War and Generations
My grandfather’s generation had worked like slaves who couldn’t stop working in order to rebuild the devastated land in South Korea in the 1950’s by Korean War. My grandfather suffered from the Korean War as a solider, which was a war between South Korea and North Korea. It was primarily the result of the political division of Korea. As a result of this cruel war, uncountable young children became orphans, and most people lost their homes and family. At that time, most people suffered from starvation because there was a lack of food to eat, so people struggled to find enough food and worked so hard to survive. My grandfather was one of those people who struggled not to be hungry. In addition, he injured his left leg during the war, so he had difficulty to walk without stick. Unfortunately, his leg injury prevented him from getting a good job which can earn much money, and it affected his entire life and my family throughout the generations.
At the beginning, my grandfather had a little opportunity to get a good job because of his injured leg. After the war ended, Korea needed a lot of physical laborers to rebuild the country. My grandfather faced many disadvantages to choose a fine job even though he had diligent attitude and a brilliant brain. Before the war began, my grandfather was the most likely student to succeed, and he had a big dream about his future life. He tried hard to find a good job, but he was always rejected due to his handicap. Thus, he chose to be farmer, making his living by milking cows and raising vegetables. This job was not necessarily satisfying for him because he had a dream to be an educator. Due to his disappointment, my grandfather wished that his son get a good job and be a successful man. Thus, my grandfather generously supported my father to get into a good college even though there were not enough moneys in his pocket. He sold his cows, which he raised, and land to support my father’s school tuition.
In addition, my father had a hard time during his childhood due to a lack of money. In Korea, there is common phrase that is hungry spirit. It means that someone who gets success in his life has an experience a poor environment in his childhood. My father said that when he was a student, he studied in a dark room just depending on candle light in order to save electricity. In spite of his poor environment, he studied so well, and finally got into a good college that my grandfather wanted. My father always emphasized to me that I should challenge big things and keep a hungry spirit in my mind. I also agree with him, but my generation’s environment is different. Compared with my father generation, our generation doesn’t worry about hunger too much.
Finally, our generation has suffered a lot of pressure from our parents about getting into prestigious college and finding a good job. When I was a student in South Korea, I had a lot of stress due to my father’s expectation. Like my grandfather, my father also expected me to be a successful man. My father and I have a very similar character, but we also have a very different attitude. My father has focused on how much money he can earn. He doesn’t care about what I want to do. Thus, my father and I have had many arguments regarding my dreams and his conflicting expectations for me. He tried to force to me to get a stable job, so that I won’t worry about money in my life. However, money is not my first priority in my life. My first option is pursuing my dream.
Today, we are slaves of history. We are affected by many historical accidents. My grand father was affected by the Korean War, and it also affected my father and me. Although I didn’t experience the Korean War at that time, it has had a strong influence on me. I sometimes imagine that if the war had not happened in my country, how our country would have changed to good way in the future. The Young generation mutters about why their parents don’t understand them, but we have to try to understand and respect their lives and thoughts, because we were not there at that time.