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Cultural Differences

Giving Praise
by Catherine

“I’m very proud of you!”

As a Chinese person, I’m very proud of my culture, but there is something I really don’t like. My parents seemed chary of giving praise to their children.

If I got an A on the test, they would ask, “How many students got an A in your class?” If only I did, they would say, “Could you get an A next time?” Even if I got another A, they would say, “Don’t be conceited! You may fall behind next time!”

However how hard I tried, they never said, “We’re very proud of you!”

Can you imagine how frustrated I was?

In fact, not only my parents but also many people have never said those words to their children.

I understood why they did so when I grew up because Chinese culture believes “Modesty helps one to go forward, and conceit makes one lag behind.” It is true, but the problem is many Chinese children are lacking self-confidence.

Canadians like to say “Well done!” “Good job!” and “Excellent!” to their children; it helps to boost their confidence. Even if a student asks a very stupid question, the teacher may say, “Good question!”

Modesty is a virtue, but let's not overdo it. Parents do everything for their children, but why can’t they say one simple sentence to them—“I’m very proud of you!”?