1.When Mother and Father are calling,
answer them right away. When our parents are far away or in another room, they may call
out to us when they need us. If we do not respond right away,
they may think that we are not around or that we did not hear
them, and they will keep calling until they become hoarse or
lose their temper, neither of which would be good for their
health. A truly Filial child would not want his parents to ruin
their health like that. He would not pretend to be deaf or mute
when his parents called him, and he would not dare to disobey
them even if he is annoyed at being called.
2.When they give you directions, obey them without hesitation. When our parents tell us to do something, whether sternly or
gently. we should obey them right away and not look for excuses
to procrastinate. We shouldn't act obedient in front of our
parents but then disobey them behind their backs; nor should we
do things in a reluctant manner and keep complaining in front of
our parents or behind their backs.
3.When your parents need to instruct you, respectfully do as
you're told. Our parents are much more experienced than we are, and so when
they instruct us on how to communicate with other people and how
to handle various situations, we should listen respectfully to
their words, make sure we understand them, and remember them by
heart. We shouldn't think our parents are too old-fashioned and
simply let their words go in one ear and out the other. It is
said, "All people are my teachers, and I am everyone's teacher."
Whether other people are good or bad, we can always learn
something from them; how much the more can we learn from our
parents! We should listen to our parents if they are right, of
course; and if they are unreasonable, we should still be
respectful to them, but not follow their example.
4.Whenever your parents must scold you, acknowledge your errors
If we do something wrong or we let down our parents' wishes,
they may scold us severely or gently remonstrate with us. No
matter how they react, we should compliantly accept their
admonition, and not argue with them or make them angry or upset.
Why are these four sentences placed at the beginning of the
discussion on filial piety? They deal with the most common
situations that occur in our homes. We can easily tell from
observing the daily interactions between parents and children
whether the parents are loving and the children are filial. If
the children claim to be filial and yet fail to practice these
four basic rules in daily life, who will believe them?
Unfortunately, we tend to neglect these small matters of daily
life and think that they are no big deal. We don't realize that
if we gradually accumulate these bad habits, we may end up
breaking our parents' hearts. What's the use of claiming to be
filial if we don't actually practice?
In ancient China, there was a man named
Ding Lan who was a rough fellow. Although he and his mother had
only each other to rely upon, he often scolded and beat his
mother without any sense of shame for his unfilial conduct. One
day when he was working in the fields, he suddenly noticed a
fawn kneeling down to drink its mother's milk. He also saw some
young crows busily looking for food to feed their aging mother.
Reflecting on the way he treated his own mother, he realized
that he was not even as good as an animal. He made up his mind
to be filial to his mother from then on.
But it just so happened
that on that particular day, his mother was late in sending
lunch to him, and she was afraid she would be scolded and beaten
again. As she hurriedly walked toward her son, she saw Ding Lan
running toward her. Terrified, she dropped the lunch box and
turned and fled. When Ding Lan saw his mother running away, he
shouted out and ran even faster, trying to tell her his
intention. His mother cried as she ran, thinking, "If he catches
me this time, he'll beat me to death for sure! What misery! It's
meaningless to live in this world!" And so when she reached the
riverbank, she threw herself in and committed suicide. When Ding
Lan reached that place, he saw only a piece of wood floating on
the river. Knowing that he would never see his mother again, he
picked up the wood and took it home, where he treated it as his
mother. He carved his mother's name on it, set it on the altar,
and made offerings to it. And thus the Chinese custom of setting
up memorial plaques to their ancestors began.
Although Ding Lan
deeply regretted his rebellious behavior, it was too late. So
there is a saying, "The tree wants to be still, but the wind
keeps on blowing: a child wishes to repay his parents' kindness,
but they are gone." If we want to practice filial piety, we
should start early by developing a respectful attitude toward
our parents when we interact with them in daily life. That is
the first step to being filial.