In this article, I quoted a teaching by Confucius “道之以政，齐之以刑，民免而无耻；道之以德，齐之以礼，有耻且格”。
It means that if a country is governed only by Law, the citizens may not commit crimes as they are afraid of being punished; however, if a country is guided by moral values as the fundamental, then the citizens will not commit crimes because they are afraid of the shame and disgracefulness that will bring to him and his family.
There are many reports in the recent years of crimes such as murders, briberies, sex scandal, frauds, etc. Many of these crimes are committed by the well-educated. Most parents that I talk to felt that the root cause of this is due to the lack in moral values in a person.
In my article, I stressed the importance of instilling and cultivating moral values from young. I believe that the values taught to a young child, whether good or bad, will have an impact on this child when he grows up, and may influence his beliefs, his behaviour and his actions. In fact, Sean Brotherson, published a paper”Understanding Brain Development in Young Children“, to assist parents understand how a child’s brain develops and their important role in interacting with children to support brain development. He explained that the synapses in a child’s brain are strengthened through repeated experiences, connections and pathways are formed that structure the way a child learns. When a connection is used repeatedly in the early years, it becomes permanent.
From birth, the brain rapidly is creating these connections that form our habits, thoughts, consciousness, memories and mind.
Character Education is of equal, if not higher, importance compared to the academic results of a child. This is echoed by Jessica Lahey, a teacher at a “core virtues” school. She wrote an article titled, “The Benefits of Character Education” in The Atlantic Magazine“. She cited “Character education is not old-fashioned, and it’s not about bringing religion in to the classroom. Character is the “X factor” that experts in parenting and education have deemed integral to success.”
As parents, we may well spend a lot on improving our children’s academic results. However, that does not necessarily mean our children are learning the fundamental moral values they should have in life.
Different parents view and measure good behaviour in their children differently. What are good moral values? What do parents do when they do not know what values to teach? While most parents feel that they can teach their children character development and good behaviour, what then do they base their teaching on?
One good traditional classics that parents can use is Di Zi Gui <弟子规>.
Di Zi Gui <弟子规> is a well-known secular Chinese Classics based on the ancient teaching of the Chinese philosopher Confucius. For more than 2,000 years, Confucius’ deeds have been admired by both government officials and the general public, and his character constantly emulated. His philosophy has become the mainstream of traditional Chinese culture and the basis of moral norms.
Di Zi Gui <弟子规> is the Standards for being a Good Pupil and Child. This book is based on the ancient teaching of the Chinese philosopher Confucius that emphasizes the basic requisites for being a good person and guidelines for living in harmony with others. It covers core values of Filial Piety, Respect, Responsibility, Resilience, Integrity, Care and Harmony which is in-line with what the government hopes to see in all our children and youths.
The editor of Lian He Zao Bao rightly pointed out that Di Zi Gui <弟子规> is only another reference if parents do not practise what they preach.
Hence, to be effective in learning Di Zi Gui <弟子规>, I give assignments to my students to apply the knowledge that they learn in my class into daily practices and completion of simple household chores/tasks that require their parents’ acknowledgement.
In addition, i also started a Di Zi Gui <弟子规> talk/workshop for parents. I strongly believe that as adults, parents have the obligation to and are responsible for their children’s upbringing. When a child possesses good behaviour, it represents that he is a respectable person raised by respectable parents. Children learn and observe their good behaviour by what they have learned from others.
So parents, grab one copy of Di Zi Gui 弟子规 and start learning with your child today！