Chinese new year (CNY) is always a great time of reunion.
Many of us may be working far away from home town, busy schedule prevents us to visit our parents and relatives often. CNY is one of those beautiful moments you can share with them.
I heard young people telling me that CNY is such a waste of time. Big groups of family friends gather together doing “aimless” activities like gambling, chatting (or gossiping), cooking and washing. CNY is no longer treasured by our younger generations. Why? I can think of a few reasons for this phenomenon.
- Nuclear family structure becoming a norm – How do we define a family now? The first thing comes into our mind is “husband, wife and children”, right? This is our society’s “normal” family structure. We do not encourage living with our parents because they tend to interfere our family affairs. There are many good points to live as a nuclear family – the couple can learn to cope with life independently and therefore develop maturity in their characters. The downside of this is that these children grow up without interacting with grandparents very much. Grandpa and gandma are guests who come to visit them once in a blue moon – and their visits often create arguments between their parents. The antidote is to increase the opportunities for the children to interact with extended family members like going outings, travelling, shopping or having meals together. Do not make CNY is the only time the children meeting their uncles, aunties, cousins and nephews.
- 核心家庭成为常态 – 现在我们如何给“家庭”定义呢？第一个进入脑袋的应该是“丈夫，妻子和他们的孩子们”，对吗？这种“核心家庭”是我们社会所谓正常的家庭结构。我们不再鼓励跟父母同住，因为他们会越权干涉我们的家务事。当然，核心家庭有它可取之处 – 夫妻俩可以学习如何独立处理他们的生活，从而帮助发展他们更成熟的品格。可惜的是这样的家庭结构让剥夺了孩子跟祖父母交流相处的机会。爷爷奶奶，公公婆婆是偶尔在他们家中出现的客人 – 儿往往他们的造访成为父母争吵的原因。处理的方式是让孩子有更多的机会跟延伸家庭成员有更多交流的机会，譬如一起去郊游，野餐，购物或共餐。别让农历新年成为孩子遇见伯伯，叔叔，姑姑，舅舅，姨妈，堂兄弟姐妹，表兄弟姐妹的唯一时间。
- Parents’ hypocrisy – When we are not with the extended family, our children hear complaints and gossips about grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins and nephews. The words are filled with anger, jealousy and sarcasm. During CNY, they see parents’ facial expressions change and sweetest words come out “naturally” from the lips – they are seeing the hypocrisy and they hate it. What the parents ignore or despise, the children reject. The antidote is to be REAL. We live a life which always give honest credit and praise to our extended family members, stop all the striving and jealousy among siblings but be thankful for each one of them.
- 父母虚伪的品格 – 当我们的延伸家庭成员不在身边的时候，孩子听见的都是一些对他们不满的埋怨和闲话。话语中充满着愤怒，妒忌和讥讽。农历新年一到，他们看见父母马上换了另一副嘴脸，好听的话很“自然”挂在嘴边 – 孩子看到的是虚伪，他们讨厌这种嘴脸。父母所忽视和轻视的，孩子就会拒绝。解决的方法就是活得真实。我们愿意常常衷心赞美延伸家庭成员的好，停止所有的彼此争竞和妒忌，也为他们来感恩。
- The influence of Western individualistic culture – The Western education and culture is mostly based on a self-centred operational mode. When parents are not placing importance to the value of community (which is one of the core value of Chinese or oriental culture), mutual love and generosity of blessing others, we should not be surprised by our children’s inclination of living a life looking at their own interest only. They will abhor any inconvenience arising from interacting with extended family which does not bring “benefits” to them. The small amount of money inside the red packets does not worth their effort to endure the inconveniences. The antidote is to teach community and oriental value by living examples. We practice generosity by giving to family and friends’ needs, encourage to live inconveniently for the sake of others, constantly remind our children of the positive value and root of the oriental culture and not idolising the Western culture and value (though they do have many good parts for us to learn from)
- 西方个人主义的影响 – 西方的教育和文化常常以自我为出发点。当父母不再把社群价值观（它是中国和东方文化的核心价值），彼此相爱和慷慨祝福他人的美好品格视为重要，我们不能责怪孩子活出处处只为自己的自私。他们会鄙视任何毫无利益且又带来不方便的相处时间，就算是新年红包里少许的金钱也不足以让他们去承受那么一点点的不便。解决的方式是以身作则，教导他们东方传承的社群文化。我们慷慨解囊帮助有需要的亲戚和朋友，鼓励他们愿意为了别人的好处而忍受一点不方便，不断提醒孩子外国的月亮不比本地的更圆更亮 （虽然西方文化也有值得我们学习的），东方文化和我们的根里面有许多值得我们去学习和传承的正面价值。
Of course there are many more reasons and ways of helping our children to appreciate CNY and the cultural value therein. You are welcome to give your suggestions via the comment in this post.
Above all, LOVE is the main reason for us to celebrate CNY. We want to share our love with our extended family members. We want to full heartedly wish them goodwill and blessings.
A Christian friend share this CNY song with me via his FB. It was composed by his church friends. I love it – CNY is a time we recount God’s grace and blessings and be thankful in our hearts. CNY is also a time we want to share with our extended family members, relatives and friends the love of Jesus as we experience it daily.
一个基督徒朋友在面子书分享了这首他教会会友所编写的贺岁歌曲。我很喜欢 – 农历新年是我们回想神的恩典和祝福，且怀感恩的心来赞美他。农历新年，我们也要跟亲朋戚友分享耶稣的爱 – 因为我们每天都经历耶稣的爱！
I hope you enjoy this new CNY song – 蒙福