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Research Article
Open Access Peer-reviewed

The Morality of Being Human in Family Relationships Expressed by Vietnamese Proverbs and Folk Songs

Tran Thi Thom
World Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities. 2019, 5(2), 62-70. DOI: 10.12691/wjssh-5-2-1
Received April 25, 2019; Revised June 11, 2019; Accepted June 13, 2019

Abstract

Family relationships are the foundation and sacredness of everyone. In this relationship, the question is what should people do to comply with morality? We could receive a wide range of replies for this question and the reason for this is everyone, nation and age has different concepts. In this article, the author studies morality of being human in family relationship expressed by Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs: the relationship between parents and children, between husband and wife as well as siblings to help the readers comprehend the value of traditional morality of being human notion and apply to behavior in family relationships nowadays.

1. Introduction

The family relationship is one of the sacred relationships, which is crucially important for every human being. However, with the rapid development of globalization at present, there are numerous positive manifestations as well as adverse ones occurring in this relationship. According to Nguyen The Nghia: “Referring to the traditional values that are affected by the consequence of globalization, morality is the area having complicated development and alarming degradation at the max rate. Traditional value of family morality, which is the nucleus of societal morality, is at risk of distortion” [ 1; 236-237]. The basic relationships in the family have ever-increasingly changed: “Emotion reflecting the traditional relationship between husband and wife, parents and children and between siblings is not as before. There has been a rift in affection between parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, and so on” [ 2; 406-407]. That poses a requirement for us to preserve and promote the traditional morally sound values in the family. These values are preserved and manifested through various forms: history, literature, customs, lifestyle, listed as some examples, of the people. Nevertheless, until now, there has been no work systematically studying traditional moral values in the family through Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs, a kind of folklores that are unique, philosophical, lyrical, as well as contains valuable lessons, vividly and comprehensively reflects the Vietnamese’s behaviors and morality of being human under the past generations.

Several researches related to morality of being human in family relationships can be mentioned as convinced examples: Family Ethics 3 by Ha Giao; Building family ethics in Vietnam today 4 by Nguyen Thi Tho; Values of family morality under the perspective of the youth 5 by Nguyen Thi Hoa; The family with the morality education for Vietnamese children 6 by Hoang Thuc Lan, Study Vietnamese family cultural heritage 7 by Nguyen Song Tung, Promoting the value of family culture in the present context 8 by Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy. However, due to the limitation of research purpose, the author has not been able to clarify moral and ethical rules and behaviors in each specific relationship in family.

There are research projects on morality of being human in family relationships through Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs: Morality in Vietnamese folk songs and proverbs 9, Proverbs of Vietnamese ethinic groups on morality education 10 and Communication - behavior culture in Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs 11 by Nguyen Nghia Dan; Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs of family relationships 12 by Pham Viet Long; Reflection of family and social relationship through Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs 13 by Do Thi Bay. In these papers, the authors directly or indirectly refer to the morality of being human in family relationships, however, owing to the purpose and scope of the research, the authors only collect or select folk verses and proverbs on morality of being human in family relationships, without conditions for analysis to clarify the basic contents of morality of being human in family relationships shown through Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs. In Human philosophy in Vietnamese proverbs, folk songs 14, Hoang Thuc Lan studied the relationship of people with their family under a human perspective. The author has not been able to clarify moral and ethical rules and behaviors in each specific relationship in family.

We can not deny the fact that, at present, there has been no research studying morality of being human in family relationships through Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs in a systematic manner. Hence, the study of morality of being human in family relationships through Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs with the aim of applying to behavior in family relationships nowadays is a meaningful and practical work.

2. Content

Morality of being human is moral and ethical rules and behaviours in relevant of oneself, family, society and nature. Morality of being human in family relationships expressed by Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs has some attributes:

2.1. The Morality of Being Human in the Relationship between Parents and Children

Morality of being human in the relationship between parents and children referred in Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs regulating both duties and responsibilities from the two sides (responsibility of parents towards their children and duties of children to their parents): parents have to be mercy for their children whilst the children have to be filial for their parents.

