Jaden Backman

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Taking care of your parents, or bringing up your children, how do you reconcile these two responsibilities?

Your parents were loving and nurturing,brought you up from an infant. Taking good care of your parents shows your love and gratitude.While your children are the future of your family,who are going to fulfill your dream.An excellent upbringing is the key to the quality of your children's lives. These two issues are both our responsibilities throughout our lives.

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    Jun 1 2013: Majority of the western world some how think its not their responsibility to take care of their parents (I know its broad generalization), when parents can't take care of themselves. They think State should take care of them. This trend is growing in eastern world as well. I have seen my friends in America and UK freaking out when their parents come and visit them for few days. I have tried to argue but they don't seem to understand the simple logic that they have been taken care of by them and now it their turn.I feel it your responsibility towards your parents is as much as your responsibility towards your kids. They are like your both eyes. What sort of humanity is that we let our parents suffer for years , probably 10-15 years, when they need our love and care most.
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      Jun 1 2013: Kiran,you made a great point.Yes,I had some kind talks with westerners about their attitude to taking care of parents,they told me children first,that's one of the purposes I started this conversation. The truth is westerners are choosing both according to the comments.State?Do you think is it because the developed coutries have more favorable healthcare system,which helps sparing children?
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        Jun 1 2013: Yes, Govt does take care of elderly in developed countries. But you see its different. It would be like kids growing up in orphanage, would you leave your kids in a child care center for good and visit them once in a week or month? If not, why would you do that to your parents?
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          Jun 1 2013: Exactly,you brought out a perspective very persuasive.You might ask these questions to someone who disregards the responsibility of taking care of prents.I appreciate your way of thinking.
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        Jun 9 2013: Kiran and Jaden,
        You both make some good points regarding western culture, and the care of the elderly. However, I really feel that it is changing, as I mentioned in my comment........let's hope for change:>)
    • Jun 1 2013: I will add this: Sometimes, the way that children are raised in western world is to be independent by age 18. Parents do not want them to be "at home" anymore.
      They are told by their parents---"Time to leave the nest".

      Also, I had a very good friend in college. Her mom died, and father remarried.
      He and his new wife sold the old house, told my friend "so sorry, you must now live on your own", and they started a new life and put two children (18 + years old) on the street.

      My friend left the state after college. I know she does not talk to her dad.
      Her feeling of abandonment was too great!!

      Many times the parents do not nurture a spirit of love and 'family piety' in their own children.
      Then, they shoot themselves in the foot.

      Here in my town, alot of elderly die alone and lonely and in a dirty house, because the chidren are nowhere to be found.

      You must raise your children with love and nurture a spirit of interdependence in the family.
      This is the healthiest way. But not all families do this.
  • May 29 2013: I dont think they have to be mutually exclusive.Moreover it's not our sole responsibility to take care of our offsprings,our parents can and as a matter of a fact they would love to help raise our children in a better way.Its them whose wisdom we soak and apply at every parts of our lives.We might find ourselves in a place where we might feel the need to prioritize but it will be again our parents whom we would turn into for help,suggestions.Hence concluding by saying long live 'our parents'.
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      May 29 2013: Thank you for your comment.You made a good point,grandparents' roles in raising our children become increasingly important. I don't think we have to chose one either. As long as we love them,long live 'our parents'.
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    Jun 9 2013: This is a good topic Jaden:>)

    Older cultures seemed to have reconciled these responsibilities very well, by accepting and appreciating all members of the family, and how each and every member of the family can be usefull in supporting the whole. Extended families used to live together in one home, all members of the family could interact and contribute to the family and its wellbeing.

    This still happens in some cultures, and unfortunately, this practice was often abandoned in western culture, in favor of someone outside the family taking care of the young and the older members. I think that because of the economy, and perhaps a renewed awareness of the importance of family, we are seeing more extended families again embracing the practice of living together.

    We are also seeing more in home health care and hospice care, whereby an elderly family member can stay at home rather then going to a hospital or nursing home.

    I think it is important for all members of a family to witness the different stages of the life cycle, so living together, and interacting with one another provides this opportunity. Some folks in western culture seem to have an obbsession with youth and staying young, and perhaps (hopefully) we are moving out of that stage and into reality, which means we may be accepting and appreciating the aging process, and the gifts the elderly can offer:>)
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      Jun 9 2013: Wonderful,nice see you again Miss Steen,

      You add some new thoughts in your perspective.In some cases,all cultures seem face the same transition. China seems following the steps after western process,in terms of 'extended families',families are just started to live separately here.Most people won't hesitate to accept the elderly as I see,but when a family lack money,house,or other material possession,the elderly are always the mostly to be abandoned.

      I think family is important also,blood is thicker than water.Under many circumstances,when we lose everyone around us,our families are the last ones we can trust.

      Yes,the gifts elderly offer are priceless,they also help educate children.

      Beside,everybody ages,at least physically,I think nobody wants be alone when he/she gets old.And then families are the best company.
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        Jun 9 2013: Always nice to see you too Jaden, and thanks for the discussion:>)

        It is too bad that elderly people anywhere, are abandoned, and it would be good if we, as a global society, could recognize the value of older people in our communities.
  • May 29 2013: Your question is a very complex one.

    My gut instinct was to say "both".

    The more I have thought about it, the more I realize that balance is very important. Also, each family is different. Also, each members of the family are different.

    In a loving home, where there are alot of brothers and sisters, and they all grow up with "teamwork" as their mode of living, then when the parents age, everyone can do their part to help the aging parents. It won't fall into the lap of just one of the children.

    It is very very difficult to deal with two generations!!! I speak from experience. Having a support system is important.

