Korean grandpa tells stories to his 3 grandsons using drawings on Instagram
Who said old dogs can't learn new tricks? This Korean grandpa learned how to use social media to reach out to his grandkids overseas.
In today’s borderless world, more and more families end up spread out across the globe. But just because your family is separated by geography doesn’t mean that your connection is lost. One Korean family has found a unique way of keeping in touch — Brazil-based grandfather Chan Jae uses Instagram to tell stories to his three grandsons, two in South Korea and one in New York, Huffington Post reports.
New York-based artist Jin Lee shared the story of his father (who he calls a "grumpy old man") in a touching video on Facebook. His father, 75-year-old Chan Jae, used to drive two of his grandsons to school every day in Brazil. But when their parents decided to move back to South Korea, Chan Jae was left lonely and bored.
Picking up the paintbrush
"My father was retired and spending time with my nephews, like driving them to school was a huge part of his day. After they left, he had nothing to do and that scared my mother and me," said Jin Lee told BBC News. "We were very worried that he would age quickly without having anything to do and would become depressed.”
After remembering that his father used to draw for them when they were children, Jin Lee suggested to his father that he pick up drawing again and post his art on Instagram. Chan Jae initially didn’t like the idea—he had never heard of Instagram. He had never even sent an email or conducted a Google search!
Grandpa learns Instagram
Fortunately, Chan Jae is married to a tech-savvy wife, who was supportive of the idea. He would draw, while she would upload the drawings to Instagram. However, Chan Jae did everything begrudgingly; he just didn’t see the point.
"We almost gave up on him, it was so much work to ask him to draw," Lee told NBC News.
That all changed with the birth of Jin Lee’s son Astro. It was then that Chan Jae realized that he probably wouldn’t be around long enough to see his grandsons grow up. That bittersweet realisation spurred him on to keep drawing. This would be his way to maintain a connection with his grandchildren, even long after he's gone.
"He said, 'Oh I wonder what Astro will be when he grows up because I won't be around,'" Jin Lee said. "I'd never thought about his death until that very moment. It made me sad that Astro will never get to know his grandfather the way I know him, all his talent and the things that he can do."
A family effort
Today, Chan Jae joyfully makes a new drawing every day for his grandchildren. "Now he uses different editing tools and can even understands hashtags so that was revolutionary,” Jin Lee says. "This Instagram account really changed my father's life. Since then, he's been making one drawing a day. My mother writes the stories and my father brings them to life."
Chan Jae’s Instagram is a family effort. His wife writes the each post's caption in Korean, then he makes the drawing. Jin Lee then translates the caption into English, and his sister translates them to Portuguese.
Now, his Instagram page Drawings For My Children has over 450 drawings and over 108,000 followers. Chan Jae draws anything that tickles his fancy, from his family members to animals to local produce, using varying techniques.
This family's story has inspired plenty around the globe.
"There were hundreds of messages saying our story inspired them to speak to their own aging parents,” Jin Lee explains. “It takes a lot of patience and empathy to teach someone like my father to see the meaning and joy of starting a project using a new technology, but for us, it has been incredibly rewarding and transformational."