Monday, May 21, 2012

Confucius for the New Millennium

Confucius (BC 551 - BC 479) was a Chinese politician, teacher, editor, and social philosopher. While his words ring true today, I have modernized his teachings for parents of the new millennium:
 If one cannot resist a marshmallow at three, the trust fund will be spent by 30.

Child who embraces invented spelling is a genius; parent who embraces invented
spelling is an idiot.

Child who does not answer cellphone will soon lose cellphone.

Aspirations: Thank you notes to elders, modest texts to friends, eye contact with parents.

Harboring no displeasure at being FaceBook unfriended, is it not gentlemanly?

Meeting a second cousin at sleep away camp ‐‐ is it not delightful?

Table manners and etiquette classes may impart mobility but seldom nobility.

My student is filial and deferential at home, fraternal with others, and seeking service
for his college applications; energy permitted, he will learn piano.

Rare is the child who keeps a neat room and forgets his lunch money.

A fool studies for the pop quiz but not for EOGs* (End‐of‐Grade Exams).

Child who Skypes with grandparents on Saturday, empties dishwasher on Sunday, and
fails exam on Monday – he is still a wise a child, even if his GPA does not reflect it.

Child who gets what he wants is good‐natured, respectful and discreet; he is not like his

A gentleman who does not present himself with dignity will not be given the keys to the

Be unafraid to use an eraser.

Be unafraid to show your work.

Realize that none of your friends are inferior to you; it just looks that way.

For a yet‐to‐be‐thrown keg party, think carefully to its end, and think long about its
consequences. Upon these practices the neighborhood association’s virtues are built.

Son has the right to offer his opinion; parent has the right to ignore it.

All are welcome to be taught, as long as they have internet access.

When Mother and Father answer differently, it is wise to stop asking.

Write with simplicity, directness, and economy of words. This does not mean dropping
your vowels.

Truth may hurt, but a lie will hurt more if you are grounded.

A gentleman is without worry or fear; he is on medication.

Be without criticism until you have cleaned your room and taken out the garbage.

Worry not that you have only 350 Facebook friends; worry that you haven’t written
your book report.

The quarterback is praised not for his vigor, but for winning the science fair.

At play, match your peers; at church, you have to wear a shirt with a collar.

Shortcut to wisdom is long; read the book.

Rules of love are many, but above all, do not hit on your sister’s friends.

It is one thing to feed the dogs and another to get the kibble in the bowl.

To raise your hand in Algebra when you are lost and to admit it – this is knowledge.

To see that the toilet paper roll should be changed and not to do it is to want of courage.

Express your joy in moderation; express your grief without totally freaking out.

The bus has passed without you on it; it is needless to blame; go out and find your own

How to play the violin may be known; at the commencement of the piece all parts
should sound together; but this is often not the case, not even at a Suzuki recital.

Head cheerleader might be perfectly beautiful and perfectly nice; on the other hand, she
may not.

The man who does not parkour, seldoms breaks his wrist.

If a man in selecting a locker location does not fix upon whether the owners of the
lockers beside him have PMS, how can he be wise?

If the will be set on virtue, there will be no practice of lacrosse inside the house.

He who acts with much view to his own advantage will be much discussed at Parent‐
Teacher conference.

It is better to miss the yearbook picture for “Smartest” while in library studying, rather
than to not know where the library is.

When the classroom has a teacher, talent will not be wasted; when the class has a
substitute, there will be many candidates for penalty and punishment.

One appears more noble if one keeps one’s trap shut.

He on the longboard is more courageous than I. But he lacks judgment.

Do good deeds; but what good are they if you do not post them on Twitter so that you
may be praised?

Your friends may not Like your status post, but take no heed; your great uncle in Des
Moines will.

 --- Amy C. Spaulding is the publisher of Sleepy Hollow Books, an educational publishing
company for the middle grades based in Durham, North Carolina. You can reach her at: