Traditional values should be parents’ gift to their children
For inspiration for his novels, Chinese Nobel literature laureate Mo Yan always turns to his poverty-stricken childhood of the 1960s, in a village in Shandong province.
Hunger pangs aside, an important part of his childhood were the lessons doled out by his illiterate mother to be honest, hardworking and sympathetic to the poor. Mo said those are the most valuable lessons he learned for life.
Last week, in Qingyuan, Guangdong province, some parents took their children to visit an upscale residential community made up of expensive villas, not to buy the real estate, but to inspire the kids to study hard to buy such houses in the future.
Children’s Day, which was observed on Monday, should provide the adults with an opportunity to think of how to create a good environment for the children’s growth today. When food and clothes are no longer a concern, what else can Chinese parents give to their children?
Gifting the poor children some snacks or stationery can make them happy for a long time. But for many children living with their parents at home in the cities, happiness is not that simple.
The People’s Daily reported that it is not uncommon today for some children to be the last to leave school to keep classmates from seeing their parents wait for them in a cheap car outside the school gate.
It is not uncommon either that some children like comparing their parents’ wealth and official ranks with each other, or some teachers treat the children differently according to their family backgrounds. These are the adult world’s pollutions of the children’s life.
Childhood is a key period of time in people’s life. It is a time when they should learn about good living habits, the beauty of nature, the importance of honesty and responsibility, and the pleasure of innovation. These lessons will be their life-long asset, benefiting not only them but also the whole country in the future.
Wealth and power are by no means the ultimate meanings of life, but only by-products of life. And the happiness from family and love is more tangible and sustainable than the sense of satisfaction originating from wealth and power.
All responsible parents want their children to live a happy life. It is a pity that some of them hurriedly instill their narrow understanding of life into their children’s mind. The purpose of study is not only to earn money, but also to lead a meaningful life and make a bigger contribution to society.
The city officials of Shanghai municipal government visited the city’s children welfare association and children’s hospital on Children’s Day to care for the needy children. It is the government’s responsibility to look after needy children. But what the government needs to do is more than that for the healthy growth of all children.
Although China’s fast economic growth since its market reform in the late 1970s improved people’s livelihood, it has also taken its toll in many other ways, such as the power abuses and a widening income gap.
To avoid the parents’ misleading education, the authorities should first of all pay more attention to close the wealth gap and regulate the practices of power.
As the adults and children see more privileges behind untaxed wealth and unchecked power than their duties and obligations, they are naturally inclined to regard wealth and power as their life objectives.
There were complete sets of traditional values and moral codes that played important roles in running big families and educating the young people in ancient China. Most of the values and codes are in line with cultivating good citizenship today.
China is building a rule-oflaw country. It is a good beginning for teachers and parents to address the misleading values that are passed to or taken by the children, and bring back the historical heritages in bringing up the children.
We’d all do well taking to heart the lessons Mo learned from his mother.