The Older One Gets, the Harder One Should Train

On the evening of June 27, 1974, President Kim Il Sung invited to his house the second daughter of Han Tok Su, chairman of Chongryon, who was staying in the homeland.

Over a meal, he said to her: “Chairman Han is old now. You should take good care of your father. His good health is critical to the development of Chongryon.”

After the meal the President told his guest: “When you return home, tell your father that I want him to remember a phrase, ‘The older one gets, the harder one should train. He will understand the meaning of this advice.”

Then he repeated what he had just said: “Convey to your father my reference to the phrase, ‘The older one gets, the harder one should train.”

In September 1978, a few days before the 30th anniversary of the founding of the DPRK, the President arranged a luncheon for Han Tok Su, his daughter and other Chongryon officials, who were visiting the homeland. He proposed a toast to their health, clinking glasses with them one by one. And then he asked the old chairman if he had received the message from his daughter four years before.

Han stood up and said: “Sir, I will never forget your advice, not even on my deathbed. Whenever I feel tired, I repeat your advice to myself, and it gives me fresh courage.”

That night, when he returned to his hotel, the chairman said remorsefully to his daughter: “Well, I made a big mistake today. I should have thanked the President for his advice before he asked me about it. It was morally wrong of me.”

His daughter consoled him, saying: “Dad, I’m a mother now, but I still cannot fathom how much you love me. Likewise, you cannot fathom how great the President’s love for you is, although you are a grandfather now. Isn’t this a law governing the relations between his parents and children?”

Both the father listening silently to his daughter and the daughter consoling her old father were in tears.

Under the warm care shown him by the President, Chairman Han lived to the age of ninety-four, always remembering his advice.

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