    If the elderly have dementias, or other chronic diseases, then this is even more complicated.
    Caretakers suffer alot of stress when taking care of elderly parents.

    Then there is the scenario where there is only one or two siblings in the family. Perhaps one boy and one girl.
    Perhaps the brother thinks that it's the sister's job to take care of the aging parents, or perhaps it's the other way around.

    The best time to decide arrangements for taking care of the elderly parents is when they are in good health to have a serious conversation about the future. And everyone knows what is expected.

    I think that BOTH generations deserve our love and care.
    Having the priviledge to care for the elderly, while your own children look on provides a wonderful life lesson. Because we all get old, and we all need care when in our last days.
    But like everything else in life, we want people to genuinely care for us, and not feel 'obligated'.
    That is why we need to show sincere interest in our family, and always nurture a spirit of cooperation and love.

    I wonder Jaden, if you are living in China.......who takes care of the elderly parents usually?
    Is it becoming a social issue now that there is more economic progress?
    Does the fact that Chinese families have one or two children only create issues with elder care?
    Can you share with us what you know?
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      May 29 2013: Mary,thank you for exploring the topic,since you mentioned the question is complicated,I modified it little bit. Yes I'm glad to share this issue with you.

      Traditionally,we Chinese regard filial piety as the foundation of all kindness,because it reveals a person's overall virtues,it is the NO.1 priority throughout life.But,lately,with the incressingly cruel competition in modern world,parents,even the whole families are children-centered,children's education is a win-or-break game,there is no margin for error.So large number of families are functioning this way:the young couple working for finacial costs,while the grandparents raising and educating children.
      Yes,the weight for Chinese young couple is inevitably heavier. For most of couples who born after 1980s,1 couple has to take care four elderlies from both sides,and a child.There are healthcares,but that tiny portion makes no sense if a parent get serious illness,or severely discrept.
      what happens to the generations older than 1980s. Their parents are now 70,80,90,years old.But,they were born prior to one-child policy,most of them have 6 to 8 siblings,and apparently they contribute the most to China's 1.3billion people.Those siblings share the burden,sometimes family discord appears because to much parties involved,not easy to reconcile each one's quest. The phenomena that I found out is those have high level education are likely to love their parents more, and end up having their aging parents living in heir house. Conversely,some people hardly received education are reluctant to take care of parents,end up throw them in the dumpster,despicably irresponsible.
      • May 30 2013: Jaden, thank you so very much for your reply.

        There is so much that you have said.
        It sounds like Chinese families are dealing with some of the same issues we struggle with here.
        Many of my neighbors take care of their grandchildren while the parents work.

        But here, everyone lives pretty much in their own home or apartment. At least around my city.
        So at the end of the work day, the parents will pick up the children from grandma's, and then go to their own home.

        There are also "Adult Living Facilities" (ALF's). These are full time elder care homes that have a nurse on staff, and also someone to cook and clean for a group of elderly people. Some ALF's are just for women, some for men, some for married couples. Each person gets their own room, and meals are cooked for them. They may also need help with bathing, and other intimate daily activities.

        The number of elderly is rising....so I am sure that more attention will need to be given in the future to the rising number....especially because many have illnesses that need specialized attention.

        Oh, and there are also day care centers for the elderly. This is like a school...you drop off your elderly parents in the morning, and pick them up in the afternoon. This is convenient for those who work, but who want their parents looked after.

        It is terrible that someone would throw away their elderly parents in a dumpster. How could they do such a terrible thing?
        Also, yesterday in the news I read about a Chinese girl who threw her baby away in a pipe.
        Have you read about this?
        It is quite shocking Jaden.

        There is a lack of love in the world.
        Do you think there might be a solution to this lack of love?
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          May 30 2013: Mary, happy to continue our talk.

          I metioned above are things as paradigms of the worst,people who throw their parent in a dumpster are the tiny little number of us,there is always someone who acts extremely irrational in the world. We know that if we treat our parents dadly,it will send bad message to our own children,they might pay us back.

          We have elderly care center as well,but because of the elderlies outnumber what we can provide,only elderlies who are too old or their children have money(elderly care center payment is not a easy for many of us),many elderly care centers are sponsored by philanthropists.

          Yes,I read that news,it fuels outrage throughout the country. The overwhelming majority are condemning the heartless mother.This kind of atrocities happen sporadically,followed by wrath throughout the country.

          With regard to the cause,I agree wuth you that is the lack of love,this is the evil in this world.As a Chinese,I also have to point out the deep cause of the sickness in China,just my point of view.That is a lack of faith, people without faith have no fear,like the girl,she thinks if she just threw her baby secretly,nobody would know,although she might struggle with sense of guilty,she could keep it herself. Also,there is a lack of education,I mean both in the school and home.For instance,fatherlessness,crime,children are innocent,adults should teach and guide them,they learn what they see. What do you think in this matter? Tell me what might be the cause in your viewpoint?
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          May 30 2013: By the way, Mary,if you are curious about coutries like China, it is deficient to just read news in your country's media.After reading English-writen news for along time,I came to realize that media are born to be biased,their reports are alwayslopsided.You read those reports about China are mostly China's flaws or its dark side.Actually there are loving and touching things happening in China,but your media are instinctively skip those.This is a story today ,about a son who took DV ten years for his loved father http://news.qq.com/a/20130530/003499.htm, you might never see this in those prevailing English media.

          Likewise, the Chinese media give filtered stories,seeing can be deceiving. Viewing both sides standpoint helps us know the in-depths,hopefully brewing our own viewpoint.
      • May 30 2013: Hi Jaden, thank you again for a nice reply filled with alot of information to think about and learn from.

        It is sad that the news always reports the negative, and very few times the positive.
        It is the same here.

        We have a saying Jaden, it is "Believe only half of what you see, and none of what you hear".
        The media has a way of twisting information, and giving half truths.
        My life experience has taught me that I should always approach news items cautiously, and investigate before believing.

        There is another young person on TED who is doing research on misinformation and the dangers of it. Have you read that conversation?

        Here is a link, perhaps you have something valuable to share ....

        http://www.ted.com/conversations/18634/how_can_one_help_prevent_other.html

        * * * * * * *

        How interesting that philanthropists are sponsoring elder care facilities. Here, it is a potpourri of individuals.

        Sometimes it is a private organization which builds a huge complex 2-4 stories high.
        Other times it is people (usually women), who have a background on geriatric care, and feel the desire to care for the elderly. Of course, sometimes it is someone who sees a money making opportunity.

        I think the ALF's are the nicest of all because they are small, and you can visit the elderly as if they were in their own home.
        I have oftentimes walked into an ALF just to talk to the elderly people. They are so happy to have visitors. I always walk away very happy also, the elderly have alot of lessons to teach us.

        I also feel that the mistreatment of, not only the elderly, but all of humanity, is a lack of faith, but more importantly it is a lack of love for our fellow human beings.
        Don't you think that in order to have faith and love, one has to have some sort of knowledge of one-self, and also of a higher power?

        This is a very serious topic for consideration, and it requires an honest, and sincere approach.
        Few individuals are willing to dig deep into this kind of topic.
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          May 30 2013: Mary,thank you for sharing this link. I have a fear of information manipulation,those biased reports conducted by giant media,are the incitements of hostility amongst the world.

          I forgot to tell you a fact, that because of the tradition of filial piety, at least in my hometown,we regard sending old parent to an Elderly-Respecting Garden(literally Chinese name for elderly care center),is an insult to your parent,and dishonouring your family,if the Children have money,time and space to take care of parent at home.

          what you mean by 'knowledge of ome-self','higher power'? I'd like to talk further down,it's nice to listen to share deep understandings,
      • May 30 2013: I just watched the video you provided. And I used Google translate to read the article beneath the video.

        How very touching....much filial love there.

        What a great undertaking, to video his father and have a recording of his father's face and voice to watch over and over.

        I was very moved by the fact that he took his parents to see the ocean. Did you notice how he tenderly held his father by the elbow and helped him walk towards the water while his dad held an umbrella?
        Really, really touching.

        I do not have the words to express my gratitude to you for sharing this story Jaden.

        Thank you....谢谢你,它触动了我的心
        Mary
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          May 30 2013: Mary,you are welcome,it's always nice to share something good with people.

          Google translate helped me a lot when I first started reading English aticles as well. Trully it is,no matter how busy we are, we need to spend more time with parents.I am moved too,strong sense remorse,living in a city far from home,at the end of the day, those nostalgic feelings are overwhelming. He is a true role model to me.

          I am happy to share with you those you can not get in English news in the future,if you like.
      • May 31 2013: Jaden, thank you for the information on "Elderly Respecting Garden".
        I can see how it would be a dishonor to the family to send your parents away to a place like this if you had the resources and time and space to do so yourself.

        The French have a name for people who put themselves "first".....it is called..."Maladie de Mois" or "Me Sickness". It is the putting of yourself first.

        And sadly, everyone around you loses, both your parents, and your children.

        What I have found is that being able to converse online with individuals from all over the world has given me a special appreciation for humanity. How we are all very much the same, and at the same time we are very very diferrent.

        So then, is there anything that can bring us to live together peacefully and to love and respect each other?

        This in a way is what I meant by knowledge of one self.....having knowledge of our imperfect human nature, and also that there must be something out there, a "higher power" that is able to help us with our lives. Don't you ever wonder about life's purpose? Or if there is a higher power that is able to give us direction?

        May I ask you, what do you mean when you say faith?

        Thank you for letting me share my thoughts. I have many thoughts about faith, and a higher power, but, sometimes, like I said before, to speak about this serious topic, and deep topic, requires alot of honesty, and so I do not want to impose on you my ideas, but I will freely answer your questions.

        Thank you again Jaden.
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          May 31 2013: Thank you,Mary,I'm grateful you tell me your job.I am a student in university,born in the year when your grandmoter passed away.

          I found TED is a unique place,the topics are in high level,people here are more reasonable,it's simply idea exchanges.While in other social media,people with talk obviously reckless,tend to criticize others' opinions.TED's excellence deserves those remarkable ideas.

          I don't think it's an imposition,glad to express my point of view. I am surprised that people in your country would be unwilling to talk deep topic, I thought only in China talking 'higher power' is sort of weird.

          I mean faith is a religion or related to religion.I didn't know faith before I met my foreign friends,a couple.After talking to them,watching them acting,listening to their understandings,I can honestly tell that changed my concept enormously.Not becuase I 100% believe in what they say,but the way that a faith guiding their lives.They are kind,honest,loving,caring,generous people,I can not count how many decent words can to depict them. The way they live their faith out is so faithful and brilliant,I am convinced if everyone in the world lives life with a pure faith,the world will be perfect,no throwing baby in the toilet,no cheating in the exams,no poisonous chemical in the food,etc.

          Maybe I will never understand faith,but I do know faith reprents something good if it is pure.Life purpose?I believe there is a destiny for me,which guides my path,meanwhile,I follow my heart to earn a decent living,live a decent life.

          Thank you for leading me to this deep talk,Mary,what's your thoughts in life purpose?
      • May 31 2013: Hello again Jaden, I think your view of the TED site is quite right. Many of us share many ideas and thoughts regarding life and all the complex issues that accompany it. It is nice to learn about how others live and think. This makes for a better understanding of each other.
        Don't you think this can contribute to a little bit of 'peace'?

        I make an effort to take what I learn here and share it with my family and friends, and this I think helps to bring down walls of prejudices and ignorance and misinformation.

        Alot of humans go through life not digging deep into topics. Here I will use a quote by an education writer. He said "Education in America is a mile wide, but only an inch deep".

        Sometimes we humans are also a mile wide, but only an inch deep.......we call that being "superficial".

        We never develop intimacy with our family or friends. We only show what we want others to see, and give others an impression of ourselves that is totally wrong....we create an illusion.

        I have known elderly people like this. Who have raised their children this way also.

        I have also seen children who are compassionate, but their parents are not.
        And sometimes parents are compassionate, but children are not.
        We are very complex.

        So, may I ask, what do you mean when you say "I was born in the year when your grandmother passed away? I am curious why you use this expression.

        And it sounds like the couple you know who are people of faith, are true people of faith.
        They are living what they believe in.

        This is how it should be. This is also my effort in life. I make a big effort to live up to my faith, to live up to the principles I have learned from a higher power. The principles are based on love.
        I also know I have free will, and that I make choices which may affect others around me, so I tread lightly, always respecting other's free will.

        I think our purpose in life is to live.
        We choose to live what we believe.
        What we believe changes with time, if our mind is open. :)
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          Jun 1 2013: Hi,Mary,happy to continue.The world is interesting,while you are working during the day,we are at night,sleeping.

          Yes,I agree.TED helps sharing ieads,also reducing misunderstanding.Many conflicts are results of the lack of mutual understanding.For instance,ourselves,you and me talk here,an American and a Chinese,but we have common mindsets in many issues and feel same feelings.It helps me growing the perception that Americans are firendly,as long as we have a chance to share thoughts.

          Education here is pretty much the same,few in-depth lessons or conversation.Nowhere to find such an atmosphere. Daily talks have nothing to do with life also.We ca talk about this glibly,but there is no escaping we are pretty much accustomed to and acting in this way.It seems a train which is heading to north while its destination is in the south,but the train is too huge that can not be turned around. Like you said,it's a lack of love,I think it's more complex than that.

          I meant was born in 1990,I saw via the link you gave me that you mentioned there 'having lived with my grandma my whole life, until she died in 1990'.Sorry if that made you uncomfortable,I apologize.

          Yes,they are true people of faith.I see what your faith means to you,I understand through the way you saying it. Pure faith and steadfast heart combining together creates a comfort?I don't know how to describe it.

          I agree that believe changes,and belive transform us as well.Sometimes what I was convinced a truth,end up ridiculous later.

          What Mark Twain said is quite right.As I am thinking,to live out a faith is a task,need a steadfast heart to live up to it. Some people regard the task as a way of testing themselves,while some regard it as a painful struggle.A momentary act might devastate someone's tremendous effort.
      • May 31 2013: Here is another quote by Mark Twain, the famous American writer:

        "To say you believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest".

        The world is full of dishonest individuals.

        Many times people who say they have faith, turn out to be dishonest, because they will not "live" their faith. One corner of mouth say one thing, other corner of mouth say another.

        To me true faith is based on love. Love of our Creator, and love of our fellow human beings...which most definitely include old generation and young generation.
      • Jun 1 2013: Yes, we are in two time zones.
        Sometimes, I wake up early to have time to myself, and think and read online peacefully.

        You know what I have found interesting? That younger people like you, are more willing to communicate than older people. I am twice your age, but still I enjoy talking to people of all ages. But truthfully I enjoy conversations with the elderly, and the young. Because it helps me keep very balanced, and I can see things through the eyes of different generations.

        I think that is why your topic for conversation appeals to me. And that is why I do not shy away from taking care of two generations. It is a priviledge, and all are benefitted.

        When it comes to superficial conversations, the conversation that always happens with acquaintances, it usually goes like this: "hello, how are you?" "Oh, I'm fine, how are you?" "Oh, fine also, good to see you" "Yes, same here"....and so, nothing much there.
        People are sometimes afraid to speak from their heart, I think it has to do with background, and education, but also with a lack of social skills. In english we say that people who can carry themselves good in talking have mastered the "Art of Conversation". What do you think of this phrase? I think you have mastered it already ^-^.

        About year you were born...yes, now I remember the link to the talk I gave you. I thought that perhaps it was some kind of Chinese wise saying..."I was born in the year your grandma died".....haha...sometimes my mind betrays me. We call this a "senior moment".

        In regards to pure faith and steadfast heart, look how beautiful thoughts regarding this:

        上帝啊,求你在我裏面
        創造純潔的心,
        把新的精神放在我心裏,
        使我心志堅定

        Sometimes, when I feel I lack a certain virtue, I pray for it, then I try to act in harmony with my prayer (desire). It is our mind that must be willing to change. If our mind is open, then we can change. Our mind is very powerful.

        Many people do not even know they have a choice to change who they are.
        What is your view of people changing?
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          Jun 1 2013: Hi Mary,so you enjoy conversation with the elderly and the young,not people in your age? Be careful,I am going to tell your husband you don't enjoy talking to him! (ha ha! Hope you understand this Chinese humor)

          I think you are 50% right,many young people don't like talking,pretty much live in a world of their own.Talking to people helps expanding our minds,receiving new ideas,knowing different cutures.Why not,having the ability to talk through language is an unique advantage for our human.

          I see your optimism again,being a sandwich generation can be annoying,I appreciate your attitude.Some day,when I become a father,so much to learn from you.

          Really,how do you see it?I find myself shy in conversations,much to grow. I think need a certain length of time to bring about a deep conversation,and an calculation by considering his/her words.Yes,and education,it's obvious.

          Through your words,I think your way of living out a faith is so much like my friends here.Actual,I think that kind of attitude and strength are identical to people without faith,except the part 'higher power',every human has same concept of good and evil.The difference is how much they are willing to bring about virtues.

          Some people's minds are stubborn.while some's are receptive.Those stubborn think their state,or mindset,or thoughts are perfect.The other group think there is always something better,or closer to truth,so they are subject to new ideas,then they change. But I find I am refuting my own words now,because there is a flip side,some people change from a decent guy to a bum or criminal,need your help,what do you think?
  • May 28 2013: I don't think we have to pick one. You can value both, at no cost to the other. Maybe if you're financially supporting both your children and your parents, you might have to make such a decision. Even then, the most important parts of bringing up your children and taking care of your parents have nothing to do with money.
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    May 27 2013: There are some instances in life which can't be prioritized in business way as both need to be done.
    However even if prioritization is needed , I will say
    First one first, as that sets examples for good upbringing to the generation next.
  • Jun 8 2013: Hey Jaden, I just wanted to share with you that I have spent the week reading "The Good Earth" by Pearl Buck.
    It has alot of the felial relationships in it. Have you read it?

    I'm two chapters away from finishing it.
    So much Chinese culture in the book.
    Even though it is fiction, Pearl Buck grew up in China, her parents were missionaries.
    So she writes from personal experience. The story takes place right before the revolution.

    It was interesting to read how people revolted when the "rich are too rich, and the poor are too poor".

    I am still looking for other books, non-fiction, to continue my reading and learning. Chinese culture and history fascinates me. It is too bad I myself cannot read and understand Chinese to be able to read books and talk to people directly. Maybe one day.

    Thank you for this wonderful conversation.

    I like your new picture, by the way.

    Theodorre Hoppe started a conversation about the role of men in society.
    Perhaps you can read and contribute something from your own experience?
    I think it is invaluable to learn different perspectives from different cultures.
    I hope to read your insight.

    Here is the link.

    http://www.ted.com/conversations/18788/so_what_is_the_purpose_of_men.html?c=686945

    Be Well,
    Mary

    p.s......Ankle and knee are much better. My knee still has a huge bruise and very tender to the touch.
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      Jun 8 2013: Hey Mary,great to hear from you again.Thank you for sharing all these things.

      No,I haven't read it yet,I just read the introduction of the book,and Pearl Buck's biography.Yes,she precisely depicts ancient Chinese cultures,though it takes place in early 20th century.Hope I can read it some day.

      I don't know what it like in the words'rich are too rich,and poor are too poor',but I'd like to share with you something in the same age as it in The Good Earth. My grandmother was in a family I figure 'too rich' in the eyes of people then.Her father owned the most farmland and hills in the village.He hired dozens of workers working on the land. My grandma told me her family's was so rich that they could make big round pancakes as big as a sedan's wheel,while other families struggled to scrape by.

      Glad you found Chinese culture and history fascinating.I am happy to share with you Chinese culture,Chinese language,history in the future,I learn many priceless experiences from you also.Let me find some books in English so you can read.I am sure you will be able to read Chinese if you wish,you can learn it,never too later to learn.

      Thanks,I changed the picture,because my previous picture looks to young.I am new in TED compare to you,so I am still adjusting.

      I am going to read this conversation,I definitely have a view.Thank you Mary.

      Glad your ankle and knee are much better.Your children will be happy you become a helper again.
      • Jun 8 2013: Your grandmother's story sounds like the story in The Good Earth.....very similar.

        The expression "the rich are too rich, and the poor are too poor" was a term used in the story several times by poor farmers when they knew that something soon would happen to equalize the wealth.

        Yes, my children are very happy I become a helper again. They do not like their dad's cooking all that much.

        Be Well Jaden!!
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          Jun 9 2013: Hi Mary,I found a book maybe perfectly suitable for you to learn about Chinese culture.

          It's called My Country And My People,written by a Chinese author Lin Yutang,who's a friend of Pearl Buck.He wrote the book with brilliant English.And the introduction was given by Pearl Buck. I searched it on the Goodreads,started reading it myself.

          Hope it is available.Please tell me if you can't get it.
      • Jun 9 2013: Oh wonderful, my library has a copy....but, I think it is in Chinese!!

        I will have to request it to make sure of it.

        Thank you so much Jaden for the book title. I will look forward to reading it (in English).

        You will enjoy reading The Good Earth if you can find it.
        It is a wonderful story....full of happiness, and sadness.....alot of reality....There is also a movie version of the story. I will look and see if I can find it to watch.

        Thanks Again.
  • May 31 2013: Hi Dear Jaden Ye,I think as long as you are trying your best to do both,you will feel they are the one,the same thing to do in your life.
    By the way,I don't agree what you said:your children who are going to fulfill your dream.your dream would be fulfilled or not,it depends on yourself.And children have their dreams to be fulfilled.I think being parents,it is better to build space for children as much as we can for their growing.For parents,as long as we always try to do what we can do for them,parents always know us better than ourself.
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      May 31 2013: Thank you for your reply, Glad to hear your thoughts, yes,our thoughts differ when we have different perceptions.
    • May 31 2013: Hello Edulover...精彩点评...wonderful contribution.

      It is important to build space for children, yes, it is.
      Also, I feel that it is just as important to build space for parents as well (aging parents)

      I see myself in the "sandwich" generation. I am in between my parents, and my own children, who are still small. It is a challenge to give attention to both. Sometimes they want different things, and I am only one who can help......entertainment, food preparation, conversation, medicine, doctor's visit, etc....

      Also, the issue of dementias, and chronic disease in elderly may present challenge.

      And also, some aging parents speak very loud, and are hard of hearing, this also creates difficulty.
      Too many people in one room, all speaking at the same time.....woo....time for a hot bath and an aspirin...

      I think love, patience, and compassion are needed to help both generations.
      Our wonderful example that we give our children, and the love we show our parents before they die, will give us alot of peace in our own old age, don't you think?

      P.S. how is your child's english learning coming along?
      • Jun 1 2013: Hi Dear Mary M.Hehehehhe...I am in the same position "sandwich" gerneration too.Sometimes I do worry parents and children both meanwhile I need to keep my teaching job fully.
        But anyway ,most of time I feel myself lucky:my parents are very understandable.When I am in dilemma,they always try to help me in balance.And my child is growing well:she understands me when I have to be busy at work or whenever I told her I needed to cook or do sth for her grandparents,she always can take care of herself well.I often feel they make my life more meaningful.
        Children Day is coming,last night I asked my daughter what gift she likes to have?a new skirt or a pair shoes?She said:no,clothes and shoes all are enough.I like you can buy books I wanted.She made a long book list:total money is over 200RMB...I said:no problem.Then she went to book them online:).
        She has been busy preparing six grade to seven grade exam.And summer is coming,sometimes she fallen sleeping while did her homework.So she didn't pratice english everyday.I observe her:she isn't interested in english learning from her heart yet.I observe and seeking chance to motivate her:I am thinking:How can I let her to be aware learning english well is important in our lives?
        Mary,Happy Children Day to your children:)
        • Jun 1 2013: Hi Dear Edulover, Oh, your daughter sounds like my daughter......books, books, books. Also my mother....she loves Agatha Christie mysteries...especially Detective Poirot.

          So you are also sandwich generation. Well, we are both being squeezed then between two pieces of bread.....it's a tight fit isn't it?

          We have alot in common. My teaching now is mostly with tutorial work, and evaluating students who are homeschooled. This gives me alot of free time to read and to help my parents.

          Jaden has taught me alot about your culture. I hope you have read all the wonderful things we have written back and forth.

          This is a very big priviledge, to meet wonderful individuals from other country, China, who freely share their culture and life experience with me.

          Thank you so very much, I am feeling so blessed and grateful to both of you.

          As far as English, give your daughter some time. Perhaps if she meets another fellow student who knows English, she will be motivated.

          Are there any foreigners where you live?
          Perhaps making friends with them?

          Wasn't today's TED talk just wonderful? I watched it with my daughter. What a wonderful young lady, and what great insightful information.

          Although I speak, read, and write fluently in Spanish and English, I prefer to read in English. It is the language of my soul......the words touch my heart more.
          But, and this is a little crazy, I really like spanish songs.
          I wish I could share youtube video with great spanish music with you....oh oh oh Edulover, too too bad. :(

          Happy Children Day to your daughter!!!!!
      • Jun 1 2013: Wowowow,Dear Mary M.you are so great.teach me Spanish please:).
        We don't have foreigners living around us.hardly saw foreign child here.does your daughter want to learn chinese?If she wants,Let my daughter teach her.Hehehheeh....maybe it is a way to motivate my daughter to learn english:)
        • Jun 2 2013: I wish my daughter wanted to learn Chinese.
          But she doesn't.
          I am the one wanting to learn Chinese.

          Perhaps in the future, when I have time, we can start foreign exchange online language classes. :)

          But if you want your daughter to have penpal, just talk to her and get her opinion, and I will talk to my daughter and get her opinion, and maybe they can write each other emails.

          Let me know.
      • Jun 3 2013: LOl,Hi Dear Mary M.yesterday I talked to my daughter:I said there was an Amercian lady who liked to learn chinese,you can read and write in chinese so good now,would you like to be her teacher?You know what?Last night she was so active to keep reading chinese textbook.I think she really likes to teach you chinese.Her pronunciation is more standard than mine,and she has extreme genius to know if you pronounce right or wrong.
        She will take part in final exam on 5th July.The most important if you learn chinese from her,the task will force her to learn english,otherwise how she can be your teacher?wowoowow...
        About penpal,that's also a good idea,I will talk to her:)
  • May 30 2013: In December of 2011 I conducted a conversation on the elderly.

    I was very disappointed that very few people commented.

    Why do you think so few people care to talk about the elderly?

    Here is the link to my conversation. I hope you enjoy reading through it Jaden:

    http://www.ted.com/conversations/8009/what_long_lasting_impression_h.html
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      May 30 2013: Thank you so much,Mary,nice talking to you so extensively,let me reply your comments one by one.
      I read your conversation just now.

      I can empathize your feeling about an elderlies' wisedom,they are oceans of life knowledge.There is a saying here,they have walked through more bridges than the roads you have walked. They talk to us without reservation,patiently,that's seldomly seen between two young fellows.

      The reason why so few comments posted,I guess,maybe most of this community members were elderlies then, they didn't want to talk about themselves? Or maybe it was a long long time ago they had a chance to talk to an elderly,their impressions wore thin?
      • May 31 2013: Thank you Jaden again for this wonderful exchange of ideas and insights.

        I think that perhaps you are correct with your second reason, the impressions of the elderly in the lives of some wears thin. Also, here in the United States people move around alot, and young adults move away from home for university, and many times move far away after they start to work or when they get married.

        So perhaps not everyone has recent memories of being around the elderly.

        I have always admired the Asian way of respecting the elderly, and this "filial" piety that you mention. I was not aware of it by name. I have learned alot from you. Thank you so very much.
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          May 31 2013: Mary,thank you,you are willing to tell me things I am interested,I learn a lot from you too,I appreciate that.

          Be needing trust to share deep experiences,same reason applies to talking to the elderly,I think trust-building is essential in reletionships.What do you think ?

          By the way,tell you something unbelievable,help you understand how nostalgic and strong in filial piety Chinese people are. There is a world's largest periodical migration here,3billion(1.3billion is China's population) people migrate by bus,train,plane,motorctcle,within 40 day around the most important Chinese festival,Spring Festival.It's called Chunyun,people just want to be at home with their family in Spring Festival.
      • May 31 2013: Jaden, the Spring Festival sounds like a wonderful time.

        Will you be able to see your parents?

        I am going to look here and see if I can find some literature that further explains Chines culture and this "filial piety". I am very very curious to learn more about it.

        We have many Chinese people living here. But many do not speak english as fluent as you, in order to have wonderful conversation. Mostly we just say hello. One family owns a restaurant, and I visit many times to talk and share mangoes and avocados from back yard with them. They have taken me back into the kitchen at the restaurant and shown me how to cook a good special Chinese sweet treat made with rice flour. It was very wonderful priviledge for me to be treated with such kindness. I see much filial piety in their family, and I have come to know all members of family, they are all so kind.

        On your topic of trust building, yes, trust building is very essential.

        But, it is not healthy to trust everyone. Like we mention before, the media for example.

        There is a principle found in scripture that goes like this:

        你們不要信賴權貴,
        不要倚靠世人,
        他們不能拯救你們

        人一斷氣,就歸回地土;
        他的思想,當天就消滅。

        Do not put ​YOUR​ trust in nobles,
        Nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs.

        His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground;
        In that day his thoughts do perish. (Psalms 146:3-4)

        This is a good principle to help us learn about human nature.
        We must realize that human imperfection, and also mortality makes it impossible to have 100 % full faith in another human being. Anyone putting so much trust in other human is kind of naive thinking person.

        What do you think of this scriptural principle?
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          Jun 1 2013: Hi,Mary,Thank you for the wonderful scripture,how did you get its Chinese version? It's amazing.

          Have you found the literature you want? Yes,there are many fables writen in ancient time recording those paragons of filial piety.

          Finding someone nearby come from different culture contributes to your life experience.We,learn a lot, just like your neighbors and my firends,once you break the silence,I cannot believe how friendly they are,I don't know you,but I thought foreigners are cold and we would not have any common feeling.Deep down,people are pretty much the same,with one human soul.More practically,knowing other cultures firsthand gives us advantage in our life.
          I think this principle is telling the truth,but the real world is more complicated. Being strong yourself,relying on yourself,is the fundamental attitude and purpose for me.Your relationships with people vary from imtimacy to acquaitance,thus the degree you can trust someone differs. I would like to reach out to trust someone first,then I will calculate his response.Besides,if we don't try trust someone,we lose the very method to find whether someone is trustworthy. Never hurt anyone before you get hurt. on this matter,I'd like to hear what do you think beside this scriptural principle?
      • Jun 1 2013: Hi Jaden, I'm glad you found the Chinese characters amazing.
        I got it here: http://www.jw.org/zh-hant/
        I hope you can open the page.

        I will look for the literature on Chinese culture when I visit the library. Does your university have a large library? Are you able to check alot of books out? Do you like to read books for fun? Like history, or fiction, or poetry? By the way, did you watch today's TED talk? It is by a Chinese lady, it is about books. Very good talk.

        I am very fortunate here in Florida, because we have alot of people from many parts of the world living here. What kind of foreigners do you have living where you are?

        I feel like you, that when we are around other cultures, if we have an open mind, we learn alot.
        There is a program we watch on tv called Travelscope, with a gentleman called Joseph Rosendo, he always says at the end of the show a quote from Mark Twain: ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness." Isn't this true?

        When we travel, or we experience first hand someone else's culture, and have an open mind, we see that we are all the same.....but also diferrent. Once you begin to have conversations, and ask questions and share thoughts and information, then good communication happens, and bias and prejudice goes away.

        As far as trust, I am afraid I cannot separate my thoughts on trust from my scriptural principles. I think that on a personal level, acquaintance, friends so forth, with time you get to know who people are. You learn to trust with time. But to trust without knowing a person is foolish. When people want to steal from you, first they gain your trust, then they do the harm. I have seen it too many times. Perhaps it is my many years of life, and much travel and talking to many people with so many stories. I learn quite alot of other people's bad experiences, this helps me.

        Your fundamental attitude and purpose of being strong and relying on yourself is good "manly" attitude, my husband is the same. :)
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          Jun 1 2013: Thank you, Mary,I opened the link, read for a while.Prejudice,seems a never-ending problem?I don't know how to put an end to it either,for me it's no diffrence to think about how big the universe is,unthinkable to me.I think I may have a solution to eliminate prejudice myself,but I can not change other people's mindset.

          We have a library,not that big.I enjoy reading history,economics,business,life,or sometimes fictions,quite a lot.What about you? I just watched today's talk.She is following her heart,a lot of enjoyment involved.Do you follow books mch?

          Foreigners,they are Americans,Austrilians,europeans,Africans,pretty much people from every continent.But the number is smaller than your vicity,that's why I have inadequate opportunity to know other cultures.

          Travel is an incredible way to know about a culture.We got chance to communicate.I haven't got some chances to travel,I am keen to check it out in the future.Unfortunately,I found a confusing fact here,people are more friendly to foreigners than their own folks.How about people in your country?

          I understand your point.Sometimes the more you trust someone,the harder you get hurt.I think also I had less experience of being cheated than you,that's why I have different understanding level.However,I think a Chinese saying quite right,Never thinking of harming anybody,be forever aware of the harm from others.