First and foremost, duties and responsibilities of parents towards the children

Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs appreciate parents' merits of giving birth and nurturing the children. Such merits are expressed through Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs as if heaven, ocean, mountains, water flowing from its source and so on: “Father's painstaking is as big as the Thai Son mountain, mother's love is as bountiful as water flowing from its source” [ 9; 176]. Father merit is extremely enormous and stable as Thai Son mountain, mother’s love for children is countless so that no one could measure like water flowing from its source: “Parents give birth and nurture the children, how could we measure this merits by a island” [ 9; 164], “Father’s abnegation is as skyscraper mountain, mother’s kindness can be compared to the water of Eastern Sea. The mountain is high, and the sea is large, the nine letter of “cu lao” should be etched in one’s memory” 15. According to Sino-Vietnamese word, “cu lao” means diligence and working hard. There are verses in the Classic of Poetry: “Father transfers breathe to give birth to us, mother carries us in her womb, nurtures us to become a mature, comes and goes to watch over us, and holds us in her arms. When we desire to repay what they did for us, the grace of the parents is as great as the large sky” [ 16; 302-303]. The love of parents towards children is generalized in Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs through nine letters of “cu lao”, including nine great merits called “cu lao chin chu”: Sinh (giving birth to children), Súc (raising, feeding), Cúc (cherishing), Phủ (cuddling, caressing), Phúc (protecting), Cố (caring and looking over), Dục (enlightening), Phục (rectifying), Trưởng (nurturing for growing up to become a mature).

Sinh (giving birth to children)

Each and every one has their father and mother, a person is formed from the combination of the two parents’ cells, is carried in mother’s womb and is born from mother’s heavy pain, is pampered and covered by mother’s body, thus, the value of such merits is immense: “Father gives birth, while mother nurtures one” [ 17; 37], “Father's painstaking is big, Mother's love can be measured by nine months in heaven” [ 17; 611].

Súc (raising, feeding)

Parents give birth and nurture their children, breastfeed their babies in the first days, take care of the children to grow up day by day: “Children are breastfed by their mother” [ 12; 244]; “Be grateful to the nine letters of ‘cu lao’, the three breastfeeding years contain enormous love” 15. Despite difficulties and obstacles, parents still love and care, and give the best things to their children: “When a baby is hungry, their parents are much more worry” [ 12; 93], “How mighty love’s mother is, their mouth chewing the rice into small piece, and their tongue restricts the fish bone for feeding a child” [ 9; 161].

Cúc (cherishing)

For parents, children are the incomparable assets. Parents always love and care for their children when the children are the toddlers. In spite of difficulties, parents are always willing to sacrifice, giving the best things to their children: “Mother endures to lie in wet place whilst she always gives her children the dry one” [ 12; 96].

Phủ (cuddling, caressing)

Parents' love for children is expressed through each action and sayings. Parents take care of their baby's sleep and meals with affection and patience and lullabies following their children to sleep. The melody songs contain mother's love with her worries and hardships: “Sing a lullaby for you, darling, to go to deep sleep, so that I can do my work with the field” 18.

Phúc (protecting)

Parents are people who cover and protect their children since they were born. Bamboo shoots are covered by barks to avoid the harsh weathers: rain, sun, wind and storm, and when they grow up, become stronger enough to rise stably. Similarly, when one was born, they also need the protection from their parents to grow up and become a mature: “A child has a mother like bamboo shoots have barks”, “A child has a father like a house needs its roof” [ 17; 52].

Cố (caring and looking over)

In order to nurtures children, parents have to endure numerous hardships and obstacles: breastfeeding, feeding, taking care of and caring for their children since they know how to crawl and take the first halting steps: “When a child can sit, mother’s arms are fatigued” [ 12; 96-97], “When a child is three, mother’s rib is as if being broken” [ 12; 97], “Where child goes, where parents are” [ 12; 244].

Dục (enlightening)

Parents not only have the role of giving birth to children, but have the responsibility to nurture and educate them and enlighten them the right things as well: “If you don't teach and don't command the children, it is better to raise pigs for having dinner” [ 19; 343], “Mother can teach the children the delicacy, father can teach the children the wideness” [ 19; 339].

Phục (rectifying)

To nurture children to become a mature person, parents not only nurture and enlighten them but rectify their manner as well. Parents who love their children have to raise their children in strict way, so that this can help them become the matures: “Spare the rod and spoil the child” [ 9; 211], “You only bend the tree when it is sapling, you only teach a child when he is innocent” [ 12; 93]. Parents have to rectify children’s manner, guide them the right things that help them not to be misled.

Trưởng (nurturing for growing up to become a mature)

Parents sacrifice their life for nurturing and caring their children to grow up. Love, affection and the concern that parents give to their children is never empty. In the old age, parents can not stop caring about their children, devote their minds to their children and always hope their children have a peaceful life and good things: “Parents giving birth to children always give the best things for them” [ 12; 93], “Hundred-year-old white hair mother cares about her eighty-year-old child!” “Parents’ merits are limitless, in spite of difficulties, they sacrifice their life for their children” 15.

Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs have implied sacrifices, love, benevolence and generosity of parents for their children. Parents are not only give birth to their children but nurture, love, care and enlighten them to become mature as well. That virtue is like heaven and ocean that is neither measured nor said in words, then, it could be temporarily generalized by the nine letters of “cu lao”. It is the recognition of the sacrifices that parents give their children as well as the affirmation of the responsibilities of parents towards their children.

Second, duties and responsibilities of children towards their parents

The merit of giving birth to children and the immense love that parents give to their children through the nine letters of ‘cu lao’ are express in Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs vividly and lively. It reminds the children to understand and engrave the love in their heart and repay for their parents with all their respect. In Vietnamese culture, generally, and in Vietnamese proverbs and folk verses, particularly, the word “Hieu”, or “grateful” has always been at the forefront of all things: “Despite hundred characteristics children have, the piety has always been at the forefront of all things” or “ Lam con net du tram duong, Truoc tien dieu hieu dao thuong xua nay”, “Humans have a hundred virtues, but piety is the most importance. That is the basic virtue that one need” [ 20; 55]. Phan Ke Binh, in the Vietnamese book of customs, wrote: “We read the Holy book, the filial piety towards our parents has always been at the forefront of all morally sound values that people have” [ 21; 23]. The filial duty of children to parents is expressed in Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs through some of the following basic contents:

Firstly, children have to understand and be grateful for the parents' merits and nurturing

With the foundation of affirming the role and responsibility of parents towards their children, the old said that children have to understand and be grateful for the parents' merits and nurturing. This must be engraved in children’s mind and be manifested by specific actions: “Children should obey what their parents teach” [ 9; 184], “The parents’ sacrifice are very valuable, they protect and teach children since the children was toddlers. Thus you should not forget their merits, their dedication for you with all parents’ life” [ 19; 345]. And only when a child become a mother or father, she or he can understand the love and sacrifice of their parents giving them: “If you have a child, you can understand your parents” [ 11; 50], “You can realize how high the mountain when you climb it, you can understand your parents’ sacrifice when you are them” [ 19; 342].

Secondly, children should be responsible for taking care of their parents

From understanding and being grateful to the merit of parents, children must show their hearts through particular actions, and must be responsible for caring their parents: “The child has parents’ help, the mature has his wife’s and the old has his children’s” [ 17; 29]. At a young age, parents are the shoulder of children. Parents nurture and teach children to grow up, they spend their whole lives to care about children’s life, future, happiness, and give them the best things. When the parents become weak at the old age, the children would become the back for their parents. Children have the responsibility to take care of their parents and repay their gratitude to their parents. That is the rule and the morality of life. Even if the living condition is harsh, if only the children possess the sincere hearts and always try to give the parents the best conditions that they can, it is also the expression of the true filial piety to their parents: “Rice for breakfast, congee for lunch, tea for dinner, the simple things for caring old parents” [ 14; 100], “In spite of the difficulties to be poor, caring your parents is your important duty” [ 17; 484], “The parents’ merits can not be measured, you should repay them as much as you can” [ 9; 197].

Thirdly, children should study hard to be the proudness of family

The filial piety of children to parents is not only the material aspect or the care for their parents but is the spiritual understanding, thus children should study hard to reach admirable achievements that become the proudness of family.

Children are the pride, the greatest asset of parents. Parents always expect their children to become matures, gain significant result in study, have a happy life, and have a position in society to honor their families. The success of children is an invaluable spiritual gift, one of the ways to express the gratitude to parents for their nurturing. Therefore, children should endeavor to study hard, stand on their own feet that do not make parents disappointed, let the parents be happy, deserving what they dedicate: “The wiser children are, the more proud parents feel” [ 17; 52], “A child surpassing his father is a pride” [ 17; 53].

Finally, it is the happiness for children when their parents still stand by them and children should wholeheartedly worship their parents when they pass away

The filial piety of children to parents has to derive from their heart and the true love, neither constrained by social responsibility nor public opinion. It is the happiness for children when their parents still stand by them and children should wholeheartedly worship their parents when they pass away: “Wherever you go for a monk's house, being grateful to your parents is true practitioner” [ 9; 207]. If children always think of parents, feel happy every day when they live with their parents, it is the light pointing out the way for the children to know what to do to express the respect to their parents. The filial piety of children for parents is not only expressed when the parents have still live but when they pass away as well. When the parents have still live, it is the duty of children to take care of them and when their parents pass away, children must wholeheartedly worship to their parents to reassure them. The filial piety of children has to be consistent and children should worship the parents from the bottom of heart.

