Something that can survive the test of time will certainly get my attention. Especially when it’s more than thousands of years.
I was introduced to this ancient wisdom by a lawyer friend. He is a strong believer in this and he uses this to bring up his children.
He gave me a recorded live workshop on Di Zi Gui and he told me this is the solution to nurture obedient and filial, happy children.
Di Zi Gui literally means “Standards for being a Good Student and Child.” It is an ancient book written based on the teachings of Confucius and it is written in three-character verses. Only 7 chapters with 113 rules. In short, it is a guide for being a good, loving person.
The principles taught in this book are universally applicable, regardless of your ethnicity or religion.
To get a feel of what you get from it, let’s take a look at Di Zi Gui with some of the verses that I like:
- When siblings value their ties more than property and belongings, no resentment will grow among them
- Before an elder, speak softly. But if your voice is too low and hard to hear, you are not being appropriate.
- Before borrowing from others, ask for permission. If you do not ask, you are stealing.
- Rather than talking too much, speak less. Speak the truth; do not twist the facts.
- If criticism makes you angry and compliments make you happy, you will attract bad company, and good friends will shy away from you.
- If you do not make a mistake on purpose, it is only an error. If you do it on purpose, it is evil.
- Love all human beings equally, regardless of their nationality, race, or religion. We are all sheltered by the same sky and we all live on the same planet Earth.
- Repay the kindness of others and let go of your resentments. Spend less time holding grudges and more time paying back the kindness of others.
Don’t you want to teach all the above to your child? I hope you can see the wisdom in this book.
Even though I know modern Mandarin, but ancient Chinese is not something I look forward to as I have a hard time deciphering it. However, there are many translated copies of Di Zi Gui available to you, and there many are already translated in plain, simple English. (See a resource at the end of this article)
How to Best Use “Di Zi Gui”
Treat it no more like just another “story” book that your child reads. Make no difference and special emphasis (though in your mind you know that this book will make a huge difference in your child’s life… as well as yours) on it. Pick a chapter (or section that your child can comprehend and digest) and read to your child before sleep. You can choose to read by following the sequence in the book or you can pick and choose chapters that are more relevant to your child’s age and situations. Read out loud to him and explain to them the meaning of the sentences by giving examples, experiences, and analogies.
Whenever I read Di Zi Gui to my kids, I notice J could pay more attention than K (probably due to his young age). Though I could see K pays no attention when I read Di Zi Gui to them (he just can’t sit still!), but I am confident that K is quietly absorbing some of the principles from the ancient book. Because sometimes, out of a sudden, he can say one or two points from the book when he sees something that is relevant in his daily life.
Keep teaching Di Zi Gui to your children until the end, if possible repeat for a few times, as I think this is especially vital to prepare them to be respectful, independent, street smart, and happy persons – something which is seriously lacking in our society today.