Ancient Wisdom for Parenting Children – Part 3

Standards for Being a Good Student and Child

(A Guide to a Happy Life)

Chapter 3

Being Mindful in Daily Life”

In the first chapter titled “Respecting and Loving our Parents at Home,” we were taught the proper conduct on how to talk to and behave in front of parents, and what our correct attitudes and manners should be.

The second chapter titled “Interacting with Others Away from Home” taught us the principle and standard of conduct for younger children towards older adults. It also taught us how to show respect to the elders and what our correct attitudes and manners should be.

This is the third chapter from Di Zi Gui and is titled “Being Mindful in Daily Life”. It teaches us how we should be cautious in whatever we do daily, whether we are interacting with people, matters or things.

First Standard

Get up early and go to bed at a reasonable time.
Knowing how time flies, we should treasure every day.
When we get up, we should wash our face and brush our teeth.
After using the toilet, we should always wash our hands.
Our hat should be properly put on, clothing correctly buttoned, and socks and shoes neatly worn.
We should put our clothes away in their proper places. We should not leave them lying around for they will get dirty that way.

We all need to make sure that we take care of ourselves and keep our rooms neat and clean.

Second Standard

It is more important that our clothes be neat and clean than fashionable and expensive.
We should wear what is suitable and appropriate for our age, and within our family’s means.
When eating and drinking, do not be fussy.
Eat only the right amount; do not overeat.
When we are young, we should not drink alcohol.
The behavior of those who are drunk is unsightly.

Many children must always have the latest and most expensive designer clothes so they will fit in with their friends. But having the latest styles of everything is really not necessary, or even practical. Most families cannot afford to spend the money necessary to keep up with the latest fashions. The desire to always have the latest style of clothing can put an unnecessary burden on your parents.

It would be better, and more practical, to only buy what your family can afford. This way, we know that the friends we have will like us for who we are and not because of what we wear.

Proper behavior is also required when eating. We should be polite when given something to eat or drink. We should appreciate it and not complain we want something else. We should also try not to eat too much. I understand that if it’s something you like, it may be difficult to do. But overeating is not only unhealthy in that it can make you sick, but it can also make you fat!

Many children at school are exposed to drugs and alcohol at an early age. But drugs and alcohol can make children (and adults) do dumb things that they would otherwise never do. So if you are offered any, leave and go tell an adult what happened.

Drugs and alcohol do not go with children.

Third Standard

Walk in an unhurried manner and always stand up straight.
Whether greeting friends or elders, do so properly and with respect.
Do not step on doorsills or stand leaning on one leg.
When sitting, do not sprawl or fidget.

Greetings are important and therefore need to be done properly. When we greet others of our on age, we should do so with respect.

When we greet someone who is older, like our aunts and uncles, our parent’s friends or our teachers, we should do so courteously. We know that we feel badly if someone greets us in a way we do not like.

Likewise, when walking, standing or sitting, do so correctly. It is simple good manners. It also shows that our parents taught us well. The good habits we develop when we’re young will remain with us for the rest of our lives. Our friends may not care if we sprawl all over the floor and furniture, but as we grow older, those things will begin to matter to them.

Also, sprawling about can be a sign to others that we do not respect ourselves. It says the same thing when we do not take care in how we appear and behave. Seeing this, others will not be inclined to treat us with respect either.

In other words, when we walk, stand or sit correctly, we are telling others that we value ourselves and are worthy of their respect.

Fourth Standard

When entering a room, we should open the door carefully.
When walking, we should be aware of our surroundings so as to not bump into anything.
Hold empty containers just as carefully as if they were full.
Enter empty rooms as if they were occupied.

We do not want to disturb people when we walk into a room, so we should enter quietly. Depending upon how busy they are, we can decide whether it would be best to remain quiet of to go ahead and speak to them. If we need to do something in the same room, we can politely nod or smile, acknowledging their presence. Then we can do what we came in for.

If we know the room is empty, it is still better to enter as though someone is there. We should never enter a room and run around and make a lot of noise. Even if no one is in the room, someone may be in the next room, so we need to be considerate to them.

We also need to be aware of our surroundings. By not paying attention you may bump into something or even break it. By leaving enough room for ourselves, we won’t hurt ourselves or embarrass ourselves in front of others.

Whenever we are carrying something, it’s always best to use both hands. This includes not just full containers, but empty ones as well as they may break if we drop them. So holding things carefully is a good habit to develop.

Fifth Standard

Avoid doing things in a hurry, since acting in haste will lead to many mistakes.

Do you think this one is obvious?

Sixth Standard

Do not be afraid of a task that is difficult or become careless when a job is easy.

Sometimes we want to do something, but we’re afraid to try because the job seems so hard. Other times, the task seems so easy that we don’t do it as carefully as we should.

Seventh Standard

Keep away from rowdy places.
Do not be curious about things that are bad or unusual.
When we are about to enter a house, we should ask if anyone is inside.
As we enter, we should make ourselves heard.
If someone asks who it is, we should say our name, not “me” because such a reply is not clear.

It can seem exciting to go to the kind of places that our parents and older siblings have visited when we are too young to visit them. And it is especially tempting when other kids say they are going and want us to go along with them. But until we grow up, it is best not to think about such places.

If we know something is bad, we should stay away. Becoming curious about something which you know is bad will only create problems. So when you’re young, it’s best to satisfy your curiosity with parents or other adults who are more knowledgeable.

By avoiding bad places and bad situations, you are respecting what your parents taught you.

Before visiting someone, we should first check to see if we can come over at a certain time. When we arrive at our destination, we should always call out “Is anyone home?” or by knocking on the door to let them know that we are there.

We should also be prepared to identify ourselves instead of assuming they will recognize our voice. So after calling out their name, we should give our own name. When that is done, it is polite to wait until we are invited in. It is also considered polite to ask them if we are interrupting anything.

Being polite will ensure we will always be welcome.

Eigth Standard

Before using something that belongs to another, we should ask for permission.
If we do not ask, it is stealing.
After we borrow from others, we should return the items  on time. Later, if we have an urgent need, we will be able to easily borrow from them again.

When we see something just lying around, we shouldn’t take it. We should never assume that it doesn’t belong to someone.