How Did Ancient Chinese Raise Children to Be Noble?

Song Dynasty painting — filial piety.

In ancient China, parents would raise their children in such a righteous way that even if their parents weren't present. (Image: via Public Domain)

In ancient China, parents would raise their children in such a righteous way that even if their parents weren’t present, they would still follow what the parent would say and remain noble. Take, for example, the story of Fei Hong.

Once Fei Hong was playing chess with his friend, of course, both wanted to win. They ended up arguing, resulting in Fei Hong slapping his friend on the face, making his friend very angry. Fei Hong’s father was far away from home at that time, but he sent Fei Hong a letter after he learned of the incident.

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With his letter, he also sent a bamboo paddle and ordered Fei Hong to take the bamboo paddle to his friend to apologize and be punished for his behavior. Fei Hong followed his father’s orders and went to his friend’s house. At first, his friend did not want to see him. Thus, Fei Hong picked up the bamboo paddle and hit himself.

Fei Hong was raised to have a noble character.
Once Fei Hong was playing chess with his friend, of course, both wanted to win. (Image: Szefei via Dreamstime)

After hitting himself a few times, his friend came out and saw what Fei Hong was doing. Without any explanation, his friend started to cry loudly and hugged Fei Hong. Fei Hong was puzzled. He asked his friend: “This is entirely my fault, but why are you crying so much?”

Fei Hong’s friend also wanted to be noble

His friend said: “I want to be just like you. You have a strict father with you, but my father has already passed away, and I want to have someone who will watch over me and educate me; how can that be possible? That is why I am so sad.”

Since then, the two reconciled and were like brothers.

Fei Hong was from the Ming Dynasty and was the champion of the imperial examination. He held many important positions, such as the secretary of education and prime minister. He was framed and forced to retire from the imperial court. After his name was restored, he went back to serve. He was in and out of the imperial court three times in his entire life and yet maintained his noble character.

Two Asian boys with four books.
Since then, the two reconciled and were like brothers. (Image: Tracy Whiteside via Dreamstime)

Fei Hong had a successful career, which had a lot to do with his rigorous upbringing and noble character.

That is how young people grew up with a noble character in ancient times. I wonder what psychologists of today would say about this?

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