I am what they call a “daughter’s daddy.” I listen to music whenever I sit outside of my daughter’s school waiting for her evening self-studying to be over. “By the Riverside” by Kim Min-ki is written by a daughter’s daddy like me. The background of the song is the early 1970s, when people used to wake up to the sound of “Saemaeul Movement” song and there were increasing number of slate-roofed houses. People were forced to believe in a can-do spirit and had to stop walking and recite the Pledge of Allegiance whenever the national anthem played on the street.
The daddy in the song waiting for his daughter by the riverside is worried as his daughter, who works until late night to earn money instead of going to school, is not coming yet. It is a dangerous world, you know. A train passes on the railroad bridge, ruffling the surface of the lake as well as the daddy’s heart. The stars’ reflection in water shimmers disquietly. And then, there comes his daughter Sooni from the field of reeds across the river. And I see my sweet loving daughter trudging through the school gate carrying a heavy bag pack on her shoulders. Feeling sorry for and proud of her at the same time, I try to hold her bag pack for her, but she snaps at me. When asked what she wants to eat, she mumbles. Because she is feeling tired, her egocentrism is being expressed even stronger. Adolescents often find it difficult to distinguish their internal world from the real world, and change the standard of the world based on their condition.
My daughter is usually not that rude. Because she is under pressure due to her tests, she changes the rules I should follow when interacting with her, and thinks I know that the rule has been changed. In fact, this ego-centric change of rules can easily be observed from adults as well. They become kids when they are worn out.
When the parents and their child have a loving and accepting relationship, the child feels he or she is being recognized and loved. That child has a low level of egocentrism while a child, who feels he or she is being excessively controlled, has a high level of egocentrism. They are feeling depressed. Things are tough for high teens even if they do not have to work. And parents worry about them so much. But if parents try to understand and recognize them instead of trying to teach them, kids would try their best to be the proud sons and daughters. In the process, they grow by themselves and believe that they are pretty good people.
I wonder if Sooni snapped at her father as well. I bet she did, didn’t she?