Words from the Principal
Co-principal of Yungu High School
Putting these words down is hard enough for me because I have too much to say. In this limited number of words, no matter how I polish my work, it’s not enough. There are too many contents, thoughts, and experiences from the past, which cannot be conveyed through shallow languages. Such pity will be paid back in the future when we work together. However, there must be a place on the web page to fill, so I would like to give an answer. After thinking about it for a while I have decided to put out the most important thoughts to the front, focusing what I would like to talk with you. These thoughts are like basic dishes in the restaurants, whether costumers order them or not, they are always on the menu, and it’s my responsibilities to make them delicious. It’s unacceptable to cook bad basic dishes. What I’m going to talk about are special cuisines which I’m willing to let you taste. If you don’t like them, give me some advice; if you like them, it would be my honor to serve them. If someone misses the taste, that will be the luck of my life.
“Dream as high as Yun, modest as low as Gu” – is where the “Yungu” is referenced from, which I appreciate. Therefore, I would like to talk about my interpretation. “Dream as high as Yun” is not making progress hollowly, and “modest as low as Gu” is not taking the ease blindly.
Teenagers have high ambitions, and what we expect from them is not as much as what they expect from themselves. However, we look for characteristics such as maturity and steadiness when we are young; in the middle age, we look for creativity, imagination and hard work; then we find out how charming those who keep the heart of a child are. This is human nature, because when some characteristics are rare in a certain age, they are praised more of them other ones. From my twenty years of educating, talking about dreams, vision and feelings is unpleasant during high school. Children think their parents are utilitarian and unnegotiable while parents think dreams are thoughts that float in the sky, because children don’t understand how hard life is. Therefore, I want to tell teens at Yungu: the biggest enemy of high ambition is not the pressure of the reality, not the cruelty of the society, not the hollowness of the dream. The reason why high ambition doesn’t linger around much longer is because there is nothing supporting it from below. The base of it includes your knowledge, characteristics, experiences, qualities, successes and failures, family, and friends. When all these come together you still might not break through the clouds, but they will make you much stronger when you face storms and thunders. So, my young friends you must remember, you cannot fly to the sky, you must walk. For parents, I also have some advice: we should not worry too much about whether they can hold the wheel, make the turns, take the control, or become too idealistic. It’s just like how children must remember the only correct way is walking instead of flying, parents must also believe that the right path is going up instead of going forward. How can our children go to the wrong path when they are going up, and each turn we make is new so how come too far? You worry your children might fall off from the sky, while the best thing to do is not to drag them down. The best thing to do is to be with them and go up with them slowly.
Now we talk about “Modesty as low as the valley”. I like the word, or the level of it. I try to behave so, but it’s hard. About being a person, it reflects self-effacing, it a simple idea but hard to achieve. About being a student, it reflects true knowledge and true principles. Because learners love to learn and enjoy learning, so they are kind, and truth seekers reflect themselves who can accept critics humbly. Then how to become someone as low as the valley? I haven’t reached there yet, but I have some thoughts. “Modesty as low as the valley” means someone’s mind is as broad, inclusive and modest as a valley. We say self-effacing is taking in others’ advice and inclusiveness means accepting different voices. Therefore, we must mention a common example: we can put water in an empty cup, this is modesty; the cup can also take in anything else, even rocks. If we can put anything in, this is called inclusiveness. That’s why people tell us to empty ourselves so that we can become humble and inclusive. Is that true? Probably not so, and the example is not proper. People aren’t cups, as least not in this example metaphorically, where cups are limited. Confucius says “Men don’t behave like things” is where this is implied. We are more like valleys, if we say mountains are made by crustal movement, plates squeezing, then it’s hard to describe how valleys are formed. Because we call all the space among the mountains a valley. This implies the principle of “the use of useless things is useful”. The cup exists as a container which uses the useless space in between to function. As described above, “modesty as low as the valley” is not done by subtracting things, it’s by accumulating. No matter how much we empty us, we won’t get a valley just like the concave part of the earth is called a basin. If a person has no mountains within, then his modesty is not modesty but shabbiness. This is indicated from the attitude instead of knowledge. In my view, these mountains are the knowledge of a person. The more you see, the bigger and higher your vision is. This makes you hear what’s inside you instead of chirpings in the valley. Because for the valley there is nothing to show, nobody can neglect its livelihood and beautiful wisdom. But for us, we always try to fill these gaps, which is why we are inferior to the nature. We use broad, empty ideas, ignorant declarations, and artificial lies to fill the space between the valleys. Therefore, I haven’t succeeded yet. I’m still doing the work of exploring some of the dirty work. Therefore, young fellows the path of knowledge is accumulating and digging. Ask your heart sometimes, how much garbage is filling up your valley as the garbage is more difficult than any storm you may suffer. Please don’t give up, I will be there with you.
Therefore, I have finished my lines and begun my work. I hope the experience from Yungu can protect your power of raising up. It won’t be too much but long enough. It will be your footstone which can’t take you high but steady enough. It will be the sunshine in your valley, not too bright but warm enough.