Chil­dren not nec­es­sar­ily an in­sur­ance for old age

Global Times - Weekend - - OPINION - By Zhang Yun­ing The au­thor is a free­lancer in Bei­jing. opin­[email protected]­al­times.com.cn

Does a child have the right to know and have re­la­tions with his/her bi­o­log­i­cal par­ents? Nu­mer­ous such ques­tions and an­swers can be sought out on the in­ter­net. Yet the con­verse of this ques­tion can hardly be found.

It makes sense. There may be a long list of rea­sons that can sep­a­rate a kid from bi­o­log­i­cal par­ents, but when it hap­pens, the de­ci­sion has al­ready been made by the par­ents in most cases. Pe­riod. They have noth­ing more to do with the child’s fu­ture. Yet re­cently, a Chi­nese mom, sur­named Wang from Shaox­ing in Zhe­jiang Prov­ince, hit the head­lines. She wanted to re-es­tab­lish ties with her son, whom she sent away for adop­tion 34 years ago.

By “re-es­tab­lish­ing ties” Wang means de­mand­ing money from her son. “He earns 550,000 yuan ($80,180) a year,” she em­pha­sized, adding her son showed no fil­ial piety for re­fus­ing to an­swer her calls as she is liv­ing a pen­ni­less life while the busi­nesses of her other two sons, whom she raised, are fail­ing.

Most ne­ti­zens were dis­ap­pointed with Wang. They be­lieve the money her son is earn­ing has noth­ing to do with her. The son is liv­ing a de­cent life all thanks to his foster par­ents, yet the bi­o­log­i­cal mother is turn­ing into a vam­pire, some of them sighed.

Yet Wang showed no sign of giv­ing up. She turned to me­dia in or­der to pile more pres­sure on her son, but was met with pub­lic out­rage and de­ri­sion.

Her logic is sim­ple – “I gave you life so you are obliged to look af­ter me.” She must have for­got­ten her obli­ga­tion to raise her son af­ter giv­ing him birth. Not to men­tion her out­dated mind-set – raising a child as in­sur­ance for old age – is be­ing shunned by new gen­er­a­tions of Chi­nese par­ents.

They be­lieve ed­u­ca­tion is the best gift they can give their lit­tle ones. It

can help build char­ac­ter and be the key to hap­pi­ness, as well as give them the for­ti­tude to face the mis­for­tunes of life calmly.

Nowa­days, they love their chil­dren un­con­di­tion­ally, for who they are, not for what they do. They be­lieve that love is not trad­able, and cer­tainly not some­thing to be ex­changed for fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity pro­vided by chil­dren in old age.

In the view of older gen­er­a­tion of Chi­nese, the aim of ed­u­ca­tion is to turn chil­dren into suc­cess­ful peo­ple. The con­cept still has tak­ers in many parts of the coun­try, yet changes are emerg­ing. An in­creas­ing num­ber of young par­ents, bi­o­log­i­cal or foster, tend to at­tach more sig­nif­i­cance to the hap­pi­ness of their chil­dren and groom­ing them to live a life of grat­i­tude in the fu­ture.

Such parental af­fec­tion and outlook pro­motes chil­dren’s well-be­ing and a well-rounded per­son­al­ity, help­ing cre­ate a stronger bond be­tween par­ent and child. Kids brought up by re­spon­si­ble foster par­ents are not per­turbed by the fact that they have been adopted or who their bi­o­log­i­cal par­ents are, be­cause they are con­fi­dent and ca­pa­ble of fac­ing the truth.

I am re­lieved to see Chi­nese ne­ti­zens crit­i­ciz­ing Wang, an ir­re­spon­si­ble par­ent who failed to shoul­der her re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and is seek­ing to take much more than she once gave. But I am also heart­ened to see some ra­tio­nal voices among them, who noted that the choice lies with her son – whether he an­swers Wang’s call or not.

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