OWL Magazine Korea

“Thank You, Family: The Story of the Happiest Family in the World” by Baek Il-seong

A recent survey conducted by an overseas institution on “the most important value in life” among people from various countries came as a shock. While most Western countries listed “family” as the top priority, South Korea ranked “material possessions” first and “health” second.

A YouTuber from abroad even depicted Korean society as one characterized by the negative aspects of Confucianism and capitalism.

Despite our efforts to pursue happiness, it seems like we are making choices that lead us further away from happiness.

“What are the ways to become happier?”

Professor Tal Ben-Shahar, who lectured on “happiness” at Harvard University, introduced in his book “Happier” that the pursuit of happiness is an instinctive behavior closely related to human nature. Humans instinctively pursue happiness.

In the past, Korean society transitioned from an extended family system to a nuclear family society. The trend of living alone is increasing. Even comparing to ten years ago, one can feel that the world has changed rapidly.

“Thank You, Family,” although published as a book a decade ago, vividly portrays the lives of people living in an extended family—a rarity at the time.

In fact, the book is a collection of writings serialized on “Daum Agora,” a now-defunct online platform. Daum Agora was a community where various people posted their writings, and popular posts were featured on the main page, leading to vibrant discussions.

The author, Baek Il-seong (pen name Nayanah), depicted the modest lives of those living in extended families online, garnering significant popularity. Even now, it’s rare to find three generations living together under one roof, making their story even more precious.

“Everyday Life of an Ordinary Modern Family”

The author, Baek Il-seong, presents the daily life of a family in an episodic format. Through their family’s portrayal, readers may find similarities with their own families. The dynamics of three generations living under one roof are naturally depicted, showing joy, anger, sorrow, and pleasure. However, as such families become increasingly rare in modern times, their story resonated with readers when serialized on Agora.

Although the author describes their lives as a “comedy from afar but a tragedy up close,” one may consider that even though their lives may be tragic, living dynamically may be closer to real life than living in a dull and uneventful manner.

Above all, living with a cheerful father who can turn any tragedy into comedy makes their lives more colorful.

“Communication with Those Close to Us”

In modern society, with the advancement of the internet and the trend of nuclear families, it often feels like communication with those close to us offline is being severed. While smartphones and social media have made online connections easier, it feels like we are losing touch with those close to us offline.

Through the portrayal of Baek Il-seong’s family, we may reflect on what we have forgotten and reconsider what “communication” truly means.

“Thank You, Family: The Story of the Happiest Family in the World”

  • Author: Baek Il-seong (Nayanah)
  • Publication Date: May 10, 2013
  • ISBN13: 9791195031405
  • Yes24: http://app.ac/MbM2Pel93