you stay home on a Sunday. You had to leave and come back about three times a day and you always had to keep moving. Only then, you could say, “It was a rewarding day.” (Laughs)
Dad: It wasn’t a rewarding day if I rested for an hour. (Laughs)
When I Talked to My Dad, It Was Like Talking to the TV
Son: When I was five years old, the first word I learned the definition of was ‘rewarding.’ Dad continuously said, “It’s rewarding,” so I asked, “What does rewarding mean?” I remember you explained, “It means you have done a lot of work today!” So I would write, “Today was a rewarding day…” in my daily diary. (Laughs)
Dad: I was also influenced by my grandmother. Grandpa died early. My grandmother farmed but she never complained even after working all day. When I saw that, I had to work hard in spite of myself, but I got caught up in it.
Mom: In the old days, just being fed was the most important thing, but these days kids want something different. When I said that you really don’t do much for your kids, the first thing you said to me was, “Is there anything that I’m not doing?! I’m working hard to earn money!” You always came in after midnight. If you did come home early, you studied. You never thought to play with your kids. I really didn’t like that.
Son: Yeah, I didn’t like that either. It was uncomfortable to be around you, so I skipped meals and didn’t eat well. I couldn’t even ask for pocket money.
Dad: That’s right. I don’t think I’d ever spoken with you really. You would have been able to figure things out by yourself if you were given the time, but I couldn’t wait, so I just scolded you. Do you remember fighting with me when you were in your second year of middle school?
Son: At the time I quit the academy and I ran away from home.
Dad: I had the idea that you had to study when you were in middle school. But you didn’t study and you played a lot of computer games. I scolded you, but you didn’t change. I didn’t like to leave work because it was hard to be home. When I came home, I felt like I was in prison.
Son: I didn’t like when my father came home. When my stomach was a bit full and I only ate a little, you would overturn the dinner table. You would say, “Why do you eat like that?!” I couldn’t understand why you were angry. I thought, “Why do I have to do that?” When I talked to you, it was like talking to a TV. I couldn’t communicate.
Dad: Fortunately, at that time, I began to meditate. I told the manager of the beauty salon where your mother had often gone that you played a lot of computer games. She told me to send you to a meditation retreat. But she said that it’s better for parents to try it first. As I began to meditate, I realized there had been a lot of things I had done wrong. I never accepted the words of you or your mother. I cried a lot because I felt so sorry.
My Father Was Stuck in His Mind and it Was Bothering Him and Everybody Else
Mom: I was so surprised to see you change. You told me I could say whatever I wanted. And you said, “I didn’t do very much for the kids.”
Dad: During my first month after meditation, I felt really comfortable. But when my son played games again, I felt so upset. My daughter had a problem with her friend, so she said, “I will take time off from school.” Then, I had to meditate some more.
Son: Even though I understood you, I didn’t like when you forced me to do things. When I meditated, I cried as I threw away my mind about you. It was because I felt compassion for you. I realized that you had lived being stuck in your own mental frame and that was why you had bothered yourself and the people around you.
Dad: Yeah, that’s right. Last year, you and I had a fight, and we actually broke the door. Your mom thought that you and I might become enemies. Then you got a studio and left home. Do you know how much pain I was in? After that I was furious. I could see my real self clearly and I realized I had never truly thrown my mind away. Then, I meditated really hard, and at one point, I realized that every single action of my children had been caused by me. I promised that I would accept my family 100%. I realized that I should not interfere with my children’s work.
Mom: Still, how much work did dad do for you? If we had your favorite food during breakfast, he would ask me to pack it so you could eat it in the car. He drove you to school. You couldn’t even imagine that before. Then, you said that starting February, you wouldn’t play games and would study this year. It was like a miracle. They had the power to look back on themselves.
Because My Father Changed, I Decided to Study and Stop Playing Computer Games So Often
Son: When I decided to stop playing and started to study, I just cried. I didn’t know why I cried, but I was happy. Before, even though I didn’t study, I looked very comfortable on the outside. My friends told me that I looked like a monk. But one day, I worried that they were working very hard, but what was I doing?
Dad: When you decided you would study, you stopped playing on your cell phone and computer. And then you came back home again.
Son: When I left, I thought I wouldn’t see you until you were dead. But you’ve changed. I haven’t seen you get angry this entire year. Even if I’m on the computer late at night, you just say goodnight. You were always so negative before, but now I think that you are much more positive.
Mom: Did you know that Taegyu once said that in our family, Dad had it the most difficult? He said, “If I don’t want to study, I can have a break. And you can do whatever you want after sending us to school. But dad needs to go to work to earn money for us even if it rains or snows.” (Laughs)
Dad: Did you say that? (Laughs)
Son: You seem to have a lot of compassion. If relatives had financial trouble, you always helped them. Mom always said, “How can your dad be responsible for so many people with such a small body?” If I think about that, it must have been hard for you, so it makes sense that you would get annoyed with us. I regret that before I couldn’t understand.
Dad: I think we changed bit by bit as we meditated. You said, “How can kids grow only as we wish? Let’s not expect too much from our children.” When I heard that, I thought, “Oh, that’s right. I was so obsessed with the kids that I tried to raise them to be the people that I wanted them to be, but I was really wrong to do that.”
Mom: There were a lot of things I did wrong too. Because I didn’t have a good relationship with you, I think that I didn’t create many opportunities for you to spend time with your kids. I always excluded you by saying that you were busy.
Son: I didn’t study before, because I didn’t intend to go to college, but I have a goal now so I feel good. One day, I tried to list my strengths and weaknesses, but I couldn’t write down any strengths. At that moment, I realized, ‘In this state, I can’t achieve anything, I don’t want to live like this anymore.’
After Meditation, My Family Began to Understand Each Other
Mom: You gained the power to look back at yourself – at how you were. You felt bored before in school, so you slept in school on purpose. But now you eat a little rice beforehand because you’re worried about falling asleep during class. After class, you eat more. Your grades went up a lot after studying for a month.
Dad: As I listen to that, I feel like you were looking back at yourself like I was. You also tried to find out what was wrong and fixed it on your own.
Son: Because you are positive in everything, the family is happy. Before, I thought that the cause of our problems was you. (Laughs)
Dad: Right. Everything has changed as I changed. Oh, before, we bought Chinese herbal medicine for you because you were in high school. And later, I heard you tell your mom that you were okay, so give it to me because things were hard for me. At that moment, I felt so touched.
Son: That was because I didn’t want to take medicine. (Kidding)
Dad: (Laughs) When I heard that, I was really happy. I felt like you were more open to me.
Mom: Somehow, our son was worried about you. Previously, we were not a real family. I really appreciate that after meditation we became a true family.
Dad: As you know, I was pretentious, proud and hated to bend to others’ will. Meditation made me reflect on myself constantly. These days, I really have no worries. If someone makes a joke, I just laugh. Nowadays, patients say, “Are you the same person?” Before, people said, “The director of the oriental medicine clinic is really unfriendly. Don’t go to see that person, just go to get treatment.”
Mom: Right. You became really different.
Son: That’s because I’m a blessed child (Laughs).
Dad: That’s right. You are blessed. You also made your mom and me do this meditation.
Now I Want to Be Like My Dad
My dad said the house was a prison, but from my perspective, when he came in, the house became a prison. When dad came home, I walked on eggshells. He didn’t care much about us.
After getting mad at us, my father became regretful and drank. Then he said he was sorry and he was wrong. I hated it. If he didn’t become angry in the first place, he wouldn’t have to apologize. I pitied my dad. I also felt indifferent toward him. But now I like my dad because he changed a lot after meditation.
He used to be unconditionally one-sided, by saying, “We should go here.” Now, he asks, “Where do you want to go?” Before, nine out of ten words he said were “Don’t do ____.” Don’t play on the computer. You shouldn’t be late for school. He didn’t like me from my clothes to my hair. But now he always says, “Do as you want.”