In Confucian Philosophy, Filial Piety is a virtue of respect for one’s parents, elders, and ancestors. In more general terms, filial piety means to be good to one’s parents; to take care of one’s parents; to engage in good conduct not just towards parents but also outside the home so as to bring a good name to one’s parents and ancestors; to perform the duties of one’s job well so as to obtain the material means to support parents; to not be rebellious; to show love, respect and support; to display courtesy. While the central values of this teaching seem like common sense, surprisingly, youths nowadays lack filial respect towards their parents.
Hailing from the rural regions of the conservative nation of South Korea, I grew accustomed to the values and teachings of Confucius. One day, our family decided to move away to the United States, where cultural differences were vast and the teachings of Confucius obscure. Because of this I am aware of the fact that the Western side of the globe is not familiar with the concept of Filial Piety. But that doesn’t mean that the American family values do not teach one to respect their parents and elders, as it is seen in the ten commandments of the Bible- “Honour thy father and thy mother”. However, youths nowadays are straying from the paths of Confucius and the Bible, entering the path of darkness and evil.
However, does one need specific teachings and instructions from a notable figure to know to respect their parents? Parents give you life, your fortunes, your situations, etc. No matter how bad you think your parents are, it is important to remember this- your parents are the reason you are alive. Always be thankful of your situation and simply be respectful; it is not hard.
To gather the Fairfax High School students’ general opinion on this matter, the Rebel Roar conducted a survey, electronically and manually, with grade level ranging from freshmen to seniors. Out of twenty students who participated in the survey, nearly seventy percent of them, when asked if “youths lack respect towards their parents nowadays”, responded “yes”. To further develop on their thought, the respondents who answered “yes” were asked to elaborate why they thought that this was the case, with one respondent explaining that this was due to “American culture putting an ever increasing emphasis on individualism, pushing filial piety away from what is expected of the youth. The selfishness that is currently enveloping the nation’s young knows no allegiances; siblings, friends, and even parents are not considered worthy of the individual’s loyalty, and
thus filial piety has dissipated to a dramatic degree.” Another respondent said that “youths nowadays just take advantage of their parents.” Clearly, youths nowadays seem to be aware of the fact that children are becoming less respectable as days go by.
With respondents of this survey generally having a negative view on other students’ attitude towards their parents, I grew curious about how the respondents thought that they treated parents using a scale system ranging from one to five, one being the worst, five being the best. Curiously enough, out of twenty who gave a response, none of the responses placed themselves below a three, typically placing themselves under four and five. Now, what can this result mean? It means that generally, youths are aware of the disrespect that is going on, but they see that they desire to make improvements in the way they treat their parents. An indeed a positive outlook from a generally not-so-positive results.
Some might say that because the concept of “Filial Piety” is a Confucian philosophy, which originates from the Far East, youths of a typical American family will not be aware of the concept. However, this should not be an excuse for one to go around and disrespect his or her parents. As mentioned earlier, this concept of “respecting one’s parents” exists in Christian culture as well. Plus, is it not a common sense to respect one’s parents? Being unfamiliar with the concept of Filial Piety should never be an excuse to disrespect one’s parents.
The United States of America is a great nation, with many nations around the world looking up to her wealth and diversity of culture. However, to maintain America as a great nation, it is crucial for the youths to respect their parents and their elders, follow the words of the great teacher Confucius, follow the words of God, and just follow common sense.