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"YingHua in Beijing" Summer Program Announcement

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by Liao,Bonnie on 2012-07-01

Dear Parents,

We delayed the wake-up call by an hour this morning and the kids went to their breakfast directly followed by their Chinese lessons from 8:45 to 11:55 a.m.

Classes A and B took some time to “study” the menu of Zhong1 Xin1 Lou2, the restaurant next to the entrance of the Yong An Hotel, which has become our “cafeteria” for lunches and dinners. They picked the dishes for the lunch and Class B for dinner.

The dishes that they ordered turned out to be not quite the same as what they expected (based on the photos), which is a lesson in itself for them to learn (see reflection). They also experienced how time-consuming to pick the dishes for such a large group – trying to balance many factors and provide variety.

I took the kids to the Post Office next door so that they could send home post cards. Some kids sent more than one while some others didn’t send any. In total 21 post cards have been or will be sent out.

The mask-painting class was informational and fun. Teacher Yang explained the different personalities represented by the different color schemes painted on the faces of performers of Peking Opera. He also introduced briefly the five types of roles – sheng1 dan4 jing4 mo4, and chou3.

Students used pencil s to sketch on the blank masks first and then painted them with the color schemes representing the desirable “personalities” – red: loyal, black: mighty, green: ferocious, white: treacherous.

At 3:45, Duan Laoshi taught another 16 moves in the kong-fu set. Now the students can perform 75% of all the moves. They worked very hard in the heat. Duan Laoshi said, if they could all do the moves without any errors, they would get to end the exercise early. They only had three chances. The girls initially pleaded to be assessed without the boys as the boys were not paying enough attention to be “perfect.” Duan Laoshi stood her stance and insisted that everyone have to be included because they were one “team.” The kids got some time to practice and help each other. Then on their third trial, everyone showed the 24 moves without any errors. The kids were exhilarated and proud of their team spirit!

From 4:50 to 6:20 p.m., I introduced EQ (Emotional Intelligence) the concept and its five domains – Know your emotion; Manage your emotion; Motivate yourself, Know others’ emotions (empathy), and Manage others’ emotions (relationship).

We also discussed the relationship between “Circle of Concerns” and “Circle of Influence” (based on Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”). Once we decide to be proactive, exactly where we focus our efforts becomes important. There are many concerns in our lives, but we do not always have control over them. One can draw a circle that represents areas of concern, and a smaller circle within the first that represents areas of control. Proactive people focus their efforts on the things over which they have influence, and in the process often expand their area of influence. In our area of concern, we may have direct control, indirect control, or no control at all. We have direct control over problems caused by our own behavior. We can solve these problems by changing our habits. We have indirect control over problems related to other people's behavior. We can solve these problems by using various methods of human influence, such as empathy, confrontation, example, and persuasion. Many people have only a few basic methods such as fight or flight. For problems over which we have no control, first we must recognize that we have no control, and then gracefully accept that fact and make the best of the situation (yue4 na4 in Chinese philosophy).

At today’s group reflection time, we first reflected on the reasons for having the group reflection. Many students chimed in saying that the reflection should help one to be concious about the emotions underneath what happened during the day, give everyone an opportunity to understand others' emotions, allow one see things from others' perspectives, ...

I emphasized that sharing is a way of "influencing" so it is about developing a key aspect of leadership. The other key is personal integrity and character.

I also talked about the significance of offering to share vs being called up. I told the kids that the most challenging thing for me at corporate's meetings used to be to have the courage to "jump in" with my ideas during discussions. No one will likely to ask you for your opinions unless you offer yours.

Today's reflection was the most active one - 19 kids offered to share! Very soon I will be able to stop asking them to raise their hands when they ready to share and learn to speak up on their own while being able to treat each other with courtesy - just like what's going on in a board meeting. :)

I remember that, after the first field trip, everyone's refleciton was almost identical because they were merely documenting what happened during the field trip. However, today, your children's sharing was very personalized because we talked about what mattered to US personally.

Tatum: practicing the martial art in the heat was hard, but very proud everyone worked hard to get every move right after failed the first two attempts.

Julia: saw quite a few beggers outside of the Forbidden City yesterday with missing limbs. wondering what their lives were.

Dennis: continued the thought on possessions vs happiness after seeing people with so much less could be so much happier.

Evita: after practicing painting on a cardboard mask template with so much effort and marginal result, appreciated how much effort it must take to paint on a human face every night for those Peking Opera performers!

Sarah: in the middle of the mask-painting session and admist her frustration, she realized that Rachel's absence today made her appreciate all the things Rachel had done for this program, espeically as an interpreter between the teacher and the students. She then related it to life in general in that we often take others' effort for granted until we don't have it.

Seehana: felt that people should have paid more attention to the beautiful environment during the Forbidden City visit instead of just thinking about icecream!

Natalie: never knew silk was made this way. learned a lot, but then felt bad that man has to kill the live silk worms to spun the silk from their coccons. felt unjust as man would be doing so just for the money.

Frances: during the mask-painting session, thought about how the meaning of colors could be shaped by culture.

Alice: noticed the cleaning workers. thought that if no one picked up the gabage, the Forbidden City would not be as nice.

Karma: appologized that the lunch dishes were not quite what they looked like in the photos since she was one of the people picked up these dishes. Realized that things may not be the same as the pictures show.

Eileen: seeing the homeless people living so hard, thought that everyone should stop complain about the bitter melon, the condition of the toilets!

Kevin: after today's leadership workshop, could think of things that he had done to others that he would not mind but others would mind. [We talked about the "Platinum Rule" - treat others the way THEY wanted to be treated.]

Karen: while looking at the masterful architectural work in the Forbidden City, thought about how people did it with ancient tools and limited technology.

Ethan (9-year-old): shared about things he didn't like and liked. [This is the third time Ethan joined the group reflection; he fell asleep on earlier ones due to the jetlag. He is working with me to build his courage to speak in public. He did not want to share the previous two times. Today was he thought of a "stepping stone," which is to ask me to read what he had written. Everyone applauded for him! We treat our reflection as a serious process seeking to understand ourselves and the others. We do not applaud for anyone. Today was an exception!]

Remy: saw people with one-arm and felt grateful for having both arms.

Emily: realized yesterday that even for places you had been to so many times, it is the people that you go with matters, which will make it memorable.

Rebecca: learned the importance of time management during mask-painting. Spent too much time on the intricate design and fell short on time to finish painting it.

Jamie: Realized that it's so easy to mess up while painting the mask. Needed patience and focus.

Alex: happy to help with picking out the lunch dishes.

Justin: happy to take a picture for a woman at her request while visiting the Forbidden City. realized that just by taking a little time, you could help others even though you could not even communicate in the same language.

Please NOTE:

Our bedtime is 10 p.m. for all kids except that the youngest girls should be in bed by 9:30 p.m. PLEASE DO NOT call your child or talk to them pass these hours. They would get “demerits” for missing the bedtime starting today. There are consequences for accumulating more than 3 demerits including mandatory earlier bedtime for a day.

During the second week, please reduce your calls to 2-3 times at most so that next week, you will only call your child once by the weekend. There will be no phone call during the fourth week (Monday through Friday evening).



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