Some ways in which we can make our
parents warm in the winter are: giving them thick blankets to cover
themselves with, making hot tea for them to drink, and turning on the
heater. We should do our best to keep our parents warm in the cold
winter, so that they won’t freeze or catch cold. That way, not only
their bodies, but their hearts will also be warm!
We should pay special attention to
the word “cool” jing in Chinese. It has a radical with two
drops of water, which means the water is frozen into ice. The ancient
form of this radical was
, resembling cracks on the surface of an ice cube, so it means chilly
or icy. So the word jing means to make people feel as cool
and refreshed as if they were eating ice. If we write three drops of
water as its radical, it becomes the character qing 清, which
means “clean,” to make things clean with water. In the summer we should
make people feel as cool as if they were eating ice, but in the winter
it would be too cold to eat ice. During the summer, we sweat under the
blazing sun outside, and we feel hot and stuffy inside the house.
Our aging parents may not be able to bear such heat. We can make our
parents feel cool and comfortable by turning on the fan or the air
conditioner, or opening the windows to let the air circulate, or
serving them ice water or cold watermelon.
With modern space age technology,
it’s quite easy to keep our parents warm in the winter and cool in the
summer. However, it wasn’t so easy in the old days. And precisely
because it wasn’t easy, the virtue of filial piety could be revealed
through doing it.
Here is an example from the
Twenty-four Filial Sons of Chinese history. In the Han dynasty, there
was a boy named Huang Xiang whose mother died when he was only nine
years old. Yet he proved that he knew how to be filial and take care of
his father at such a young age. On sweltering summer nights when their
house was as hot as an oven, Huang Xiang would fan the bed before
asking his father to sleep. On cold winter nights, the boy would warm
the freezing blankets with his own body before asking his father to go
to bed. To do such things even occasionally would not have been easy,
yet at his young age Huang Xiang did them night after night so that his
father could sleep comfortably. What an admirable child!
When we get up in the morning, we
should go to see if our parents slept well, if there is something they
need, or if they have any instructions for us.
How can we make sure our parents
get a good night’s rest? In the evening, we can bid them “good night”
and pull down the bed covers for them so that they can sleep
comfortably and well.
When we go out, we should let our
parents know where we are going and when we will be back. We should
never slip away without informing them. We can leave the phone number
of the place we are going if there is one, and call our parents if we
cannot come home on time. Once we get home, we should report to our
parents immediately, and not just slip back to our own room without
giving notice, for our parents might stay up and wait for us, worrying
about our safety.
Nowadays, many people like to move
from place to place and change jobs just for the sake of finding
something new. However, we should know that frequent moving and
changing of jobs tends to make our moods unstable and our lives
insecure. It also causes our parents to worry about us. If our parents
live with us and have to move as well, they may become afflicted,
because the elderly don’t like to experience changes. Therefore, we
should try to avoid moving and changing jobs too frequently. If we are
forced by the circumstances to do so, we should inform our parents
immediately so that they will not worry and will know where to find us
in an emergency.
Once there was a Mrs. Brown who
lived in an apartment in Los Angeles. Although her son was not a bad
person, he had never had a stable residence or job. He moved several
times each year. Sometimes he remembered to call his mother to inform
her of his new address and phone number, but usually she only had two
or three of his old addresses in her address book. Mrs. Brown always
sighed sorrowfully whenever she spoke of her son. She always worried
about whether he could support himself and wondered where he was
living. One day Mrs. Brown died of a brain stroke. After several days
of not seeing her, her neighbors suspected that something was wrong and
broke into her house, where they found her body, already beginning to
stink. After several days of searching, they finally reached her son,
who had just lost his job and moved twice. What a sad plight!
Questions to think about:
(1).Living in the modern technological age, what
can we do to make sure our parents are warm in the winter and cool in
(2).How can we adapt the rule of “greeting our
parents in the morning and making sure they rest securely in the
evening” to fit our busy lives?
(3).If we are unable to let our parents know when
we go out or report to them when we get back, are there any ways to
reduce or eliminate our parents’worries?
(4).If we are forced by circumstances to move or
get a different job, how can we make the change as smooth as possible
for our parents?