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.