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Monday, February 8, 2016

The Top 10 Ways to Respect Your Parents - Filial Piety

If you ever watch TVB (Hong Kong TV series), you will notice that children rarely move out of the house no matter how successful they are. A regular household usually always consists of the parents, the children and the grandparents. Most Chinese people take care of their parents as they reach retirement age. Although this may seem strange for Americans, it is the status quo in Asia. Filial piety is the main reason why you rarely see elderly Chinese people in nursing or retirement homes.

If you've ever studied Chinese history and culture, you probably came across the term filial piety (孝, xiao). Filial piety is a Confucianism concept which centers a relationship with parents around love and respect. The concept of filial piety is common to all of the diverse religious beliefs in China and can be demonstrated by (taken from Wikipedia):
  • Taking care of one's parents
  • Not being rebellious
  • Show love, respect and support
  • Display courtesy
  • Ensure male heirs
  • Uphold fraternity among brothers
  • Wisely advise one's parents
  • Conceal your parents' mistakes
  • Display sorrow for their sickness and death
  • Carry our sacrifices after their death ("Bai Saan" in Cantonese)
Filial piety is practiced by Chinese immigrants all over the world. Confucius emphasized the "circle of life". When the children are young, the parents are the strong and they take care of the children and must given respect. When the children become adults, they take on the strong role and take care of their elders. Some Confucian schools feel that children do not have to always obey their parents. If the parents make a mistake, as adult "children" it is necessary to help teach the parents. In America, there is much conflict among first generation families because teenage rebellion, usually viewed as a natural phase of growing up, is completely opposite the ideals of filial piety. This leads to much confusion, misunderstanding and frustration between the parents and the children.
You can find some Chinese fairy tales concerning filial piety here

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