Where are the Parents – Part 1/4

April 13, 2010

There is nothing to envy about the “average” American families. It’s in in worse shape than the economy (and I wrote this in April of 2010 almost a year before Amy Chua’s essay appeared in The Wall Street Journal).

My wife is Chinese. She lived in China the first twenty-eight years of her life. She is now an American citizen. In China and other Asian countries, family and earning an education through hard work is important.

American Classroom

If you study Confucian philosophy and the Five Great Relationships, you will understand what I’m talking about. For the most part, the younger generation in China respects, honors and obeys the elders, and the elders are responsible for preparing the younger generations for a prosperous life. I did not say a happy life. I said prosperous. That means hard work—mentioned more than once in the Chinese Constitution.

Article 42. Citizens of the People’s Republic of China have the right as well as the duty to work.

What does that have to do with parents raising children? Everything.

I taught high school English, journalism and reading from 1975 to 2005. Facts about American kids and their families were drummed into my head in one workshop after another at the high school where I taught. During those thirty years, I worked with more than six thousand students and met with hundreds of parents.

Continued in Where are the Parents – Part 2 or discover Education Chinese Style


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Education Chinese Style – Part 6

February 11, 2010

Guess who taught me to read—my mother. When I was seven, education experts said I would never read. My mother didn’t blame them. She blamed herself and went to work to fix the problem. She told me she came home from that meeting and cried. Then she got out the coat hanger.

No matter how much I complained, I learned to read at home. Today, many American parents don’t spend enough time with their children.

Inside a Shanghai Bookstore

In America, many kids don’t like to read. To get the students I taught to read for half-an-hour a day was like pulling teeth with oily fingers. Instead, they watch television or spend hours on the Internet or hang out with friends after school.

The largest bookstore in Shanghai, China, is several stories tall with elevators and escalators. You have to wait in line to reach another floor. The bookstores I visit in Shanghai when I’m there are always crowded. On the other hand, in the United States bookstores are going out of business as if a book plague struck. In China, new ones are opening all the time.

  See Part 1

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