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Caring For One’s Parents: A Virtue Prized Above All Others

In traditional Chinese culture, loving, respecting, and caring for ones parents is the virtue prized above all others. (Image:  Pixabay  /  CC0 1.0)
In traditional Chinese culture, loving, respecting, and caring for ones parents is the virtue prized above all others. (Image: Pixabay / CC0 1.0)

In traditional Chinese culture, loving, respecting, and caring for one’s parents is the virtue prized above all others. The following is a modern day story about how children should value their parents.

Xiao Li came from a rather poor family in his village, but he was fortunate enough to go to college. After graduating, he became a civil servant and was the envy of the other villagers.

Soon he settled down in the city and met a girl, Ah Xiu, who was also from a village. They got married after dating for two years. One day Xiao Li’s father came to the city to visit them, he told Ah Xiu:

Xiao Li came from a rather poor family in his village, but he was fortunate enough to go to college. (Image: Yorick_R via flicker / CC BY 2.0 )

Xiao Li came from a rather poor family in his village, but he was fortunate enough to go to college. (Image: Yorick_R via flickr / CC BY 2.0 )

As soon as Xiao Li got home, Ah Xiu took him into the bedroom and said:

Ah Xiu gave her father-in-law 50 yuan and sent him home after dinner. A few days later, Ah Xiu’s mother came to visit. Ah Xiu was very excited and asked after she settled in: “Mom you need some money, right?”  She told her mom to wait while she went to the market to buy fish, pork, and eggs to make a special dinner. When Xiao Li got home, Ah Xiu said:

Ah Xiu’s mom was very happy and left after supper with the 500 yuan. Ah Xiu got pregnant not long after her mother’s visit. When she asked Xiao Li whether he wanted a boy or a girl, Xiao Li said: “It’s better to have a girl.”  She asked him: “What is the matter with having a boy?” Xiao Li didn’t say a word.

The month when Ah Xiu was due to give birth, she went back to her mother’s home to rest.  As she was leaving, Xiao Li told her:

One day not long after this, Xiao Li learned from his mother-in-law that they had a baby girl. He was very excited and went to see his boss for a leave of absence. He then brought an abundance of supplies in preparation for his visit with his new daughter and his wife’s family. As soon as he arrived at his in-laws home, he put everything on the kitchen table and walked straight to the bedroom.

Xiao Li’s father told Ah Xiu: “It is the planting season, and I need money to buy seed and fertilizer.” (Image: timquijano via flicker / CC BY 2.0 )

Xiao Li’s father told Ah Xiu: ‘It is the planting season, and I need money to buy seed and fertilizer.’
(Image: timquijano via flickr / CC BY 2.0 )

When he found out he actually had a son, he shouted: “I told you to call me when you had a girl, you can do what you want with this boy.” He picked everything up from the kitchen and was ready to leave when his mother-in-law took hold of his hand said: “You are not walking out of here until you tell us why you dislike your son.”

Xiao Li said:

“I am sorry, I didn’t know my daughter was so disrespectful toward your parents. Please forgive us for not bringing her up properly,” said Ah Xiu’s mother.

To all the children in the world, be thankful that your parents are still alive. Please be kind to them, give them your time and be grateful for them. (Image: Chung Chu via flicker / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 )

To all the children in the world, be thankful that your parents are still alive. Please be kind to them, give them your time, and be grateful for them. (Image: Chung Chu via flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 )

Ah Xiu’s mom then walked into her bedroom and yelled: “Get off that bed with your baby and get out of here, I don’t want a daughter like you.” Ah Xiu replied: “I am so sorry mom, I promise to change and be kind to my in-laws. Please let me stay here with the baby for a month.”

Xiao Li realized that Ah Xiu understood how he felt and came into the room and said:

To all the children in the world, be thankful that your parents are still alive. Please be kind to them, give them your time, and be grateful for them.

Translation edited by Kathy McWilliams.

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