Sunday, April 20, 2008

Time Tested And Time Honoured Values

I have written articles on the importance of values to our lives for my children and teenage grandchildren as they grow up. They asked me why not share some of these with others like them. The teenage years can be very bewildering. They are constantly being thrust into positions which are very confusing to them. How can they be themselves and lead meaningful and successful lives without knowing actually how to achieve this. I and my children who are now in the early fifties and late forties have lived through this ourselves. How to help our young is a role we must always play although many will disagree. Leaving the children alone is the easy way out. But is this good for them and our society? Are there certain established ways which can help them to make their own decisions correctly? This has bothered us and many parents too. I think there are set ways if only we are prepared to look out for them.

One of the ways I follow is to ask questions and try to find the answers to them. Here is an example.


What do you treasure most in your life?. This sounds like a stupid question. My children thought so when they were young. My teenage grand children have taken over this thinking for a while but are now beginning to appreciate the good in some of our way of thinking . I take this as the generation gap which will narrow down with time and age. As parents we want our family members to grow up and be good citizens. It is exasperating that there are no accepted set paths to do this and our kids are constantly exposed to all sorts of ideas, some of which were not considered to be acceptable to us before. For the younger generation it is just as frustrating not knowing how to achieve what they think they like to have or to be. Our youngsters are looking for guidance on how to succeed in life. Encouraging them to go for money is easy. Teaching them how to earn money in the correct way is a different matter. To teach them good values in words is also not difficult. Some common words used include: love your parents; have integrity, be caring for others, avoid the four vices etc; But to teach others how to live these values is not so easy. This is especially so when our society places strong emphasis on money making above everything else. To do anything different from the newly introduced acceptable norms will cost our young opportunities, effort, money, fun and with no materialistic or other tangible returns. But as grandparents and elders we still have a role to play to guide the future generation to keep them on the “straight and narrow path” which are good for us all now and for our future generations. The teenagers and some younger folks may consider this as interfering with their lives as our society has "endorsed" them. It is fashionable for them to criticize our thinking and our way of life as out of date. How did we come to this?

After years of contemplation on this problem on how to guide the younger generation I think I have found something I have been looking for. This may be only one of the many ways we can take. I lived through some of the values and experiences I treasure without realizing it. What I am going to say is not original or new. But it is something that has been time tested. They work on me, my grown children and friends. That’s why I like to share them with you all.

To me the things I treasure most are “Time Tested And Time Honoured Values”. These are the things I am prepared to sacrifice for, fight for, live for and even die for. The returns are not money or what money can buy. They are emotional satisfaction which is so important for many of us with strong EQ who want to lead a fulfilled life. I like to group these values into two general classes:

Abstracts which needs to be qualified by definitions and quantified by deeds. These involve matters of the heart (emotion) and are more difficult to achieve. People with strong EQ will do well.
Materialistic and quantifiable items which are best handled by the head. These usually include wealth, power, and status. Those with high IQ and connections will excel in this area.

The ideal person should have both - high IQ and high EQ. If we can’t get both all the time, at least we must have a good balance. Getting this balance is the constant challenge for us and for our society. The question is ‘Who decides’? As an individual we decide for ourselves where the balance should be. The leaders will decide for the society, but we can still make our contributions if they are for society’s good. Unfortunately this is not always possible because of differences in opinions, priorities and interests. Under these conditions politics flourishes and the balancing problem continues to persist generations after generations. We must continue to hope that it can and will improve with time and will not regress down the slippery path of no return. As individuals we must not give up our right to contribute where we can.

Like most people, my family and I have gone through good and bad times. My hard times include my childhood in the colonial days, the war years and immediately thereafter (1941 -1948). During these years my EQ was much more active than my IQ. My character was also developed during this period. We were more loving and caring for each other and our fellowmen. I also spent a lot of time in education ( to gain more knowledge and skills which I needed) to strengthen my I.Q. I will try to give some examples in this Blog of how I was taught to acquire and live these values I adopted. Also I will try to explain some of the deeds done which made us proud to be ourselves.

Lee Kum Tatt

5 comments:

Melvin Chen said...

Dr. Lee,

Thanks for the wonderful sharing. It sure helped the younger generation (like myself), understand how parents and grandparents have been struggling to safeguard and impart precious values to their next generation.

You mentioned lessons in life that you've learnt through the war and post-war times. Wonder if you could share with us more. I'm sure it will enrich many of us.

Thank you once again for sharing freely, countless people must have been enriched and learnt a great deal from you.

Lee said...

Dear Melvin Chen
Glad my views are of some use to you.

In our materialistic world imparting values to others is not something many like to do. I have learned some ways of doing this. I will try to share them with people like you who treasure true values in your life.

Your beloved Grandson, Jeffrey said...

Kong kong, you have been a great inspiration to us, you will not see this but believe it, I read your blog often. Thank you for being there when I needed you. Thank you for your life and everything else you have given your family. I should have written this comment so much earlier. I love you so much.

Melvin Chen said...

Dr. Lee has indeed left behind such a great legacy.

His achievements were amazing, but most impacted by his heart and passion for his family, society and life.

Going to miss his words shared on this blog.

What an amazing and great man.

Always your dearest granddaughter, Laura said...

I love you, Kong kong. Just like my brother, Jeffrey, said, you have been an inspiration and blessing to us. I know you will never post on this blog again, but I will try to help and finish the work you have left behind.

I love you.