Written by: Education Expert, Principal Cheung Jok Fong

I remember one Sunday when my family and I were at the park for some leisure time. During our visit, I witnessed an incident that I would like to share with everyone through this platform.

I noticed a group of people arguing in the park, and one woman’s voice was particularly loud, catching my attention. Curiosity drove me closer to see what was going on. It turned out that a child was feeding the birds with birdseed in the park, attracting a large group of birds to gather on the grass for food. The park manager stepped forward to stop the child, which greatly upset the child’s mother. I overheard the parent say, “Why can’t I feed the birds here? I have the freedom to do so!” The park manager kindly explained that it could affect public hygiene. The discussion continued, and even some other park visitors joined in. The argument became too intense, and the child started crying out of fear. Finally, the mother exclaimed, “It’s just letting the child feed the birds in the park for a while, why can’t we? It’s unreasonable to be so strict.” With that, she angrily took her child and left.

I believe this mother’s reaction stemmed from an expression of love. Perhaps she didn’t want to see her child disappointed, so she argued with the park manager, trying to allow her child to continue feeding the birds. Her actions were undoubtedly driven by the joy of her child, but she neglected the negative impact it could have on other park visitors. Let’s take another example, some parents enjoy letting their children stand on the seats in the subway, especially when passing sections with scenic views, allowing them to admire the scenery along the way.

From the parents’ perspective, letting the child stand on the seat to see the scenery not only makes the child happy but also allows them to explore the world outside the window, a win-win situation. However, have these parents considered that this may soil the seats? The next passenger who sits there may get their clothes dirty! This kind of consideration that only focuses on the child’s perspective while neglecting the feelings of others is sentimental and blind. In the long run, it can have a negative impact on the child’s growth. In Chinese, the term “溺愛” (spoiling) describes overly pampering and spoiling children by parents, and what is the result of “溺愛”?  means “drowning” the child in indulgence.

It’s important to know that children have a high ability to mimic, and parents are their primary role models. Sometimes people say that a certain child is very similar to their parents, not necessarily in physical appearance, but in their words and actions, resembling their parents. If parents ignore the feelings of others in their actions, children will also become self-centered and indifferent to others, ultimately becoming seen as a “little tyrant” in the eyes of others. How can others enjoy being friends with such a child? Love for children should be rational, and while loving them, parents should also correct their mistakes in a timely manner. Taking the example mentioned earlier, if a child wants to stand on the subway seat to admire the scenery, parents should truthfully tell them that it will dirty the seat, helping them understand that they should consider others’ feelings in everything they do and teaching them how to interact with others in a group setting.

“People say that parents’ love for their children is meticulous.” People say that parents’ love for their children is unconditional, but unconditional love doesn’t mean unconditionally satisfying their desires; it also means correcting them when they make mistakes. This kind of love for children must be rational. “Caring” for children is not just about material satisfaction but ensuring their healthy development in all aspects of body and mind, cultivating their proper values and the ability to discern right from wrong, and making them considerate of others’ feelings. At the same time, adults should lead by example and be models for their children. I believe that under the rational love of parents, children will grow up to be individuals with sound character.