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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Saturday, 02 May 2015 18:08

Kindergarten Children Show Filial Affection to Parents through Foot-bathing

Written by  Yong Siew Lee, Melaka / Translated by Jacqueline Khoo

Tong Siong Yeow (1st right) and his son, Ray, carefully applied hand cream for his father, to express his gratitude. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
Tzu Chi Melaka Branch

At the Parents’ Appreciation Ceremony organized by the Da Ai Kindergarten, Melaka, some students brought their parents and grandparents along. After gently wiping their parents’ hands and bathing their feet, the four-to-six-year-olds showed their filial affection towards their grandparents together with their parents.


 
Lim Ai Yu, 4, wiped her mother’s hands attentively using a handkerchief with a light scent of lemon before applying hand cream on them. Then, under her teacher’s guidance, she bathed her parents’ feet.
 
Little Ai Yu’s attentiveness moved her mother, Huang Shus Huey, to tears. She said, “I’m so touched today. When my daughter bathed my feet and massaged my hands, I was reminded of my parents…” She was so busy taking care of her one-month-old youngest daughter that she had almost forgotten about the Parents’ Appreciation Ceremony. She and her husband, Lim Soon Leng, immediately rushed over when reminded.
 
The couple had thought of bathing their elders’ feet during Chinese New Year, but did not have the courage to do so. Now, they have the confidence to do this from their daughter’s actions.
 
Practise filial piety now
 
Throughout the years, the Da Ai Kindergarten had organized various activities to instill filial piety in the children, such as, through card-making, baking, flower presentation, tea serving and foot bathing. After a large-scale Parents’ Appreciation Ceremony in 2009, the kindergarten has turned to conducting small-scale ceremonies in recent years.
 
On May 2, 2015, 65 families (about 200 people) attended the meaningful event at the kindergarten’s invitation. The four-to-six-year-olds wiped and massaged their parents’ hands and bathed their feet to express their filial affection to the latter.
 
“We hope to promote filial piety and plant the seeds of kindness in these children as well as inspire their parents to teach by example, all of which are badly needed by society,” said Teacher Koh Siew Ting, the Event Coordinator. After discussions, the teachers felt that the promotion of recycling and filial piety are most needed in our materialistic world today. Thus, when designing the activities, they added more elements on doing good, practising filial piety and recycling.
 
Through the teaching of Jing Si Aphorisms in class, elements like saying good words, doing good deeds and practising filial piety have become the children’s life habits, and not just on special occasions like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
 
Some children would make their own beds, give massage to their parents, serve their parents water, and express their gratitude in words, for example: “Mummy, the food you cooked is delicious!”, “Daddy, thank you, I love you…” and “Daddy, mummy, I will behave myself”.
 
As they were attentively serving their parents and elders under the guidance of the emcee and teachers, some children were heard saying, “Daddy and mummy love us, so we must love them too” and “Daddy and mummy have been working hard for us.” 
 
Parent’s actions will affect children
 
“Da Ai Kindergarten emphasizes on humanities, which is the most important and most needed education in society today,” said Tong Siong Yeow, who rushed back from Kuala Lumpur for the event. After his four-year-old son, Tong Ray, massaging and bathing his feet, Siong Yeow turned to his mother, Wong Choon Lian, gave her a massage, bathed her feet and hugged her while expressing his gratitude.
 
Siong Yeow is deeply grateful to his parents for taking care of Ray while his wife is furthering her studies overseas. He and his son then knelt before their father/grandfather, Tong Yong Soo, and bathed and wiped the latter’s feet and hands respectively.
 
“We must clean them well,” said little Ray. After the foot bath, the father and son held Yong Soo’s hands on one side each, and applied hand cream attentively; and this action moved Yong Soo to tears.
 
“I am grateful to Tzu Chi for organizing this activity, thus giving me a chance to learn,” said Siong Yeow. Although it has been a practice for his family to bow and serve his parents tea during Chinese New Year, they had never offered the elders a foot-bath.
 
“My child’s sincerity touched me a lot. He may be too young to understand the real meaning, but I can see his heedfulness,” said Siong Yeow, who showed filial affection to his parents with the same genuineness.
 
