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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Opinion -> 
Make youth responsible by toughening them
    2016-09-26  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    Wu Guangqiang

    jw368@163.com

    I HAVE just returned from a 16-day tour of America. I enjoyed majestic views of the Grand Canyon and the wild beauty of Yellow Stone National Park. I was impressed by the endless pastures alongside the highways running through Idaho and Utah, which were dotted with numerous ranches with grazing cattle and horses on them. No wonder, I thought to myself, beef and milk are supplied in abundance and at affordable prices in the U.S.

    But I also frowned at the uneconomical and environmentally harmful way of American transportation: heavy-dependence on private vehicles vs. virtual absence of public transport means. Traveling between American destinations is an exhausting experience for American citizens and foreign visitors alike, as they have to travel hundreds and even thousands of miles by car with train services few and far between.

    Yet, what I want to share the most with others, especially Chinese parents, is the American ideas of rearing and educating children and youth.

    While traveling around Utah and Idaho, I got acquainted with Caleb, the driver of our tour bus. The moment he greeted us on his bus, his young face immediately caught my attention. I surmised that he must be a student, though he behaved steady, mature and worked attentively and professionally.

    I started a conversation with him after a meal at a restaurant and learned something about his life. A resident of Idaho, Caleb is 22 and a sophomore at a local university majoring in civil engineering. He got married last year and lives with his 21-year-old wife, also a college student, in a rented apartment which costs US$800 per month.

    A stunning contrast to his counterparts in China, Caleb earns his bread, pays for his tuition and supports his wife, who is temporarily without work.

    Knowing that most young people about his age in China are still dependent on their parents for almost everything, I, out of curiosity, asked him a slew of questions such as at what age he started to live by himself, how he makes a living, whether his parents give him financial aid like housing or money when he got married.

    He answered all my questions. He began to live by himself at 18. As a Mormon, he has been taught from an early age to be independent, to value family and to live a moderate life. He works two days a week during school months and five to seven days a week during vacations to earn money not only enough to pay all his bills, but to donate a tenth of his income to charity. He worked in Africa as a missionary for two years when he was still in high school. His parents gave him nothing but blessings when he got married, which is unimaginable in today’s China.

    All my relatives and friends were shocked at Caleb’s story. Compared to him, all agreed, most Chinese children and youth are pampered, incapable and selfish. Young Caleb knows what responsibility means while Chinese youth lack a sense of responsibility.

    

    Yet, in the old days when China was still in dire poverty, nearly every youth was Caleb; they had no choice but to depend on themselves from a young age.

    The living standards of today were achieved thanks to the policies of opening up and reform and it was these changes that led Chinese parents to offer everything to their children. They mistake dotage and indulgence for affection for their children.

    Chinese parents are depriving their children of their survival consciousness and skills by taking care of everything on their children’s behalf. Chinese “little emperors” seldom do any housework or run errands. They take it for granted to be cared for while caring for nobody else. They also take if for granted that their parents buy them housing and give them a sum of money when they get married.

    Excessive care and overprotection will never enable children to learn self-reliance, personal responsibility and self-discipline. A bonsai grown in a greenhouse cannot survive the harshness of wild nature.

    It will toughen up children to let them take responsibility, learn from mistakes and experience hardships, setbacks and failures.

    (The author is an English tutor and freelance writer.)

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