Challenge Yourself in Any New Year


Below are the captions of a powerpoint slide show of the cutest animals sent to me by a friend of mine on the eve of this past New Year. I didn’t have time to go through the slide until now. Yes, I know how much I can put off things. It is already the end of February, still I find it worthwhile posting here. Don’t attempt to try them all. You will deserve a gold medal if you can achieve at least one or two of your goals in any new year!

1. Practice A New Sport
2. Accept New Challenges
3. Dare To Be Different
4. Freshen Up Your Ideas
5. Take Care of Your Looks
6. Learn Another Language
7. Forget Your Troubles
8. Make Peace with Life and People
9. Fall in Love
10. Enjoy Nature
11. Make New Friends
12. Learn New Things
13. Dream!
14. Update Your Wardrobe
15. Listen to Your Elders
16. Laugh a Lot, and Above All, Smile at Life
17. Sing from The Heart
18. Kiss Like You Mean It
19. Take A Bubble Bath
20. Be Curious & Show Some Initiative
21. Have Fun With Your Friends
22. Cautious with Danger
23. Send Emails To Your Friends
24. Relax And Enjoy Yourself After A Hard Day’s Work



A Tug of War With Your Children: One of Those Stressful Moments for Parents


Some parents say that the most stressful time is holiday seasons with shopping and party preparation. Since I do no shopping and am too lazy for any preparation, I find the most stressful moment is when a child asks for something and will not take no for the answer. More often than not, it is a test of will between the minor and the parent, which often constitutes daily occurrences.

Of course, one of the sure ways to avoid this kind of stress is to take a laissez-faire attitude, be a yes-man all the time. In so doing both parents and the children will have an easy time, totally stress-free.

Yet, I don’t think it is the choice for most of responsible parents. At least, I cannot sit still when I see a picky child eating all meat without any vegetables, or that child insisting on watching TV after bedtime or playing on the computer without doing what he/she is supposed to do, etc.

Moreover, with laissez-faire attitude, you will likely cultivate in your child an expectation. That is, the child will expect an yes answer and feel frustrated or even mad over a negative one.

Looking back, I think it is easy to say no when the child is small. I remember the time when my son was small and made a scene at the store when his demand was denied. I would firmly took him out of the store and avoided taking him there as long as I could. Next minute he forgot the whole thing.

But things are totally different when your child is big and seems to have a much stronger will than you do. For me, this is the most stressful part of parenting. Still, in the long run, for the children’s wellbeing, I believe parents should stand firm, with some discretions, even if it means a stressful tug-of-war.



What Does a Job Mean to Young Graduates?


This may seems a rather stupid question on the surface. From the basic economic sense, a job means a paycheck or a means of living. In the word of one person that was given to me when I landed my first healthcare position, “You just found a bowl for a living.” If that’s all you can think of regarding a job and if you are content with your bowl, you are only an inch away from a dumb fool. Unfortunately, this bowl is not guaranteed for life and can be taken away any time your employer pleases. You simply don’t have any control over this. If you don’t prepare for this moment, you deserve nothing better.

On a deeper spiritual level, there must be some transcendental value to our life experience. Otherwise, that corporal mass of yours is no different from the same fleshy one found in any pigsty. That is, you should always be able to think of something above bare physical existence that a job can satisfy.

Back to the more practical side, one should always keep in mind the precarious nature of a job, which is as fragile as a glass bowl. It might be scary to think of everyday at your office as your last day there. But it certainly enhance the temporary nature and the insecurity inherent in any position that is offered to you. Embrace this risk and insecurity so that you will feel the urgent need for developing your own hidden agenda while you devote your time to your current employer.

What is your hidden agenda? Ultimately, it is to constantly increase your skills and expertise, all kinds of experience, and network and connections, making yourself a valuable asset desired by everybody, so that when the final day of employment comes, you are prepared and have the choice of going to many places. This should be your career goal and plan.

In this sense, for young graduates, a job means preparation, connections, opportunities and potential for something bigger, opportunity for learning and gaining valuable work experience and sharpening your skills, even better, for a higher order of human existence. How lovely that shall be!



One of Those Moments of Regret and Remorse in Olympic History


“Oops,” there goes one of the biggest blunders in sporting history. As the world watched the nearly unprecedented mistake committed by Sven Kramer of Dutch in men’s 10,000-meter speedskating on 2/23/2010, we were absorbed for a moment by utter be-wilderness, disbelief and then a sad feeling of loss for this world-record holder.

Kramer, when he heard his coach crying “inside lane,” most stupidly switched to the inner lane instead of the outer lane just past the midway point of the race and was thus disqualified for lane violation, gracefully leaving gold medal to Korea’s Lee Seung-Hoon and enabling Russia’s Ivan Skobrev to be promoted to the silver.

The 23-year-old Kramer’s explanation — “I’m furious. Usually, I don’t want to blame anyone else, but this time I can’t do anything else,” “I wanted to go on the outer lane then just before the cone, Gerard KEMKERS shouted ‘inner lane,’ I thought he’s probably right and went to the inner lane.” “At first I thought my skates passed the cone on the wrong side, I will be disqualified. Then I noticed in the stadium something was wrong.” “You have to decide in a split second. Afterwards I should have gone with my own thoughts, but I was brought into doubt. This really sucks – it’s a really expensive mistake.”

“It is pretty hard now,” Kramer said. “I was on my way to make the right decision and right before the corner I changed my decision because of the advice from the (coach). At the end of the day, it is my responsibility. I am the skater on the ice, I have to do it.” There’s his courage!

Event in sports where physical quality is of top importance, a good head is still the key to making a wise judgment. As Ivan Skobrev of Russia put it, “It is not only about how strong you are. It is how your head is in the race. He made a mistake. That’s his fault.”

As with everything in our lives, if we mess up and make a mistake, blame no one else but ourselves. Pick yourself up, learn a lesson and move on.



Good Friends and Good Health


Yes, there are many connections between friends and health.

There are two friends that I had planned to see but had not during my last trip home. I did talk to one over the phone but did not have the chance to meet. With the other one, I emailed but have not heard back as her husband suffered from an acute myocardial infarction last December and she was busy around hospital.

Though I have not seen both of them this time, the news about their spouses keep surfacing in my mind days after I got back — one in early 40s, the other in early 50s, both are plagued with some kind of life-threatening disease. I am once again waken up to the importance of good health.

Last Saturday, during a gathering at a friend’s house, we exchanged notes on healthy living. The occasion always brings out laughters as hearty as any carefree can enjoy.

Now, the thought of my friends and the gathering among them reinforce the magic connections between the two.



Individuals with Success Traits Shine No Matter Where They Are


In the evening of 2/18 before my daughter’s piano lesson, I talked to my daughter about California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. His career ranges from bodybuilding to acting, to business, then to politics. He was successful in whatever he set his mind on. He became a millionaire by age 30 before he embarked on movie career. He is the kind of man who, equipped with successful habits and mentality, will stand out in any field that he finds himself in. Here are some of his quotes.

“Failure is not an option. Everyone has to succeed.”
“For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.”

This is what I often tell my children — if you are good, you are good in everything you do because you are not used to be a second best. Otherwise, you are dull and dim, and always need to be placed by the side of a shining figure. How heart-broken that would be!



Next Life, We Won’t Meet Again, a Father to His Son, Part 3



To be constinued.
(7) While you can make yourself keep your promise, you cannot make other do the same. You can be nice to others, but you cannot expect other to be the same. The way you treat others does not mean others should treat you in the similar manner. You will save yourself a lot of trouble if you can understand this.

(8) I have bought lotteries for about 20 years and are still penniless. This tells me a person has to work hard if he wants to thrive. There is no free lunch in this world.

(9) We only have one chance of being together. Please appreciate the moments when we are together. Next life, whether or not we love each other, we won’t meet again.

This last piece is so touching. I can’t believe it was written by a father. Indeed, value every moment when our children are with us. Once they leave us, they are on their own and nothing will be the same again, this life or next life.



Next Life, We Won’t Meet Again, a Father to His Son, Part 2



To be continued from yesterday’s posting.
(4) There is no things like “loved most” in the world. Love is how one feels at that instance, but that feeling will definitely change with the passing of time and your mood. If the one you love most leave you, please give yourself some time as time will slowly wash away whatever you feel, … Do not expect too much of the beauty of love and exaggerate the sorrow over its loss.

(5) The knowledge that you have learned will empower with weapon [in his word]. While a man can rise above the world without anything, he cannot do anything without any resources. [I don’t know exactly what he means, but my guess is he wants his son to study hard and learn some skills as his resource. Nice way of expressing himself].

(6) I won’t ask you to support me in my later part of life. Similarly, I won’t support you either. When you have grown up and become independent, my responsibility for you will end. It will be totally up to you whether you take bus or Benz or have fish or rice noodle. [cool love]



Next Life, We Won’t Meet Again, a Father to His Son, Part 1




This was sent to me by a friend of mine. It is a letter written by a Taiwan TV anchorman to his son. I love reading fathers’ letters to their children. They are so rare and so full of useful and rational love, vastly different from motherly one!

(1) Don’t take it seriously if somebody is not nice to you because nobody is obligated to be nice to you, except your mom and me. As for those who are nice to you, you should, apart from appreciating and feeling grateful, be on guard, because there are ultimate motives behind everything that people do. That is, when somebody is nice to you, it is probably not because he likes you. You really should not befriend of that person just because of this. [this is true and scary]

(2) Nobody is irreplaceable and no possession is a must. Once you realize this, you won’t take it to heart in case someone closest to you leave you or you lose all that you love most in the world.

(3) Life is but a brief span. While you waste your life today, tomorrow you will find life is farther away. Hence, the earlier you value your life, the more you will enjoy it. You would rather enjoy it early than expecting longevity.
To be continued tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.



Plan Ahead: Key to Any Successful Endeavor



During my early school years, there were something that was kept pumping into my ears, so much so that I didn’t really have a good feeling about it at that time but it is this something that I remember clearly and now I am doing the same thing on my children the way it was crammed down on me. The main idea is you always plan at the beginning of the day or the year or any activity instead of at the end of it when it is too late.

I remember how my father had serious talks with me on laying out a plan for the summer break or winter break. It was basically no different from what we now do, setting a goal and an action plan for reaching this goal. How I disliked it when I longed nothing but play for my break. Now I realize it is such a wise move and a good habit, so that I would not fool away the precious time, though I am not sure I cared that much about time.

Even my daughter has heard of SMART action plan. How darling it is, except not many people follow their plans to the letter. I wish both of my children would listen to me and get into the habit of having a good plan before any activities.
Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Realistic
Timebound



Parenting by Example, from Nation to Parents


As a nation, it is so convenient to forget this simple truth, that is, with action speaking louder than words, we don’t need to preach this or that to other nations. We simply demonstrate what we expect others to do by our deeds. We cannot expect other nations not to engage in invasion when we invade other countries. When the U.S. condemns Iran of acquiring nuclear weapon, Iran could easily say, “We will be just like you, no more no less.” What a compliment! Indeed, the best praise from our enemy is to see them emulating you.

If a parent articulates uncivilized words and behaves unreasonably toward the youngsters, the children have every reason to behave accordingly. If you spend most of your disposable time on TV or Internet or any trivial pursuits, your children will surely follow your lead toward a mediocre end. You cannot expect an otherwise behavior from your children. Parents who indulge in computer games are disgusting hypocrites when they expect their children to be someone else. Remember the saying “a child is a chip off the old block?” Well, the old block determines what kind of chip it will be.

Too much challenge to us parents not to be hypocrites, right? It is never easy to be better than ourselves.



Toyota Car Recall and Blaming Game


With the global recall of Toyota Prius gas-electric hybrids car, I smell another case of blaming game, that is, people have shifted too much responsibilities unto their vehicles when they got into accidents or when they abuse their car. I have been driving Toyota since 1986, all kinds of them, and the only problem that I have is cop’s speeding tickets, which is my own problem. I believe firmly that Toyota of all models are of top quality, in spite of its recent problems. Very often, it is people’s driving habit plus 10 cups of alcohol that get them into trouble with their cars.

This is very much similar to the famous 2003 obesity suit against McDonald’s restaurants for being responsible for making people fat and unhappy. And there have been numerous class-action lawsuits by lung cancer patients against tobacco companies.

Currently there are about 43,000 people killed in fatal car accidents each year in the U.S, and the number is climbing each year, with over 40% fatal crashes being alcohol-related. Until people take responsibility for their own lives, stop drink-and-drive, text-and-drive, and all other forms of risky behavior, no matter how safe the vehicles are, there is no hope of seeing a reduction of fatal car accidents.

One step forward, for an individual, only when we stop seeing ourselves as passive victims at the hands of others and stop enlarging the power of any external forces do we start taking responsibility for our own lives and turning a new leaf in the writing of our own history. So much fresher now.



You Reap What You Sow from Iraq to Iran


The US invasion of Iraq always reminds me of someone who takes action brainlessly and impulsively without ever thinking of the consequence. When US first bombed Iraq, it felt so safe and so good, like a six-grader slaps the face of a first-grader in primary school. The U.S. was certain that it could do whatever it pleased on the land of Iraq because there was no threat of nuclear weapon or something like weapon of mass destruction in Iraq.

It does not care how other nations perceive it. However, if anything, the US invasion of Iraq woke up everybody around and sent a clear message to them that they got to arm up to the teeth with something that the U.S. is afraid of. Otherwise, they will end up like Iraq, if they happen to have rich oil deposit.

This is what Iran is doing at the moment and much more, its challenge has not been met so far. The U.S. only powerlessly recognizes the coming of a “military dictatorship.”

A person is very much like a nation. If he does not think about the percussion of his action, he will eventually end up like the U.S. today, ensnared in two wars and threatened by Iran. As with everything, always remember you reap what you sow. Nothing comes from nothing.



A Festival Gathering At a Friend’s House


Last Saturday evening we went to a friend’s house for this year’s Spring Festival Eve gathering, trying to create a feeling of home-away-from-home, thanks to the hospitality of this friend of mine.

As with most gatherings with Chinese friends, the topic of conversation centered largely on the challenge of parenting. Every time I am with other Chinese parents, I am impressed and deeply touched by the love and devotion of these parents to the future and the wellbeing of their youngsters. Alas, parents with the best intentions are found nearly everywhere, but those getting the desired results are not as often seen, which only tells us that parenting demands way more than love, care, and money. It takes so much to bring up a mature and responsible individual.

I heard a parent just equipped her elementary school child with a laptop and cellphone, a classic example of showering too much love without considering the consequence. When we attempt to discipline our children, isn’t it true that we should discipline ourselves first?

Above all, instead of asking our children to appreciate what we have given to them, we should remind ourselves of the joy and blessing that the children have brought to our lives, that it is a privilege for the parents to be given the opportunity to care for them, to grow with them and to be there when they need us. If we can appreciate what we have today, we won’t feel the hurt of regret tomorrow when what we have is gone.



Happy Chinese New Year! The Year Of Tiger




Global Solution: Key Feature for Future Job Market


When people talk about the desperate US job market, it is easy to get pessimistic about the future. Someone even asked me if I regret having come to the US and my children might have an easy life in China. Had I stayed in China, I surely would have a different path, most likely as a teaching professor. Yet, regret is never part of me.

I believe there is a future for every one of us even if the future of US economy is not bright and cheerful. The key to success in job market is global solution, which is the nature of future job structure, the one that defies any national boundary. This globally interweaving job market belongs to not any nation but bold and outstanding individuals who never for a second cease to look for global solution for global problem.

Computing technologies and remote access via internet bring about unlimited possibilities, making outsourcing a cheap solution even for doctors and professors. If we can use big screens for global conference, we can use it for global classroom, too, bringing education to every corner of the world, either Africa or Latin America. Pretty soon people will have to seek ways to lower the cost for higher education in US.

Bold thinking plus careful planning and solid efforts will give one a head up. No country is isolated and we all float or sink together. Protectionism is loser’s solution, hurting the doer more than anybody else.

You have to face global community for market and solution if you dare to rise above. This is written for my children and their generation.



Don’t Consume Away Your Youth, Your Future and Your Life on the Internet


This is written for all the young people that I care of, especially for my children.
Computer technologies are wonderful things when they can take us surfing globally without ever leaving our bedrooms or even bathrooms. Yet, I have posted some entries on the negative sides of this and I am doing it again as I observed nothing less than this psychological addiction to the internet among young people that I know of, including my own children. They find no life nor meaning outside computer, so much as that the touch of the topic triggers a sure fight between parents and their children.

As with all culture artifacts, there are producers and consumers, with the formers being the creators of these artifacts, the makers and movers in human history. The consumers are those who passively view and receive whatever channeled to them through the internet. There is nothing wrong with being consumers, only if you don’t care about consuming away everything you value in your life.

It is rather foolish to assume the consumers pay nothing for whatever channeled to them via the internet. As far as I can see, when people pour large chunks of time day and night, month rolling into years, they pay with the most expensive price for internet consumption — that is, their time and their dear life.

Yet, it is a terrible realization when you have consumed away your daily hours and then your youthful years, with the ultimate casualty of this addiction being your dream and ideal, your future and your life. This is not a false alarm. It is a real heartfelt wakeup call. The sooner you wean yourself off this addiction, the brighter is your future. Otherwise, doom to that future of yours and whatever dreams you may have. With that, you will remain a lifelong mediocre internet consumer.



Your Health Between Poverty and Wealth


One has to reconsider the meaning of wealth and fame when one is facing life-threatening disease. A friend of mine sent me this story of life and death, rich and famous. A successful career woman with a happy family died young of cancer, leaving behind all that she had worked so hard for and everything that she was admired of. So empty and senseless. In fact she left a lot for the living to ponder, to reflect on our health, upon which everything is built upon.



A Poem of Love and Tolerance


This is from Harvard Family Instruction book. It is a very touching piece, written by a daughter about her mother. Her father died in Vietnam when she was 4 years old and her mother raised her all by herself without ever getting remarried. After her mother died, the daughter found a poem written by her mother for her father. It goes like this,

“I remember —
When I borrowed and damaged your new car,
I thought you would be mad and scold at me, but you didn’t.
When I dragged you to the sea, you said it would rain, then it indeed rained,
I thought you would say “I told you so,” but you didn’t.
When I flirted with other boys,
I thought you would be jealous and enraged, but you didn’t.
When I smeared your new carpet with strawberry cake,
I thought you would think me annoying, but you didn’t.

There were so many so many things I thought you would do but you didn’t.
You tolerated me, you loved me, you protected me…
I once promised I would give back all that you gave me —
after you got back from battlefield —
But you never came back.



Annual Evaluation — Give Credit to Yourself


Annual evaluation is the time to celebrate the greatness in each of us and to give credit where credit is long over-due. Our annual evaluation consists of three sections — Objectives (34%), Competencies (33%), and Shared values (33%). Whatever they include in the form reflect whatever they value in the employees.

The competencies section includes —
(1) Uses technical/functional experience
(2) Demonstrates adaptability
(3) Uses sound judgments
(4) Shows work commitment
(5) Commits to quality
(6) Leadership Competencies

The shared values section includes —
(1) Customer Service
(2) Accountability
(3) New Ideas
(4) Communication
(5) Energy
(6) Results
(7) Collaboration
(8) Analytical Thinking
(9) Respect for Others
(10) Ethical Standards

Assessment scales are (1) Exceeds expectations (2) Meet expectations (3) Needs improvement. I gave myself the best possible rating on some of them. We are expected to give second rating on all of them, otherwise, we should add comments to either above or below expectation. I left the following comments —
“I am accountable, ethical, responsible, honest, respectful, going out of my way to bring joys to others. On top of all this, when I do the right thing, it is not because I think I should but because I want to do it. As always, I cannot see myself otherwise…”

I know I have a lot laurels to adorn my head, but I have not claim them all. Still, my daughter thinks I kinda of bragging. No, I am not. I am just being honest. Think this way, if you don’t see your own value, who else will? It does nobody good if you are devalued in your own eyes.

An HR manager started talking about annual evaluation with this opening statement, “I know nobody likes annual evaluation. Well, it’s this time of the year.” I wonder why people don’t like giving self-credit.



No Apology Because I Am Not Sorry Any More


This happened on 12/14/2009. This is one of those days you wish you stayed home. The pharmacy head was very upset with me on that Monday morning over the unannounced visit of monitor at their place, on Friday 12/11/2009. She said, “Next time when you have a monitor visit to the pharmacy, you need to give us at least 48 hours advance notice. Last Friday she came at 11 o’clock, the busiest time of the day and that screwed up everything.”

The fact is the monitor did make an unannouned visit to pharmacy, but she visited there around 10 AM, for about 15 minutes and left the clinic before 11 AM. Also, pharmacy could have told the monitor to come back some other time if they were busy at the moment. The pharmacy head was not in the office last Friday.

When you opened the pharmacy door to visitors, you complained about their visit, which is ridiculous because you have the option and initiative of not opening that door in the first place. Still, I kept explaining and saying “I am sorry.” Obviously, no explanation and apologies are needed as she still sent me away with these words — “You just cannot dump them into us any time you want.” Guess I should not be sorry at all. I wish I heard better words than this when I left. I wish I had said “FINE. I AM NOT SORRY.”

It is not a pleasant incident for posting.Still, it is what it is and I want to record it for my children and tell them that I do learn something from this. That is, I learn at least how people feel when they offer apology but their apology is NOT accepted. It doesn’t take an angel to be forgiving. But it certainly gives one an angelic touch when we forget and forgive. Do it when we can.



A Bull Stampeding in a China Shop


After all, Obama is the man who has made history as the first black in white house. That’s all he has achieved so far and I am afraid that’s all he will be remembered. Too bad nothing more than this. He was smart and could talk smart to mobilize a majority of voters for his political gain.

You would think Obama was like President Lincoln, being a calculating lawyer at heart and a pragmatic politician like Nixon and would go down history like Lincoln. Wrong. Now he is more like a bull stampeding in a China shop, first $6.4 billion military sell to Taiwan, then offers to meet Dalai Lama. This equals to nothing less than open defiance to any decent dignity that Chinese nationals demonstrate. I can’t see any practical purpose of seeing Lama.

Why does he do it? After a year of white house life, Obama must be frustrated for not having accomplished anything big, from the two costly wars to economic stimulation to healthcare. He must feel like a big wimpy loser and be extremely desperate to show his masculinity by provoking China. Oh boy, he just doesn’t care hurting Chinese! By so doing, he is losing the hearts of billion of Chinese, who used to see him favorably.

How stupid can Obama be when he expects China to finance his 3.8 trillion budget proposal and when he looks to China to help with US economy recovery? His uncommon-sense way of asking for help! If China goes ahead with sanctioning Boeing, that means more job loss in US and a political suicide for Obama. Even if he does not intend to run for second term, he does not need to behave so brainlessly and irrationally.



Treat Yourself Well, No Discount and No Compromise


I never know people can go so far to treat themselves well until I learned of the story told by the visiting relative of ours. She has a friend whose daughter got married in the most splendid style, a truly eye-opening event. The young couple belong to one of those new nouveau riches in China. The banquet foods were rich and extravagant in extreme, putting to shame those of any royal families. Still, the young man was not happy with the food served there. He said to the bride, “If we eat three meals a day, we will have 1095 meals per year. If we live another 50 years, we only have 54,750 meals to eat in our lives. We should not compromise each meal and should only have foods that we really enjoy most.” With that, he and the bride went out searching for his favorite food, whatever that might be, leaving behind their guests.

People commented that he really knew how to treat himself well. I never know people treat themselves well in such calculating manner. I am sure the man could be of great value to society if he applied his talent in that direction. I am not sure of the consequence to his health if he thus insists.



Beyond Classroom and Lifetime Learning (2)


During my previous posting on this topic, I emphasize the continuation of learning beyond classroom. Now I want to point out study and work should be inseparable and what you should look for in your first job.

While you are at school, you should think about your future work or even better try to put your foot at the door of your future company. While at work, you should never stop enriching yourself.

A country has one-year or five-year plan. So should a college graduate. Ask yourself what you would like to see in yourself in one year or five years or a decade. Your long-term plan is your hidden agenda. Never for a day should you forget this, no matter where you are.

I often hear people brag about the salary of one’s first job. This is like picking up seeds while losing water-melon. The focus of your first job should be opportunities to learn and to grow, the big goal of your career development. One’s first salary should least be considered for young graduates. In fact, a fat paycheck on your first job is not always a good thing when some young people get content easily and become deflated in their will to strive for something better.

It is very risky to settle down on your first job as you deceive yourself with a false assumption about job security of 19th century! Generation-Y graduates should have known by now that the age has gone forever when a person can stay in one post till retirement. Always keep in mind this new golden rule: the only security is your skills, expert and the asset you build in yourself. While you are young and energetic, increase your own tangible and intangible assets is the top one priority. It is stupid to eat and get fat on your first job and find yourself loss of job as you are busy widening your waistline.

By the way, the trick to remember the feature of generation-Y is to look at these young people from behind when they bend forward. There you get the Y-image.



Beyond Classroom and Lifetime Learning (1)


Recently I have given some thought on graduation and beyond. Perhaps because one of the young relatives graduated here last December, another one in China will graduate this summer and go for graduate study, and a third one on the way to graduate from a master program, and my own child will be out of college next May.

As always, my heart is full of words for these young folks. Some people can’t wait for graduation while some others are dreadful of life ahead and its uncertainty. Not a few people think graduation means the end of study and the start of work, as if the two were separable and as if they have learned everything that is to learn. I must say this view is nothing but short-sighted career suicide.

For one thing, compare to the vast ocean of knowledge, college education only leads you to the door of real learning, opening your eyes to your own prejudice and ignorance and thus firing in you the passion to pursue more on your lifetime journey.

