Education Chinese Style – Part 7

February 12, 2010

One of the Five Great Relationships that Confucius taught was the one between father and son. Nothing has changed. In addition, because of the relationship between husband and wife, the wife is expected to support the husband. It is the husband and wife’s responsibility to see that a son or daughter grows up to be like the gentleman that Confucius described. To do anything less would be a ‘loss of face’, because the child’s failure or success is a walking advertisement to everyone that the parents did not do their job.

Jade Budda Temple, Shanghai, China

Because of Confucius, most people in China have mutual obligations and responsibilities to each other. If you watched the opening Olympic ceremony in Beijing on TV, you may remember the little boy that risked his life after the big earthquake in Sichuan province. He said it was his duty. According to Confucius, he was right. Buddhism also plays an important part in everyday life in China.

These expectations go back more than two thousand years—well before Constantine made Christianity the moral and ethical foundation for the Roman Empire and Western civilization. Does that mean that everyone in China follows what Confucius taught? Do all Christians, Muslims or Jews follow what their God, spiritual teachers and prophets taught? The answer is no, but the foundations of these cultures are still built on those teachings.

See Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart.

Education Chinese Style – Part 3

February 10, 2010

It seems that many of the six-thousand students I taught over thirty years felt the same way—that learning would make them mad like Acts says in the New Testament: 26:24 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.

Emperor Wudi

In China, during the early Han Dynasty, a different moral standard was set where earning an education was valued. Emperor Wudi from 141-187 BCE (two hundred years before Jesus Christ and five hundred years before Constantine), solidified the ideological framework of official Confucianism with a blending of Confucian, Taoist, and Legalist elements.

It looks like China may be officially returning to Confucianism or some form of it. Confucius taught that a ‘gentleman’ is the ideal figure. Among the traits of this ideal man is continued learning to develop moral character and to gain knowledge that is useful in serving others.

In China, teachers are treated with respect. Not so in the United States. Although a few students were respectful when I was a teacher, many were not. To understand what I mean, read the prologue from my memoir, Crazy Normal.

See Part 1

Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart.