寫給家長看的

2011 年1月9日星島日報《信懷南專欄》﹐1月12 日上網

        前陣子教會裡有幾對年輕夫婦向我們這些所謂「過來人」請教怎麼教養小孩。老實說﹐我對政治性和宗教性的討論向來抱著「我怕怕」的心態﹕能避免就避免﹐不能避免就儘量少發表「寶貴意見」以免惹禍上身﹐麻煩接踵而至。

        在我看起來﹐政治性的討論﹐發言者擅長把簡單的問題複雜化﹕明明是很簡單的一個問題﹐偏偏要搞到真理越辯越氣才一哄而散。宗教性的討論則正好相反﹕明明是很複雜的問題﹐偏偏要用one size fits all 的標準答案去硬套﹐結果是說了等於沒說。

        那天在場的幾對年輕人﹐大都是大陸來的﹐他們圍繞的問題還是小孩該不該學鋼琴﹐該不該學中文這種老掉牙的問題。親子關係﹐在過去十幾年我不知道寫過多少篇文章談過﹐他們反正不知道我是誰﹐也不看我的文章﹐因此我也不想在那場合發表「我的寶貴意見」。在我看來﹐年輕父母真正的問題不在小孩該不該學鋼琴或該不該學中文﹐真正的問題是究竟應該怎麼教養小孩﹐小孩才會成器。

        每次看到報上刊登有「專家」要談怎麼教養小孩的時候﹐我就很想去見識見識那些「專家」有什麼與眾不同的高見。教養小孩是天下最容易說但最難做的事。就算什麼都做對了﹐也不能保證有一定的效果 (end-result)﹐天下還有比這還難的事嗎﹖有人也許會問﹕那閣下有什麼高見呢﹖從「東西兩福」的成績單來看﹐你老大好像對教養小孩有兩把刷子的樣子。何不敝帚不必自珍﹐野人也可獻曝一下﹖

        OK﹐既然是觀眾要求﹐那就恕掌門人放肆了。《信門密笈》有關教養小孩成器的記載﹐只有兩字訣和四字訣。兩字訣是「運氣」﹐四字訣是在「運氣」前加「身教」兩個字。

        有人﹐尤其是教育子女專家﹐認為我說教養出成器的小孩靠運氣是胡說八道。Die hard 的基督徒更是不能接受「運氣」的說法。他們認為天下只有「神的旨意」沒有「運氣」這回事。唉﹐有的人就是喜歡把自己的迷信視為信心﹐把別人的信心視為迷信。我所謂的「運氣」﹐是說不管做父母的怎麼用心良苦地去教養他們的子女﹐就算該做的都做對了﹐到最後還是盡人事聽天命﹐這和基督徒所謂「聽從神的旨意」是同樣的意思。反過來看﹐有的父母根本對小孩死活不管﹐但小孩後來也能出人頭地﹐在我看起來﹐這也是「運氣」的一種。凡是結果不是我們能控制的就是我所謂的「運氣」﹐子女成不成器﹐決定權不在我們做父母的手裡﹐我講這話﹐是以過來人的身分勸望子成龍﹐望女成鳳的父母﹐別對自己的小孩不成器太自責。

        也許有人看到這裡要火大了﹐抗議道﹕你這不是空口說白話嗎﹖「盡人事而聽天命」﹐天命等於運氣﹐我能接受﹐但人事是啥你根本沒講﹐這算什麼《信門密笈》﹖稍安勿躁﹐《信門密笈》的四字訣﹐馬上登場。

        在所有教育子女的方式中﹐「身教」是最有效的一種教育方式。19 世紀英國有名的詩人 William Wordsworth 有一句很有名但不容易明白的詩句﹕ The child is father of the man. 這句名詩和 Like father like son 的涵義有點類似﹐是「有其父必有其子」的意思。我們的子女﹐冷眼旁觀我們日常的行為﹐這種潛移默化的力量﹐遠遠超過你我的想像。我們常說「言教不如身教」﹐身教其實也有正反兩種方式﹐你可以像很多成功的父母教子女什麼是對的事﹐但也可以學我﹐我曾經告訴我兒子﹕「我對你最大的愛﹐就是示範給你看﹐什麼事做得不對 (things NOT to do)。」這也許是我和我兒子間的玩笑話﹐但重要的是﹕教養子女﹐如果能善用反面教材﹐效果和正面教材一樣有用﹐端看家長們會不會「教」。

        Kahlil Gibran 是黎巴嫩出生後來入籍美國的詩人﹐他的詩僅次於莎士比亞和老子(洋人把《道德經》當詩賣)﹐號稱在歷史暢銷排名榜上名列第三。Kahlil Gibran 生前寫過一首On children 的詩﹐詩人用弓﹐箭﹐射手的關係來闡述父母教育子女的道理﹐此詩是任何做家長的必讀之物。

        「想法」 (thoughts) 影響「態度」 (attitude)﹐「態度」影響「性格」 (personality)﹐「性格」影響「人生」 (life)。父母的想法影響子女的想法﹐最後影響他們的人生。這篇文章﹐是我送給天下年輕的﹐年長的家長們的新年禮物。

懷南補記﹕掌門人文章最大的特色是看起來在鬼扯淡(蛋)﹐其實不是﹐端看看文章的人本身的功力。這也是為什麼我一開始就把我的風格定位在 xinbuxin (信不信) 的主調上。這也是陶淵明詩中「此中有真意﹐欲辯已忘言」的具體實踐。其實有什麼好辯的﹖「我的寶貴意見﹐你的不寶貴意見﹐他的 *&%$&^% 意見」﹐換個立場﹐「你」變成了「我」﹐於是「你的不寶貴意見」就成了「我的寶貴意見」。同樣的道理﹐「我的寶貴意見」就變成了「你的不寶貴意見」。Got it? 倒霉的是「他」﹐因為他的意見永遠是 *&%$&^% 的。我扯這些和本文有啥相干﹖Beats me﹖嘿 嘿 嘿

       OK, 文章中提到Kahlil Gibran 的On children 。照抄如下﹐各位自己去體會吧。

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you can not visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but to seek not to make them to like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,so he Loves also the bow that is stable.

       除了我認為父母的想法 (thoughts) 可以影響子女的想法外﹐我對這首詩的基本看法完全同意。但諷刺的是當我把這首詩送給我兒子後有一天我問他對這首詩有什麼看法﹖他說他沒仔細讀。You see what I mean? 做父母的能力 (power) 其實非常有限。

       我們做父母親的時候沒人給我們講這些。我們的子女做父母親的時候﹐我們告訴他們這些﹐他們又不一定會聽。你懂我為什麼強調教養小孩「運氣」很重要的原因了吧﹖點到為止﹐就此打住。


懷南補補記 (1/13/11)﹕收到幾封讀者來信。一字不改﹐附錄於下。一併致謝。


Mr. Xin:

        Right On! I could not agree with you more. “運氣”is everything. You can do everything right but getting different result. What works for you not necessary works for me. Just like running software, sometimes a warning message shows up: “Unpredictable result may happen, proceed with care”. Raising kids is very much the sameJ. My personal observation is “三歲定終生”.

Cheers

A W


(來信為簡體字﹐被我的中文軟體統一掉了。特此聲明。 懷南)

聽說冰心初到美國時,在康乃爾學Franais, 就給"The Prophet"迷上了, 她是第一位把它譯成中文的.後來我讀到胡适的"關于我的兒子".我認為多少是從"Children" 詩中悟來的.(不好意思說是抄來的). 祝芼安     周草


Dear Mr. Xin:

        Thank you for introducing me Wordsworth's poem, which I never paid attention to. As far as the verse “The child is father of the man” is concerned, there are so many different interpretations that I can find on the web. Your interpretation of the verse is “Like father like son” or 「有其父必有其子」. My interpretation is different. I hope I can share mine with you.

