This I Believe

Lucy - Manlius, New York
Entered on December 9, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family

I believe in living today without making mistakes of the past. Our elders are here, having gone through it all. They are here to teach us, guide us. I believe in filial piety.

Filial piety is very important to me and the people of my country. It means reverence and obedience to one’s elders or country because it is what is expected of the son, daughter, and the next generation. In China, children are brought up with old Confucian ideas and the concept of respecting our elders no matter where we are. I believe in this Confucian idea not only because I was taught this, but because it makes sense to me. Our elders are the ones responsible for our existence, so why waste the time by disrespecting them when we are here because of them?

I completely trust my parents and the various decisions that they make for me. Whether they are small decisions or big ones, I have confidence that it will be right because my parents have gone through it all. They know what I’m experiencing now, maybe in a different country, but the issues will never change. They give me tips on how to solve problems how to manage my time, or tips for school. I trust their advice because as their daughter, they know what’s best for me. They won’t let me repeat the same mistakes they had because they’ll be there to guide me through the mess of life. I don’t mean that we should all depend on our parents and grandparents for survival. I’m saying that they’re all there, possibly waiting with the answers or if we should need a hint.

An old Confucian idea is to stay with your parents forever. Not exacting meaning that you live with them your whole life, but that you visit often and stay connected not just during the holidays. My parents call my grandparents every week, sometimes twice, even though my grandparents live in China. Taking care of your parents for a lifetime is common among Chinese, even through these modern times. Though beliefs are changing, and so are times, respecting elders is common morality. It’s unmoral to be disrespectful to the older generation. They’ve seen, experienced, gone through so much more than us. They lived through all that; they don’t deserve to be disrespected.

To others, seeing their grandparents once or twice a year is common and normal. They aren’t even thought about until the holidays. For me, I think about my grandparents often, because they’ve impacted my life so much. Living with my grandparents for five years without my parents has made me have a different childhood than other people, but it was worth it. They’ve taught me to value my life. Not to waste my time, but to instead live without regrets. Grab each chance as it comes because you never know when the next opportunity will come. They made me realize how elders today are mostly regarded as fragile living beings, causes of burden for the younger generation. But I see them as mentors; there to educate us about our lives and our future.