Siong Yeow’s obedience not only touched his parents, but also affected Ray in many ways. Little Ray is caring and courteous, and would always use words like “please” and “thank you” in his daily dealings. His grandmother shared that, “No doubt education in school is good, but the parents’ conduct is important too. Without setting a good example, they would not be a positive influence.”
 
Parents reflecting upon themselves
 
Nah Ying Wa and her daughters, five-year-old Tan Zi Ying and four-year-old Tan Zi Xuan, bathed their mother/grandmother, Kang Poy Tiang’s feet. Following that, the little girls sweetly expressed their gratitude to both their mother and grandmother. Ying Wa said, “When we teach our children to be obedient, we must also reflect upon ourselves. Our actions must be consistent with our words.”
 
Four-year-old Eh Yu Wei was bad-tempered and had little interactions with her parents, who were always busy at work. After studying at the Da Ai Kindergarten, she has shown concern for her teachers on rainy days wondering if they could get wet, and would caringly offer her mother, Ee Yi Shi, a massage. Her mother shared, “I am thankful to Tzu Chi’s kindergarten. I could see my child is growing up. This is a meaningful event, which enables the children to practise filial piety and reminds us parents to fulfil our filial duties.”
 
Howe Poh Lin brought along her mother and her son, Teo Zhi Jie to attend the event. Immersed in the atmosphere, the mother said emotionally, “Before my father passed away in an accident, he called me home for a meal. Fortunately, I seized the chance and there are no regrets.” With her personal experience, she reminded all that filial piety cannot wait.
 
 
In the “Confucian Analects”, one of Confucius’ students, named Zi Xia, asked his teacher about “filial piety”. Confucius replied, “In fulfilling our filial duties, the most difficult yet precious thing is to show a pleasant face.” 
 
During the Parents’ Appreciation Ceremony, many young parents reflected on what filial piety is, and whether or not they themselves have performed their filial duties well, as they observed their children’s actions.
 
Upon reflection, Shus Huey, who had never bathed her mother’s feet before this, and had often taken her parents’ kindness for granted and would occasionally show them an unpleasant face shared, “When I go back, I must check my attitude. I will care for my mother with gentleness and heedfulness.” Shus Huey even planned to bathe her mother’s feet together with her daughter to express her gratitude for her mother.
 
 
On May 2, 2015, students and parents of Da Ai Kindergarten, Melaka, attended the Parents’ Appreciation Ceremony at the premises of Tzu Chi Melaka. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]   The kindergarten children entered the hall in a single file with bathing supplies. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

On May 2, 2015, students and parents of Da Ai Kindergarten, Melaka, attended the Parents’ Appreciation Ceremony at the premises of Tzu Chi Melaka. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
The kindergarten children entered the hall in a single file with bathing supplies. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
Nah Ying Wa bathed her mother, Kang Poy Tiang’s feet together with her daughters, Tan Zi Ying and Tan Zi Xuan. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]   Inspiring short videos filled the ceremony with emotions. The young parents and their families were emotionally moved and did a small sharing after the ceremony. [Photograph by Chin Fook Kuen]

Nah Ying Wa bathed her mother, Kang Poy Tiang’s feet together with her daughters, Tan Zi Ying and Tan Zi Xuan. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]
 
 
Inspiring short videos filled the ceremony with emotions. The young parents and their families were emotionally moved and did a small sharing after the ceremony. [Photograph by Chin Fook Kuen]
 
In conjunction with the upcoming Parents’ Day, the kindergarten hopes that through filial piety activities, the children could express their love and filial affection to their parents and elders. [Photograph by Hong Geok Hui]   Lim Ai Yu bathed her parent’s feet attentively. Moved by her purity, her mother, Huang Shus Huey, planned to bathe her mother’s feet too when she returns home. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]

In conjunction with the upcoming Parents’ Day, the kindergarten hopes that through filial piety activities, the children could express their love and filial affection to their parents and elders. [Photograph by Hong Geok Hui]
 
 
Lim Ai Yu bathed her parent’s feet attentively. Moved by her purity, her mother, Huang Shus Huey, planned to bathe her mother’s feet too when she returns home. [Photograph by Yong Siew Lee]