by Jian Ping
I gave a talk to Dr. Lucy Xing Lu’s Asian Culture and Communication class at DePaul University yesterday. The moment I stepped onto the Lincoln Park Campus, I felt the dynamics and energy unique to university—students rushing to their classes, chatting in groups, or riding their bicycles to get to their destinations. It was an atmosphere of youth and learning.
I barely made it on time to the classroom and started my talk immediately after Dr. Lu’s introduction. I knew the students had just read Confucius’ Analects and the focus of the class was on Asian philosophy, religion, and cultures. I put the emphasis of my talk on Confucian values, especially “filial piety,” using anecdotes from Mulberry Child to illustrate my points. I like the classroom setting and encouraged the students to raise questions at any time. They did—this group of 20 students was very engaging and asked many good questions. I planned to talk for 45 minutes, plus 10 or 15 minutes for questions. But we got into animated discussions and Dr. Lu graciously gave us the time to continue—letting us take over her planned readings on Taoism/Buddhism for the day. We ended up using up the entire period of class, and afterward, a few students stayed behind and continued our conversation. I was quite impressed by their interest and participation.
Of course, being a Chinese parent, I couldn’t help but finish my talk by encouraging them to excel in their studies—“the love of learning” (好学), as Confucius stated in his Analects.