          Ha ha! What is 'womanly' attitude?
      • Jun 1 2013: Great Jaden, I'm glad you were able to open the link.
        You will find some wonderful articles for families....how to care for elderly, and also parenting information, and how to help children.
        Alot of valuable, and practical counsel that anyone, in any culture can learn from and apply.
        I think also, there are videos.

        I don't particularly follow books, but I do love to read different genres.
        In particular I enjoy biographies, and autobiographies.
        I also enjoy books about education.
        There is a wonderful site called Goodreads that allows you to look at what people think of different books, and before I read a book, I go and find out what other readers think about it.

        Just today I found a new book to read from a recommendation made in the comments below today's TED talk.

        It is interesting that you say you learn about Americans by talking to me. But I am not American. So funny right? I just live in America. I am like you.....a global soul. I feel at home everywhere, and with every culture. I am like chamellion, I change colors according to where I am, but externally, inside, still same principles. What do you think of this phrase: "One race, Human"?

        I believe the Chinese saying "Never thinking of harming anybody, be forever aware of the harm from others", is very wise. I think that is what I also believe and practice.

        In regards friendliness to foreigners and not to own people. Yes, I have seen this, but, not everybody is like this. Plenty of people around here turn a blind eye to tourists. I guess it is such a common site, that no longer people reach out to them. However, if they approach us with questions, people will help gladly. Also, it is very hard to distinguish foreigners here, unless they open their mouth. ^-^

        I am so sorry, but "womanly" attitude too complex for explaining....one day, when you have your family, you will see what I mean. Ha ha!!! But my attitude, because I am a woman, is be a helper.
        It is that simple for me. Not too complicated.
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          Jun 2 2013: sounds great,lots of beautiful stories on that site.I enjoy reading different ideas,cultures,especially something new compare to my previous knowledge. Bible is ubiquitous around the world,but people view it in different perspective.

          Goodreads,thank you for sharing this site. I think it suits me also,sometimes when I trying to pick up a book,but too afraid that the book is not my taste,and quit without finishing it,this is no good.Let me find out how helpful it is.Thanks,Mary.

          Not only funny,but lost my confused. I've never been to another country,I think language is a bewildering barrier,can not truly immersed in a country without speaking its language.Do you think so?Did you study English in America or English is your first language?

          Exactly,in China,foreigners are so obvious,people notice them even staring at them.Actually,people in megalopolis,like Shanghai,Beijing,or universities like mine,see foreigners quite frequently,so they think seeing foreigners is not weird.But,people in the remote,countryside,they probably never see a foreigner in real life,they would respond like seeing an animal.Different races in appearances,colors,are obvious.It gives you an advantage to be like a chameleon,especially in such a multicultural country.You will definitely find out you can not easily acting a chameleon in China.

          So,with regard to 'One race,Human'.I shall say,outwardly,it's unthinkable,I can not ignore the appearance,or a people's behavior under the influence of culture. However,deep down,I think we are one race,the only creature being called HUMAN on the planet.We human share same soul,same resources,same sunlight.It does great contribution to this globe if we are united.Positively,I am positing there is a trend to be one race in the modern world.What's your view of 'One race,Human'?

          My girl friend,her 'womanly' attitude is relying on a man,wants man's attention.No wonder it's complicated.
      • Jun 2 2013: I .

        I almost went to China while living in Japan. But it just so happened that there had been issues with university students and much street demonstrations. I was alone, and was afraid, so I went to South Korea instead.

        I have always wanted to visit the Great Wall.

        With regards to one race, I think yes, we humans are a brotherhood......with much diversity.
        That is why my faith is so important to me. My brothers and sisters in my faith number over 7 million, and they are from all over the world. Look, you can see them in the second video "Organized to share good news".

        http://www.jw.org/en/publications/videos/?contentLanguageFilter=zh_hant&sortBy=1



        Be Well
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          Jun 3 2013: Sorry to hear that,Mary,is there any injury to the bone?Calm down,and be patient,you will be fine soon.

          What a coincidence,I sprained my ankle on April 24 on the basketball court,stepped on a guy's foot,can't walk steadily yet.I have some advice,and my mistakes in dealing with the injury,please consider it.After one week,I assessed it myself I could work, because I had to attend class,but my ankle's condition got worse,over an over again.Your family will take care of you,so don't walk until you completely sure your ankle and knee are ready.I bought an ankle supporter last week,it works very well,I can work without much pressure to the ankle,however,the ankle should be strong enough itself.I am almost fine now.

          Be PATIENT,Mary.

          The world is interconnected now,China is becoming more open and safe,sure you will have time to see the Great Wall,maybe someday when your children grow up.You will surprised by the Chinese people's hospitality.

          Don't worry about replying me,please tell me your progress in recovery.

          Best wishes from my girlfriend and I,take care.
      • Jun 3 2013: Thank you for the kind words. Now at the end of today, I am much better.
        Still, I must stay inmobile for two more days.

        I hope you receive more replies on your topic.

        It looks like perhaps this subject matter of the elderly and children is a topic that many have difficulty discussing.

        I have learned quite a bit through talking with you.

        I hope to be able to discuss other topics in the future throughout the TED site.

        All the best Jaden.
  • May 29 2013: (con't from last entry)

    Oh, and also, there are families who have children with disabilities.
    This could also pose another challenge when having to take care of the aging grandparents.

    On the surface, your question appears simple.
    But in reality, it is very complex.
    And each family has to choose what is best for them.

    Because I think that it is not about valuing one above the other, it is sometimes looking for what is best for everyone.
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    May 27 2013: Good question. I don't think my parents raised me to take care of them. Possibly the opposite reason!