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With a grateful heart, each day presents a fresh opportunity to demonstrate filial piety

With creativity and gentle guidance, children were taught to express their sincere gratitude and love to their parents.

Little actions from the children are enough to make their parents feel extremely happy. (Photo by Ee Fui Chu)

Parents Appreciation Day is a lively and meaningful event at Tzu Chi Great Love Preschool every year.

On 17 May 2024, three preschools in Yishun, Toa Payoh, and Sengkang jointly hosted a simple yet solemn filial piety event. Children served tea, fed their parents, and washed their parents' feet, fostering parent-child interaction and allowing children to express gratitude to their parents. On this day, parents witnessed the growth of their children first-hand.

The teaching of gratitude and filial piety extends beyond the event day. Starting two to three weeks ago, teachers started guiding children aged 18 months to 6 years through the five-stage Jing Si Aphorisms teaching which included listening to stories, experiencing, reflecting, and applying the lessons in daily life.

"Be grateful, be thankful, and repay parents’ kindness"

“There are two things in life that cannot wait: fulfilling filial piety and doing good deeds”

Children of various ages learned different Jing Si Aphorisms of varying lengths and meanings. However, teachers encouraged them to engage in household chores, take good care of themselves, and fulfil their daily duties as expressions of gratitude to their parents.

Teachers rehearsing the tea ceremony with the children a few days before the Parents Appreciation Day. (Photo by Wei Yi Yang)

Children serve tea and wash their parents' feet to express gratitude

The long-awaited day finally arrived. The five-year-old and six-year-old children performed Tzu Chi’s filial piety songs “Kneeling Lamb,” “Thank You,” and “Filial Piety Can’t Wait,” in sign language. Watching their children's tiny, uncoordinated hands attempting sign language, some parents had tears welled up in their eyes, while others had already shed tears.

After the performance, the children gently washed and dried their parents' feet with their tiny hands, a kind gesture filled with love. Without waiting for their teacher's reminder, each child automatically spread and folded the towels on the floor. Through these actions, the children demonstrated their ability to take good care of themselves.

When children perform their daily duties well, even small efforts can deeply touch their parents' hearts, strengthening the bond between them.

“Dash was coughing and feeling unwell that day, but he insisted on completing the ceremony. After returning home, he also insisted on washing his grandparents' and father's feet. They were touched by his actions, but his insistence despite his cough made their hearts ache for him,” said the mother of K1 student Dash Huang Jie Jun. "I am grateful to the teachers who did the rehearsals with my child and instilled filial piety in him."

Children lined up with teacups in their hands, waiting to serve tea to their parents. (Photo by Wei Yi Yang)

Parents deeply moved by their child's thoughtful gestures

The three-year-old (N1) and four-year-old (N2) children carefully carried trays, steadily bringing teacups and biscuits to their parents. When serving food, they fed their parents one bite at a time. At the end, the children did not forget to hug their parents and say, "I love you!"

The youngest children, the two-year-olds, expressed their love by performing the song "Hear Me Say Thank You" and serving tea to their parents. Parents and children also made fruit salad and had an enjoyable time together.

During the food serving session, children aged four to five years old fed desserts to their parents bit by bit. (Photo by Liu Mei)

Parents have always fed their children since birth. But on this day, it was the children's turn to feed them, touching the hearts of many parents. Danny Suyanto, a parent of a four-year-old, said, "Compared to last year, my child is more stable in following instructions and completing the ceremony this year. This made me feel that my child has really grown up."

Preetee Khan, an Indian parent, said that this was her first time participating in the Parents Appreciation Day and that she had a great and memorable experience. She looked forward to attending this event every year.

Teacher Tee Kim Hong was pleased to see how much the children have grown: "By learning how to serve tea respectfully and perform their duties within their abilities, the children have learned to show love and gratitude towards their parents and family members."

Preetee Khan (right), an Indian parent, participated in the Parents Appreciation Day for the first time and said she was deeply touched. (Photo by Lim Kiah Pin)

During rehearsals, the classroom was often filled with the sound of children knocking over cups, and the teachers frequently had to wipe the floor. After all the hard work and practice, seeing the children serve tea independently and smoothly on this day, the teachers were very pleased and said: "It turns out that they can do it."

An Italian parent, Emanuele Comotti, shared: "I am very thankful to the school for arranging this event. I can imagine it required a lot of practice and preparation. I am very happy to have grown closer with my child today. It is fantastic to have this kind of interaction."  

An Italian parent, Emanuele Comotti, shared: “I am very happy to have grown closer with my child today. It is fantastic to have this kind of interaction."  (Photo by Lim Kiah Pin)

According to foreign expert Gary Chapman, humans express love in five ways: words of affirmation, acts of service, sincere gifts, quality time, and physical touch. On Parents Appreciation Day, the children expressed their love and companionship in various ways, including foot bathing, serving tea, massaging their parents, performing sign language, giving hugs, and participating in parent-child games.

Teacher Liu Mei from Sengkang said that actions speak louder than words, thus making it easier for children to understand and internalise the concept of gratitude. She shared: "Washing feet is a traditional way to express respect and gratitude to the elderly. By personally washing their parents' feet, children can intuitively experience and understand the importance of filial piety in traditional culture. They learn to appreciate their parents' hard work and dedication, which fosters a sense of gratitude in them."  

The teachers at the preschool seize every opportunity to instil gratitude in children. They believe that nurturing gratitude from an early age will “make the sky bluer and the sun brighter”.


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