For another, even with that meager amount of learning, you might be able to use less than 1 percent of it in your future post. The 4-year education is far from enough if you intend to lay back on this for your future cushion. The world is changing everyday, so is the nature of work, which demands you more than ever before to be able to keep up with new technologies. Unless you want to put an early end to your career, you shall never stop learning no matter where you are.



Luck and Go Above and Beyond Your Responsibility


The story goes like this. A young man works for a bike repair shop. He always goes above and beyond in his job. That is, he not only fixes the problem that customer points out, but any parts and places that need service, literally transforming a second-hand bike into an almost brand new one. Some of his colleagues think him silly. Not long after, one of his former customers offers him a position at his company, an upward mobility.

A friend of mine complains of her bad luck all the time. She is in the habit of opening her mouth with this words, “See how unlucky I am today…” According to this friend of mine, some duck has all the lucks and this young man is one of those lucky ducks.

If anything, the young man’s experience reveals this to us — your go-above-and-beyond attitude will inevitably bring you good luck. Thus, instead of blaming your “bad luck, work on your attitude.



Flexibility: One Big Challenge in Parenting and in all Dealings


I talked to my son about yesterday’s posting as I believed he could have played a positive role and could have prevented it from happening. I also wanted him to learn a lesson from this. I reminded him of the time when the other adult in the family threatened to disconnect our internet service. My son was around my daughter’s age and was on the internet all the time. Imagine what would become of him if both adults stood firm behind this decision.

I imagine without the internet my son would spend more time with his friends who had internet connection. He would spend less time at home and less time doing school work. One can never tell what he would do all the time at his friends’ house. One thing I am positively sure if that happened, he would not be able to go to the kind of college that he is in.

It is important that we do not lose sight of the big goal. Sometimes, in order to reach your goal, it is crucial that parents know how to be flexible and how to bargain some terms with the children so that both sides give in a little inch and move forward a whole mile. It is stupid to insist on parental authority all the time as if parents were always right. It is even more stupid to think that a parent is the boss of the family and must have the final word and must be the winner in any fight with the children. What kind of victory is that when a parent defeats the children? When the children lose, no one wins in the end.



The Damage of a Fight


While I was in China, I was very concerned about my daughter and the other adult.

Indeed, fight occurred between the two as I was afraid all the time, and with rather disastrous consequence. After I got back, I saw something broken in the house, a telephone and a small table — my daughter did it when she was mad at the other adult.

“He promised to take me to bookstore after I have finished my homework and piano practice. After I’ve done everything, he still wouldn’t take me,” explained my daughter.

The other adult said he had not promised and my daughter had not finished her work. More important, she would have a chapter test the next day and should have prepared for it.

My daughter thought the other adult was unreasonable and threatened not to go to school any more. “Fine with me. I don’t care,” was the answer. This droved her so mad that she started expressing her anger in as forceful manner as she felt pleased.

The consequence of the fight:
(1) My daughter did not go to bookstore
(2) She wasted the whole unknown amount of time without preparing for the upcoming test.
(3) The result of that chapter test turned out to be the worst of all, directly threatened the whole semester grade and more.
(4) My small table became a shambles
(5) A telephone and others are out of use.

To me, the biggest damage is her study. Both my daughter and I were nearly speechless when we saw the test result. For the rest of the semester, she needs to muster all her energy to pull herself out of the mess. I will have to think twice next time I go back to China.

The fight was ugly to the extreme. It is what it is.



We Appreciate Good Health Only Afterward


I came down with a severe form of flu on Tuesday, the day before I left Beijing and suffered from a low-degreed fever on the day I left till last Saturday morning. The long trip served to aggravate the torture. The headache pressed upon me like a 10-ton hammer. My legs seemed to give away any time. The misery was beyond description. I knew the sun would come out eventually, but still found it hard to go through. I finally made it home by midnight Wednesday.

I went back to the office on Thursday morning. With jetlag, fever, cold and cough and sleep deprivation, I felt like I could not pull through the ordeal this time.

But with the medicine and enough rest over this weekend, miracle did happen and I am alive and kicking again, though still a bit weak.

Meanwhile, I begin to really appreciate the health and energy that I now enjoy, knowing that good health, the root of all, can be taken away relentlessly and most unexpectedly.

For my dear children, do not take your good health for granted; appreciate everyday of your good health and apply it to the best use while you have it.


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