Learning (xue) is inherited within the family context. Those who have the experience of life can transmit further to the younger members of the family learning about life. There is no need for academic learning for obtaining life experience and for knowing how to behave, and act around reassembles and especially around those who are “Good”. To be good means to have the ability to be patient and to listen when the others have lost their tolerance. To be good means to be Gentleman, to care for the society and to understand the familial virtues. Familial virtues are transmitted through filial piety, but what is significant is to come to practice what is learned through filial piety (Confucius in Slingerland 1).
The knowledge about life acquired within the family should be practiced throughout life and the learning absorbed from the parents must be transmitted further to the children, so that the familial piety not to parish.
Learning comes from the family and it produces an essential outcome for the society, as a whole: respect for others. As Master You says, “A young person who is filial and respectful of his elders rarely becomes the kind of person who is inclined to defy his superiors” (Confucius in Slingerland 1).
Therefore the learning and life experience established in the middle of the family counts for the upcoming human relations. Young people who absorb good quality information from their relatives regarding the social behavior and what it means to be Good and to respect others, will tend to apply what they learn at home in their day to day life, even after they have departed from their families and relatives.
Learning comes from within. Is the good feeling that one experiences when s/he rejoins an old friend, is the care that one transmits and expresses for his/her reassembles, is the respect for the others’ sacrifice and for their work, it is the harmony ease put into practice. According to Master You, the harmonious ease represents the balance between an extreme enthusiasm and the rigidity of becoming involved in certain actions routinely. This leads to mechanically developing activities or rituals, without accomplishing or attaining the real values of these acts (Confucius in Slingerland 2).
This speaks both about a social behavior and an organizational one. Both have at their basis the learning accumulated within the family. This is the essence of the social learning and of the evolution of individual. Each individual should adapt the learning received from his/her relatives to his/her own life experiences and enrich these learning with knowledge extracted from the actual living.
Specific virtues absorbed within the family can make the difference between the familial learning and academic learning. One can learn easily what s/he desires if s/he applies the respect, the refinement or the courtesy, values learned among relatives and practice within the family and outside. As the practice is the key for learning, these virtues applied over and over again become more entrenched in the individual’s behavior and they come to represent the individual, defining his/her character.
Unlike other type of learning, the one obtained from within the family is not mechanical and does not imply routine, but a natural applicability, as it comes from the actual behavior of the individual. Learning (xue) is listening, understanding and respecting the elders. This is the foundation of establishing a good actual behavior. But the learning that is thought or absorbed should be permanently practiced and repeated in different situations, in order to continuously improve and aim to perfect the learning.
Confucius in Slingerland, E. (2006) The essential analects: selected passages with traditional commentary. Hacket Publishing Company, Inc.: United States of America.