One of the best things about social media is that it can bring families together even when they’re far apart. One grandfather is a shining example of this, as he learned Instagram for the sole purpose of drawing pictures for his grandkids who moved away.
Ji Lee, a designer from New York, shared his father’s sweet story in a Facebook video on Monday.
In the four-minute clip, Lee explains that his 75-year-old dad is Korean, but lives in Brazil. He used to drive his grandkids to school every day, until their parents (Lee’s sister and her husband) decided to move their family back to Korea.
“After they left, there was nothing for him to do anymore,” Lee explains in the video.
The family began to worry about the 75-year-old, which is when Lee got a brilliant idea: “I remembered when I was a kid, my dad used to draw for us. So I thought he could draw again and post it on Instagram.”
Lee’s father was completely opposed to the idea at first as he had “never heard of Instagram, never used email, not even Google.” So Lee teamed up with his mom, who is far more tech-savvy, to persuade his father to come around.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work. It wasn’t until Lee’s own son, Astro, was born that Lee’s father reconsidered. He then began drawing pictures for his grandchildren every day.
While his first drawings started off okay, the grandfather’s skills steadily improved over time. He now draws images of almost anything, including plants, animals, landscapes, and even his grandchildren.
Two brothers are walking on a rainy day. They're sharing one umbrella and coming home together. Although the rain is falling, there are a lot to see and talk. It's lovely to see them. #drawing #watercolor #umbrella #rain Sozinho? Não... os dois andam juntos num dia de chuva. Os dois irmãos voltam para juntos sob o mesmo guarda chuva. Está chovendo mas tem muita coisa pra ser vista. Dá para sentir o carinho entre eles mesmo que de costas. 혼자? 아니 둘이 걷는다. 비 오는 날. 한 우산 쓰고 형제가 집으로 돌아온다. 비는 내리지만 이것저것 볼 게 많은 형과 아우, 뒷모습이 정답다.
Lee’s mother often writes stories for the photos, too. Together, the grandparents' Instagram posts help teach their grandkids about their Korean ancestry and culture, as well as important life lessons.
Smiling traditional Korean mask "Tal." Although life was hard, our ancestors used to laugh and dance like this. #drawing #watercolor #mask #ancestors #dance Máscaras sorridentes. Os coreanos do passado costumavam dançar sorrindo mesmo em tempos difíceis. 웃고 있는 '탈'. 옛날 한국 사람들은 힘들어도 이렇게 웃으며 신나게 춤을 추었다.
Korean Cultural Center in São Paulo organized an exhibition and dance event to welcome the Korean athletes for the Rio Olympics. Boys, take a look at the folding screen. It's a very famous Korean painting. #drawing #watercolor #koreanculturecentersaopaulo #koreantraditionaldance #traditionalfoldingscreen O Centro Cultural Coreano de SP está com uma exposição sobre a Arte Coreana para recepcionar atletas coreanos que vêm ao Rio para as Olimpíadas. Em sua abertura teve dança típica coreana. Meninos, prestem atenção no biombo do palco. O que pintaram nele? 쌍파울로 한국문화원 ㅡ Centro Cultural Coreano ㅡ에서는 리오 데 자네이로의 올림픽과 출전한 한국 선수들의 성공을 위해 <한국화 전시회>를 열면서 한국전통 춤을 선보였다. 얘들아, 무대에 놓여진 병풍을 잘 보기 바란다. 무엇을 그렸는지 .... #주브라질한국문화원 #올림픽선전기원한국화전시회 #한국무용 #병풍
Take a look at people who are carrying heavy loads. Take a look at people who have hard lives. Let's be empathetic and let's try to help them. #drawing #watercolor Pessoas que transportam peso, olhe para essas pessoas que levam vida pesada. Tenham vontade de ajudá-los. 쌍빠울로에서 가장 큰 축구장 앞을 지난다. 경기가 있을래나? 클럽 유니폼을 팔고 있다. 나도 내 좋아하는 클럽 옷을 입고 응원하고 싶어진다. 함성이 들리는 듯하다.
But sometimes they're just silly because, hey, kids love silly drawings.
An Irish designer made a Batman costume equipped with 23 weapons. What do you think, boys? #drawing #watercolor #irish #designer #batman Um designer irlandês montou a roupa do Batman equipado com 23 tipos de armamento e claro, em formato de morcego. O que vocês acharam, meninos? 배트맨이 멋진 옷을 입고 나타났다. 아일랜드의 디자이너가 만든 이 옷에는 박쥐모양의 표창은 물론 실제로 사용할 수 있는 무기가 23개나 들어 있다고 한다. 얘들아! 어떠니?
Have you watched the Angry Bird movie? You guys used to like this game, right? Now they made it into a movie. You guys also get angry sometimes right? WHave you watched the Angry Bird movie? You guys used to like this game, right? Now they made it into a movie. You guys also get angry sometimes right? What do you do when you get angry? I hope you learn how to control your anger.hat do you do when you get angry? I hope you learn how to control your anger. #drawing #watercolor #angrybirds #game Vocês já assistiram o filme dos Angry Birds? Era um jogo que vocês adoravam, não é? Parece que saiu o filme agora. Meninos sabe quando vocês ficam com raiva? Como vocês fazem? É preciso saber controlar. 앵그리버드 영화를 봤니? 너희들이 좋아했던 게임이잖아? 영화로 만들어졌나 봐. 얘들아. 화가 날 때가 있지? 화나면 너흰 어떻게 하니? 참는 것을 배워야 한다.
“Because of my dad’s project, our family talks to each other every day,” Lee explains. “On Facebook Messenger, my mom sends the new story in Korean. Then my dad sends his drawing. I translate it into English, and my sister, into Portuguese.”
After Lee posted the video about his father, it quickly went viral. In just one day, the grandfather’s Instagram page went from 1,000 followers to 32,000. And now two days later, his followers are over 63,000!
“My grumpy dad had been saying his drawings are not that great and he can't imagine why anyone would be interested in them. Now, I think he will stop saying that,” Lee wrote in a new Facebook post.
He also noted that the positive responses his family has received from strangers has been overwhelming.
“There were hundreds of messages saying our story inspired them to speak to their own aging parents to awake their inner passion and talent by teaching them new technologies to express themselves and connect their families,” Lee wrote. “Hearing such messages was the most rewarding aspect of the whole experience so far.”
Lee’s father has now been drawing a picture for his grandchildren, Astro, Arthur and Allan, every day for over a year.
Keep it up, grandpa!