June 3, 2009
The Heart of a Boy
When bringing up a son a thinking Chinese mother would consider seriously so many facets of his upgringing. Foremost she would want her son to be filial in the Chinese sense(probably a little selfish and a little future oriented) so that when she is old she would have someone looking after her. Most of the time if possible she would make sure that the son would remember his responsibilities and become if not just a filial son but even a pillar of the society. These two would be the most important social obligations of a Chinese woman.
However apart from these two obligations a Chinese mother would necessarily in modern times help him learn to treat the females of his society with respect and consideration. He must respect his female elders and extend the best of his manners towards his cousins and his female friends. A responsible modern mother must never bring up her son to be a troublemaker and a bully. Our society really needs mothers who can guide their sons well. After all the family is still the basic unit of the modern albeit turbulent and even confused society.
Personally I would think that a boy child must be brought up to be communicative (how to express his love for his parents for example);to show his love and express his feelings (e.g. bringing small gifts or tokens to his grandmother);to extend his touch towards his mother by hugging her or at least hold both her hands;to show his gratitude and love via writing (the gift of language); to love working for a living (Jesus was a carpenter);to be able to extend kindness and gentleness towards the opposite sex ;to love to learn/study (like my mother before me I realise how important it is for my children to love studying and be good scholars);etc.
A mother can teach so much to a son while he is growing up. Hence if we look at some of the best mothers in the world we would understand why their sons were great men. Mencius' mother remains in the history of the Chinese one of the best mothers of the Chinese Civilisation. She was adamant how her son should learn.
Of course I am not saying that I have been a great mother but when I experience my son's love for me and his expressions of love I have that wonderful feelings of wellness as a mother. I hope I have gone down the right lane teaching my son. And I would want to say to myself "My son there is yet so much more I can teach you..."
For mother's day he bought me cakes of soap from Fremantle and a pair of cool Austalian bedroom slippers to warm my aging and tired feet. To know that he was giving up his hard earned money to buy such gifts I am really touched.
I still adhere to the adage that one of the best ways a child can repay his parents is to study hard and do well in school/at university.
Thank you son for your thoughtfulness always.