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《Lessons for Elementary Schools (2) 》__ Kong Shiu Loon (53)

Lessons for Elementary Schools (2)
 
Caring the Way Through Life

One favorite topic in Confucius’s teaching was how to be a good and perfect person. His students were all enthusiastic in learning about it.

One day, student Gong asked in class: “Tell me, Sir, would I be a perfect person if, when poor, I do not flatter anyone for awards and, when wealthy, I do not use my riches to downgrade others?”

“That is quite good,” Confucius praised. “But,” he continued, “it would be better if you feel happy and contented when you are poor, and when you are wealthy, you are humble and polite towards everyone.

Gong is fond of asking questions, especially in pursuing simple answers. So, he asked again: “Sir, is there a word that can guide my way through life, so I can be respectful and happy?

Confucius was quick to respond. He said: “Ah, that word is shu (恕); one aspect of its meaning is caring.”

Many students raised their hands. They asked in a chorus: “Please explain, Sir?”

Confucius smiled, happy that his students were curious and inquisitive. He replied: “I thought I once taught you the best way to treat yourself and others. That was the saying ‘Do not treat others in ways that you would not wish them to treat you. It would be even better if you could remember to share your achievements with others and cooperate with them in reaching cherished goals.”

Gong volunteered to explain: “Let me try to give an example, please?” He continued, seeing his teacher nodded to approve: “Last Sunday, I felt good when I succeeded in catching a fish in a shallow stream, and I taught my friend Yong to do the same. The trick was to wander in the stream and, when you see a fish, kick it up on shore.”

The class applauded with laughter.

Yong stood up and said: “Of course. I was not able to catch any fish. But Gong and I ate the fish he caught. It was so delicious that my mouth now waters as I talk about that nice experience. That must be the meaning of caring, right?”

Gong always enjoys saying the last word. He said: “Of course right. It would not be much fun if I was to eat the fish alone.”

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