Hardships Can Be a Good Thing to Young Folks


My sister told me that her son jokingly complained about the hardship of leaving home for America. This reminds me of the complaints made by another young relative when he first came in May 2006.

Understandably, nothing is the same when he lives away from home, with no one serving his meals, washing his clothes, etc. Even air conditioning is not as cold as it is at home. The young man said it was like living in China’s countryside. Indeed, it must be so for most of children of wealthy second generation.

They are like growing up in a bottle of honey, metaphorically speaking, with everything provided and without ever tasted a day of hardship in their lives.

I once told my sister that for most people, coming to America could be life-changing experience. First of all, you got nobody to turn to and have to be utterly independent by working your way up. Secondly, with a heightened sense of insecurity, you are more keen on saving than spending. Hence, you have to learn to live a more thrify life in America than you are in China.

I thought my sister would go soft on her son, telling him to buy whatever he needs for his comfort level. She turns out much wiser than I thought. She thought it a good thing that her son had some tough days in his life, the so-called tasting bitterness (chi ku) in Chinese. She said children growing up in China now were too much spoiled, having never known what hardship means in life. With this experience, he will learn to be tough and appreciative of what he has in life.

I wish my children had an opportunity of going through some form of hardships in life. Such experience can exert life-changing impact on people.

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