Thursday, February 05, 2009

Value Parenting

When I was back in Penang for CNY, I was having a conversation with a parent about his son’s friend who has become a doctor while his two cousins are in medical and law school respectively. Interestingly, in the middle of the conversation, the parent remarked that she is suspicious of doctors nowadays.

I asked her why.

She said that most of today’s doctors deliberately prescribe deficient medicine to patients so that the patients will return for more consultation, and thus able to squeeze more money out of them.

Her remark caught me. My eyebrow rose. My brain spun a bit over it. And then I proposed,

That is the effect of the inculcation of certain family values among the community. Let me ask you, how many contemporary parents want their children to grow up as doctors and lawyers because we aspire our children to help the sick and fight for justice?

None. We want our children to be doctors and lawyers so that they can be rich and wealthy. And if that’s the case, then this is the sort of society we’ll get. And we shouldn’t be surprised to have bred a generation of greedy and unethical doctors and lawyers. We asked for it.

This is so true especially among Chinese families. Parents expect and desire their children to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, businessmen, actors and etc for reasons like wealth, fame, and pride. If this is parenting of our time, then what kind of society are we building?

A related question: How many Christian parents want their children to be in full-time ministry, say being a pastor or missionary or theologian?

A respectable and active church elder of an established church once told me that he doesn’t want his children to be in the ministry because their lives will be unstable and financially insecure.

I think my mom, a devout Buddhist, is more exemplary than this church elder. She told me that she is happy if all her children become monks. In fact, me and my siblings were encouraged to go for short-term monkhood during our school holidays. And we did. That includes my teenage sister, who has her head shaved and arm symbolically burned with incense.

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