[外文]The Yardstick of Father’s Love
In 1924, the then President Calvin Coolidge proposed to make Father’s Day a national event in order to “establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.” After this bill was officially signed by President Nixon in 1972, this festival was gradually spreading to other parts of the world. Nowadays, it has been accepted by the Chinese citizens, who have always valued the relationship between parents and children, and emphasized father’s responsibility of upbringing and instructing kids.
The typical Chinese nuclear family that breeds a single child is similar to an unlimited responsibility company in that the parents are infinitely responsible for the future and fate of their kids. “It’s the father’s fault if the son is not well instructed”, this saying indicates that fathers are implicated in children’s uprightness and foolishness, success and failure, merits and demerits. Not only liable for children’s finances and morality, fathers are also open to the thorough investigation of the family and society for his leadership. Unpredictable is the profit of a successful education, but once the education fails, the cost is absolutely in vain. Therefore, it’s necessary for fathers---the model and yardstick of their children---to keep a sense of proportion, although it is very hard for him.
In China, the father’s elegant name is “Jiayan”, indicating that he is the strict parent. In this way, the traditional Chinese culture, custom and the Confucian ethical code have given “father” a precise, thorough and reasonable definition. “Father’s principle should be dignity, mother’s intimacy.” Fathers have to maintain their due dignity and self-respect, then they may gain the respect from family members, and last, they could maintain and practice the honor of shouldering the major responsibility of domestic education. “If a king is not upright, his subjects would leave him to serve other countries; if a father is not upright, his son would leave him to live elsewhere.” In other words, the father’s failure insetting a good example to his children will nullify his efforts in uniting and instructing them; even will tear their relationship through dissension and discord. In a family, the “strict father” and the “affectionate mother” are the fixed rules for parents respectively, which means, the proper style of a father should be strict, stern and serious. Yet there are fathers who confuse “being strict” with spank and scolding. According to the inspiration I gained from Zen, a Japanese form of Buddhism, the “Buddhist Bang and Bawl” is a means of stimulating, remanding, instructing and enlightening, its ultimate goal to be intelligence-enhance, but not coercing children to submit, or even to affect the pose of a patriarchy. That means, to be a competent father, it’s the knowledge that matters, but not the temper; he should not be a cut above the children but be more brilliant as to enlighten and guide them in their spiritual life. Scarcely any parents are not long to see their sons and daughters become successful and outstanding like the dragon and phoenix in Chinese mythology, for which they are prepared to pay any price. Indeed, many children influenced by their families carry on the parents’ undertakings; they live to the parents’ expectation, and eventually bring honor to their ancestors and prosperity to their descendants. However there are also quite a number of children who fail to realize parents’ intention, or even turn into their opposite. As the Chinese saying goes, “a brave father’s son is heroic; an onion monger father’s son venders garlic”, “offspring in a soldiers’ family learn to use sward and spear at an early age.” still there are other proverbs that go like this “parents can’t guarantee a wise and able child” Fundamentally, family education should assemble the Confucian teaching method of instructing students according to their aptitude; children should be free to choose their own developing path according to their interests and merits. Everybody’s gotten their own inspirits, so people should not impose their will on the others, as well as on the offspring. The western education theory believes in care, encourage and consanguineous affection, while in Chinese tradition, we believe the family education should combine the internal love with external “strictness”. That means to discipline children is only an external interaction of the father and the children, its core the love, its aim bless. As the saying goes, “if the father does not love his children, they won’t have filial sentiments towards him.” If the father be irresponsible, the kids won’t become outstanding; if he be unaffectionate, they not are filial to him. However, “the affection of parents is like a tiger: whoever gains it will suffer.” The unprincipled praise, undue indulgent may nourish children either mediocre or unfilial, the former ignorant, incompetent, idle, insensitive, slow and empty headed, the latter supercilious, presumptuous, lawless and ungovernable. It’s hard for fathers to attain a sense of propriety between strictness and affection: excessive strictness depress children’s individual personality, and excessive affection encourage evil habits.
“Admirable are all parents’ caring hearts.” Fathers not only need to learn “how to be qualified” as a branch of knowledge, but also have to stand a comprehensive test that is challenging and ever-lasting.