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Please, Don't Embarrass Your Country

Viewed 414 times 2017-8-19 16:58 |System category:News

We all do stupid things from time to time. I know that I've done more than my fair share in my life. If we are honest, we know that we do. Most are not willing to admit it, but, they know.

We are all human. The old adage, 'to err is human; to forgive is divine' is still true in these modern times. However, we need to live by certain personal standards that reflect and reveal our own personal integrity and character. I've always said, "You can be a character (a person who purposely does things that are dishonest, unethical or immoral) or you can posses character. Possessing character is choosing to (1) have principles that you live by (2) live out those principles every day.

Recently, a young man who has followed my writings here on CD contacted me about 'advertising' in his WeChat group. In fact, there was no commercial advertisement at all. I simply posted a link to a very informative article from here on CD. I always love to promote good blogs/articles from CD, especially when they are about English education or, they are from a writer that I respect or want to help.

This young man was a person who I'd not only helped by promoting his writings, but, I allowed him into a few of my WeChat groups because he said that, 'he wanted to practice English with more people.' I quickly learned that what he was in fact doing was building his own groups from the members of my groups that I'd allowed him to join. Nonetheless, I overlooked his youthful zeal and didn't bother confronting him about what I knew were his true motives. In fact, I let him do it.

Much to my surprise, he was now complaining to me and accusing me of 'advertising' in the group that he built from my groups' members. Oftentimes, the very links I was promoting were his own writings. (not very smart)

I'm not Chinese and have not mastered the practice of 'letting things go' so easily. I was shocked by his assertion after all I'd done, not only to promote him, but, had spent a lot of time for free helping him with his English. I guess I felt like a mentor to him. He obviously didn't see it that way and now, I guess, despised me for some reason that I'll never know.

We, Westerners, communicate with details much more than Chinese. We talk more about our daily life to family members and friends. It is part of our culture to share our life stories with those who are close to us. When someone treats me in this way (as this young man did), I share what happened with others.

Here's the problem.

No matter if it is this young man or me or anyone else, we are all representing ourselves, our families, our professions and even our countries when we are dealing with other people. Whether we possess character or are acting like a character, we are representing something to the world.

My father taught me a rule and principle to live by when I was quite young. He said, "Son, never do anything that you don't want printed on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow." Well, I did a lot of things that, if I'd been found out, would have brought a lot of shame and embarrassment to myself and my family. Thankfully, I didn't get exposed. But, as a foreigner in China, I know that I am representing not only myself, but, my country. People will look at me and my actions and likely judge other Americans by what they see in me. I want them to see my best. I want them to see my generosity and kindness. Most of all, I want them to see that my actions are backed by integrity, honesty, character and goodwill.

Always remember, your actions are having a bigger effect on others than you can ever imagine. If you travel abroad, remember that others are watching you and judging your country and not only you. Make sure that they see your best.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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MichaelM

Michael is the author of the transformational book, Powerful Attitudes. He is a professional educator, an educational consultant, an author. He lives in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. He enjoys playing guitar and writing poetry. He loves China.

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