14 November 2016

Dao gives life, love and freedom - The Parenting Model - DaiDeJing 51

The most amazing about Dao is giving birth, caring till maturity and freely let go. It is the model for parenting. Read the details in DaoDeJing 51.
DaoDeJing Chapter 51 Text and Translation

1 道生之,德蓄之,物形之,势成之。
The Dao gives birth to it (giving it life). Virtues build it up. Materials form its shape. The energy completes it.

2 是以万物莫不遵道而贵德。
Hence, all things respect Dao and honor virtues.

3 道之生,德之贵,夫莫之命而常自然。
The birth/creation of Dao, the values of virtues, are all being followed naturally.

4 故道生之,德蓄之,长之育之,亭之毒之,养之覆之。
Hence Dao gives its birth, virtues develop it. Feed it, teach it, mature it, give its the right values, care and protect it.

5 生而弗有,为而弗恃,长而弗宰,是谓玄德。
Giving birth and yet don't own it. Work for it yet not count on it. Grow it yet not control it. Such is called the great virtues.

What is parenting? What are the responsibilities?

Lao Zi tells us parenting is more than just giving births. In verse 1, he gives the four responsibilities:
  1.  Giving birth
  2. Teaching them to accumulate the right values.
  3. Shaping it physical forms - enabling it to grow up to take shape
  4. Empowering it.
In verse 4, it expounds the 4 things further into birth, development with right values, enables it to grow up,  teach him, get him to stand up independently, teach him to decide right and wrong, feed him and protect him. We can see the great responsibility for parents is to help their children to grow-up to independent and knowing the right and wrong. But Lao Zi says this is no enough, there is still one more step.

The Final Step - Letting Them Go 
Verse 5 tells us what is letting go. Even though the parents give birth to their children, they are not the owners of their children. They are just custodians until they grow up. Parents are not to hold on tightly their children. There is a time to them go. Parents cannot control their children. They have to let them make their own decisions. Own not, hold not and control not represent letting the grown-up children go and give them their freedom to run their own lives.

Business is like that too.
Many businesses cannot grow and some even close down because their founders refuse to let go the control of the business. The founders should train up their successors and then let them run the business step by step. If there be anything to hold on to, it will be the foundation values of Dao and lives that the parents and owners have to remind their successors to stick to them for their own good.

Lim Liat (c) 14 Nov 2016

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