fried eggXi’an Evening News: Mr. Li, who lives in the Longgang Garden community of Weiyang Road, felt both happy and helpless in his situation. His 8 year old son, Mumu, was required by his school to learn the new skill of frying an egg. With encouragement, Mumu developed an unrelenting interested in frying eggs, and every day, he would make them for his father to eat. This continued for 20 days until Mr. Li, who already had high cholesterol, “felt it was torture.” In order to avoid illness while protecting the feelings of his son, Mr. Li could only wait until Mumu was asleep before going home.

Mumu is a cute and lively boy in the 3rd grade at Houzaimen Elementary School. Right after summer break ended, the school told students they had to learn a new skill, with suggestions including sprouting beans and frying eggs. Under the guidance of his mother, Mumu decided to study frying eggs. At the beginning of August, a studious Mumu studied frying eggs with his mother daily. Facing boiling hot oil, Mumu was a bit scared at first, and only slowly dared to make a move. Sometimes the egg was burnt, sometime it was too oily. “Even so, his mother and I thought they tasted good. We didn’t raise him for nothing!” Mr. Li said that with his mother’s encouragement, Mumu’s craft improved, and his eggs tasted better and better, earning the praise of the entire family.

What Mr. Li didn’t realize was that due to the encouragement, Mumu became “addicted” to frying eggs. Every day when he had free time, the first thing he’d do was fry an egg, even posting pictures of the eggs on his class’s QQ group and receiving praise from his classmates. His mother was losing weight, his grandmother couldn’t eat such oily food, so the arduous task of “tasting the egg” fell on his father. At first, it was no big deal, but after more than 20 days of fried eggs, Mr. Li couldn’t quite take it anymore. “I’m scared whenever I see an egg now.” Seeing his son develop a new life skill, Mr. Li was happy, so he did his best to eat them until he “got sick”, and in order to not cause harm to his son’s enthusiasm, he could only continue to force himself to eat them.

Mr. Li said that his cholesterol is already high, and that the doctor has ordered him to eat fewer eggs. But every time he wanted to say, “Daddy can’t eat it,” he’d look at Mumu’s expectantly excited face, and he couldn’t take it. He’d eat the egg. Taking into consideration his own health, Mr. Li has been choosing to go home after 9:30 every night so that his son will already be asleep, and so that he won’t have to eat the eggs.

Would should Mr. Li do? Mrs. Gao, a resident of the same complex, suggests giving Mumu a new recipe, that way they won’t get sick of what he cooks.

Xu Jianguo, a well-known education specialist, expressed his opinion on the matter. “For children, the process of frying an egg is a learning process, and they can expand their cognitive abilities. If I were the parents, I wouldn’t say anything.” Xu Jianguo said that at the root of life is learning, and that the child should be allowed to slowly become “aware and critical” of the situation himself. What the parents don’t want to eat, they can secretly throw away. Although it’s a bit wasteful, the child’s enthusiasm is much more precious.


Date of Publication: 9/17/2013


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bad kid depositOpinions differ among teachers on how to handle so-called “problem students”. In Shaoyang, Hunan, one middle school has implemented a “misbehavior deposit.” On March 4th, a student named Ming from the Wugang City Experimental Middle School reported through the official QQ account of the Xiaoxiang Morning Post that the school was requiring misbehaving students to pay a 1000 RMB deposit. This, he could not understand.


“The deposit made me uncomfortable.”

It was only several days after Ming had paid the new semester’s tuition when he was called into the lead teacher’s office and told that he was required to pay an extra “deposit” of 1000 RMB because he “misbehaved and broke rules last semester.”

“They said I talked during class and caused problems for other students,” said Ming. He already knew about the 1000 RMB “misbehavior deposit”. It’s a kind of school tradition, if you are listed by the school as a problem student, you have to pay. “They don’t return the money until your behavior improves.”

When he got home, he told his parents what the teacher had said. His parents frowned; a thousand RMB is not a small sum, and giving it out wasn’t to be taken lightly. Worse, they felt the situation embarrassing, and put off making the payment. When he saw that the other two “problem students” in his class had already made the deposit, Ming felt conflicted. Should he hand over the money or not? “It made me feel uncomfortable.”


School’s response: We’re making a contract

“The school does this for educational purposes. We hope to form a contract with the student.” On the afternoon of March 4th, Director Deng, the general manager of Wugang Experimental Middle School explained that the thousand RMB misbehavior deposit program does in fact exist, and that it is mainly focused on “mischievous,¬†¬†quarrelsome, and uncooperative” students. According to his explanation, there are over fifty classes at the school, and about ten students who paid the deposit this semester.

The school explained that they collect the deposit to send a message to parents. The school gives a deposit slip to students, so this is a deposit, not a fine. After students “get better”, transfer to another school, or graduate, the money is returned.

Dan Ni, Director of the Changsha Qiushi Educational Consulting Center, feels that the school shouldn’t use deposits and other methods involving money to punish students. “In order to avoid unintended side-effects, students and teachers should get familiar with the inner needs of students instead of relying on quick-fix methods to solve problems.”


Original publication date: 3/5/13


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