        The first few lines of the poem go like:

My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old, or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;

        It seems to me what it said was, the excitement of beholding a rainbow on the sky never changed in the poet, whether he was a little baby, or an adult, or when he grows older. In terms of Chinese, I would prefer “由小看大, 從小看大” as more appropriate translation.

Best Regards,

Luen


信老大,

        以前曾經用英文給你寫了幾封信,也承您回函,最近搞了中文語音輸入,決定開始用中文寫,比較煞癮。

        這一期你的大作『寫給家長看的』,好死不死,跟上週末出版的一本掀起軒然大波的新書剛好撞期。為了銷售起見,這書當然得取一個響亮的書名,叫做”Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”,有點嚇人。用老中標準來跟看更是略嫌張牙舞爪,可是遠不及華爾街日報的新書簡介標題”Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior”更為悚動。這下子捅翻馬蜂窩,網上罵聲不斷。正反兩方意見份量足夠寫出另外一本書,你一定會有興趣。

        此書作者叫做Amy Chua,是個祖籍福建的菲律賓華僑,根據Wiki,他的父親是UC Berkley電機系的名教授,移民美國,Amy 本人是哈佛學士及法學士,兩個女兒似乎還是十幾歲,但看起來才華洋溢,所以這位Amy女士顯然對自己一家祖孫三代的教育非常有自信,而且不介意將自己作為學習的樣板。我只看了摘要,老實說文章裡頭的口氣以及內容(例如七歲女兒彈鋼琴),我雖然不能說不熟悉,但是我還是略為反感。除了佩服Amy女士的勇氣(或是財迷心竅或是愚蠢),實在沒有辦法大力讚揚。這個書可能更加深了一般老美對中國式教育的刻板影響。

        我個人同意信老大的意見,就是小孩子教育成功與否,運氣扮演很重要的成分。這本書可能會提供我們這類想法的另外一個極端的佐證。不妨參考一下人家鋼鐵是怎麼煉成的。   Jay 1/14/11

Dear Jay:

       我還沒有機會看過 Amy Chua 的書﹐但關於這本書的消息﹐在網上和報上看過。根據中文報的記載﹐她說她寫這本書的目的不是教人怎麼教育子女﹐而是分享自己被她母親教和她教她女兒的經驗談。華爾街日報把新聞炒熱﹐幫她推銷書。這是自由經濟的正常運作。

       我多年前就說過﹕老中太太配猶太人先生﹐生出來的子女天下無敵。信然。

       我還有另外一個感想。有出息的子女﹐在出回憶錄的時候都會感謝父母的嚴格要求。沒出息的子女對父母的管教就不提﹐也沒機會提了。換句話說﹐只有「鋼」才有發表寶貴意見的機會。鐵煉不成鋼的就免談了。我就是不相信天下有每煉都成鋼的專家。 Ms Chua 不妨多生幾個來煉煉看﹖

       懷南敬覆


Dear Mr. Xin,

        How are you? It seems to me that 2 different kinds of people might have two different views on parenting or on life in general. Those individuals with so called "inner locus (of control)" tend to believe the degree of achievements are linearly proportional to the level of efforts one puts in. And, the ones with outer locus of control doesn't believe in such co-relation or the certainty of such co-relation.

        Evidently, Amy Chua is such a person strongly believes in "active parenting" (please read the attached). To me, she does take that to an extremely high level.

Best,

Bill


Teacher Xin:

        I like the poem you introduced.

        下面是對詩的理解。不理解的是:誰是射手?詩人也許不是基督徒,但他為何把射手的“他”用了大寫?指上帝、命運還是其他?

        Thanks.

YZ

你的孩子並非你的孩子。
他們是生命對自己的渴望而產育的兒女。
他們通過你但並不來自你,
他們與你相隨卻不屬於你。
給他們你的愛而不是你的思想,
因為他們的思想出自他們自己。
你能容納他們的身體而不是他們的精神,
他們的精神棲於明日。
明日之域不能拜訪,連在夢堻ㄓㄕ獢C
你可以力求像他們,
卻不能圖求使他們像你。
生命不可逆行也不能在昨日徘徊停頓。
你是弓,
孩子們是活生生的箭脫弓而出。
射手看準的靶點
在那無盡的蒼穹。
他力盡曲弓,
才使一箭箭驟然遠飛。
欣然接受在射手手中的彎曲吧!
他愛飛出的箭,也愛穩固的弓。

YZ 是多年讀友﹐原居美國﹐現海歸大陸。一直是用繁體中文和我通信。頗為心感。 懷兩附記於 1/18/11 胡錦濤訪美日


Dear Senior,

        amen to your recent post regarding how to educate the children. to share a bit of your thoughts, the 'luck' that you mentioned in the article, my husband always likes to call it as a kind of 'feng shui', meaning that after fulfilling parents' responsibility to educate the kids, if the family's been granted with good feng shui or = being blessed, then the end result of role-modeling to the children might as well become a win-win situation for both parties...

        i first read 'the prophet' was about eight years ago, my son gave the book to me after he finished reading it. at the time, our two children were at their much younger era, while ourselves as parents, were still lingered around to end the so called 'mid-aged crisis' life; many times we had openly gone through those pros & cons, likes and dislikes - in seeing, learning/weighing, up to a mutual acknowledgment on certain kind of values. some tough times yet precious experiences had been shared amongst, tears and laughs... so to reflect on Kahlil Gibran's 'on children' was at least, taught to be more sensitive if i may say. (his 'on marriage' was also impressing, by the way).

        mutual respect (but not compromise), helped minimizing the gap lay in between.

        there is no 'incidents' though in God's way if you would agree with me.

Best,

yy

Dear YY

       這些年來妳一直稱呼我 Senior﹐我想妳大概是想稱呼我「學長」吧。我不知道英文裡有沒有學長這個名詞﹐用 upper classmate 或 upper schoolmate 又沒有學長那麼親切。

       妳信中提到的 「feng shui」應該指的是「風水」吧。我個人是不信這一套的。也許有一天我會寫一篇叫《迷信運氣和信心》的文章﹐這是三碼子不同的事。對我來說﹐風水是迷信﹐運氣是或然率﹐都是很清楚的事。唯獨「信心」不是三言兩語講得出一個結論的。它可能是世界上最偉大的情操﹐也可能是世界上最可笑的愚蠢。

       從妳 There is no 'incidents' though in God's way 的結論看﹐妳應該是基督徒或天主教徒。信上帝和信風水 應該是 mutually exclusive 的。沒錯﹐我同意在一個有信心的基督徒心目中﹐天下沒有意外也沒有運氣這回事。能否接受這個觀點是基督徒和非基督徒間最大的爭論之一。「凡事沒有意外」和「凡事都有原因」又是兩個不同層次的問題。這是為什麼我一開始就指出﹕「在我看起來﹐政治性的討論﹐發言者擅長把簡單的問題複雜化﹕明明是很簡單的一個問題﹐偏偏要搞到真理越辯越氣才一哄而散。宗教性的討論則正好相反﹕明明是很複雜的問題﹐偏偏要用one size fits all 的標準答案去硬套﹐結果是說了等於沒說。」。這大概算得上掌門人少有的生平總結之一了吧。   Senior Schoolmate 懷南敬覆 1/20/11)


Hi, Xin Dai Lo

        Will email you my thoughts on parenting. Though I do not have the opportunity to become a mother, I would like to share my thoughts on parenting. In a lot of ways, I don't agree on how my late father's way - too strict in a way, and if I may say, he doesn't know what he is doing. Yes.. everybody learns to become a parent, nobody will get a degree in Parenting before they have babies. However, unfortunately, my Dad was in the education sector, and he was a U-grad (really top of the cream in his era). For this reason, there is always a grudge in me that I should have achieved much better than I fare now. Of course, I am not using my Dad as an excuse for what I can't achieve, but just to be fare, like my sister-in-law commented, my Dad pushed us too hard, but didn't give us adequate resources (including the freedom to experience and explore) and support.

        I have 4 siblings, but I grew up alone, really alone. My elder sister and brothers had not taught me nor discussed anything with me. My Dad didn't discuss much either with us, only pressed us for good result in school-work. He always said he is there for us to ask questions (his maths, physics, & chemistry are really good!) but, hey.. he didn't realise I don't know what to ask, how to ask. I only ask when I didn't know how to solve a physics or maths problem. Other than that, I just learned the book by heart.. I don't know how to tackle the subjects, the methods.

        Any way, the knowledge and thought about life, I consider myself learning by myself through my own deliberation (with myself). I don't have lots of friends (as my Dad prohibited us socializing) to share thoughts. But somehow, I learn about life, how to behave and react by myself (lots of tears and bitterness, what I described as falling and bumping along the way).

        I don't know about you, but my father had never discussed with us about our future. When I was at school, all I knew was I had to enter university, and for that I had to pass the Form 5 open exam with good results. With respect to what major in university, what career, what are my interest, we never talked. I knew nothing about university curriculum, GPA, nothing about my possibilities. All I know was if I could get into universities in HK, then I will be domed. Overseas education was not in my agenda, not even dare to think about it. Not because my family did have the money, but it's just a "strict NO" from my Dad.

        Really, from how ignorant I was with every matters affecting my education and career, my achievement now work-wise and how I grow as a person, it's a miracle!!! I don't regret the twists and turns I spent in coming so far, but if you ask my gut feeling.... I'd wish my Dad would have discussed with me more, gave me more information, let me the freedom to go out and explore. You know what, I was almost 17, and I was scared to take public transport to go from home to Kowloon across the harbour - scared the hell out of me and only relieve when I was back to HK Island again.

        Anyway, will tell you more about my thought of a parent's role. .

來信者也是一個多年的讀友﹐香港來的﹐住在加拿大﹐常在台灣的政論網路上發表「寶貴/不寶貴/^%$*&^%」意見(看從我你他什麼立場去評斷)﹐「信大佬」的稱呼是她先叫出來的(這些年來﹐別人怎麼稱呼我大概有 二三十種﹐信大佬不是我最喜歡的稱呼之一﹐但我也並不在乎﹐因為比起沒有稱呼﹐有總比沒有好。)

       有一段時期﹐這位朋友的「讀後感」往往在我的專欄上網後 10 分鐘就來了。信門規矩是第一封讀者來信﹐只要是有具名有稱呼﹐我見信後一定回。第二封到第 N 封則要看來信者的誠意和是不是老是問些百萬元的問題來決定回不回。至於來信說要交個朋友﹐討論問題﹐寄篇大作要掌門人「指教」等等的信﹐恕掌門人「洪喬之誤」的罪過。

       這封來信提出一個值得討論的觀點﹕我們日後的成就和我們年輕時是否有父母親的「指導」﹐兩者有沒有直接關係﹖這恐怕是你我常想的問題吧﹗ 懷南補記 1/21/11

Hi Bob,

        It seems like that 教養小孩 is a very hot topic recently. Here's another interesting one (in my opinion).

        Personally, I really don't want my children be a Yes man. However, I feel that we (specially my wife) might have spoiled them too much. One of my sons said to me when I was limiting his video game/TV time during the holidays: "if you don't listen to me, we are not go to listen you." Well, there is a big difference between their understanding of "reasonable" and ours. We send them to Piano lessons and Chinese school. So far they have not complained yet. Guess they understand the give and take because they are planing soccer in a club team year round as well. 運氣!

have a good day. Chao

Hi Chao,

        Both of my two kids have spent 12 years on piano lessons and attending Chinese School. From the point of end-result, it is a total of wasting money and time. However, a message has sent to and imprinted in their mind -- in this family, you can't quit because the going is tough.

        Is this principle (rule) helps them in their lives? the answer seems is a YES! (so far). That is 運氣! too.

懷南敬覆 1/21/11