Morality of being human in the relationship between parents and children expressed by Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs affirms that this is a two-way relationship, in which each person must fulfill their responsibilities as well as duties: parents are responsible for giving birth to children, nurturing, loving, and being benevolence with their children; while children should love, respect and repay their parents’ sacrifices. This concept has profound educational implications, reminding each one to fulfill their duties and responsibilities.

2.2. The Morality of Being Human in a Husband and Wife Relationship

The relationship of husband and wife is one of the sacred relationships that determines the happiness or unhappiness of every human being. The moral code of ethics and behaviors in this relationship is reflected in the Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs that regulates responsibility from both sides (duties, responsibilities of husband to his wife and duties and responsibilities of wife to her husband) based on bond, love and faithfulness.

First, Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs affirm the sacred value of husband and wife relationship

First of all, Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs affirm that the husband and wife relationship is a bond in both spirit and material, and sharing sweetness and sadness together, to overcome difficulties in life to build a happy family: ““Thia thia” fist get used to their pot, husband and wife get used to each other scents” [ 12; 238], “Husband and wife hug each other in bed” [ 17; 239], “Husband and wife be together even in poverty” [ 19; 320], “Means husband and wife help each other with housework’s and never forget each other because all they’ve went through together” [ 17; 637]. Husband and wife relationship is a close, supportive and complementary relationship. The fact that men and women come together, build their own families to help them create and master their own lives, no longer dependent on their parents. They like two puzzle piecing together, supporting each other, complementing each other to build a new life: “Wife with husband is like dragon with fins, husband with wife is like tree with forest” [ 12; 237], “Means husband and wife are like pair of chopstick” [ 17; 166]. Married is a turning point in the life of men and women, helping them to have a new life with new responsibilities, new positions and new motivation. The bond of husband and wife is a lifelong attachment, their love is a hundred years of love: “Husband and wife relationship is a lifetime bond” [ 12; 239], “Husband and wife stay together not just when alive but after death also” [ 9; 208]. Based on love and bond, each person must fulfill his or her duties and responsibilities.

Second, the duties and responsibilities of husband to his wife

The husband must love, respect his wife, share and support her, and not betray her based on understanding the role and contribution of her in building a family.

First, the husband must understand the role and contribution of his wife in building a family.

The wife is a housekeeper caring and managing family things. From the funerals, family anniversary, to the caring for the house, the kitchen is mainly managed by the wife. The way to live, to behave of the wife greatly influences the way of life and happiness of each family, as well as the relationship of the family with relatives and neighbors. A good woman will help her husband to be closer with his family, relatives, and neighbors, making the brothers closer, making the neighbors more united and sharing, “neighbors take care of each other not just in days but nights also”. On the contrary, if a woman does not know how to behave, it will not only cost her family's happiness but also the relationship between family and neighbors. That’s why they have saying that “Dad daughter-in-law push family and relatives away, bad dog push neighbors away” [ 17; 61] and also because of that, our ancestors always appreciated, cherished the daughters-in-law, the gentle wives, who bring the blessing to the family, and treated them as their own children: “Good sons or daughters-in-law are always loved as sons or daughters ” [ 17; 61].

The wife is the rear for her husband, support husband to build the family. According to our ancestors, in the process of establishing a man's career, a strong support of wives is always needed, considering marriage is a great work in life: “Buying buffalo ,getting married, building house, these three things are difficult to replace” [ 17; 140], “Husband provide money for their family and wife manage all expenses to keep things balance” [ 17; 45]. Getting married and having a family will raise the status of the man to be the head of the family. No matter how good the man is, yet he still has no family, he still be considered unsuccessful. Getting married has changed the status of men in families, family lines as well as in society. The wife supports her husband and work with her husband to build a home: “To farm, you must have a buffalo and to be rich, you must have a wife” [ 12; 231], “Husband must manage his family and do housework’s to help his wife” [ 12; 85], “The role of the wife in a poor family and the importance of a good general when the country is in danger” [ 12; 233], “Husband is rich because of his wife” [ 23; 561], “Everything a husband can archive is thanks to his wife's efforts” [ 17; 58].

The role of women is also affirmed in their natural function of giving birth. It is a sacred one but also full of exhaustion, it’s the work that man cannot support or do: “When men do something big they have friends to share the burdens but when a woman giving birth they can share the pain to no one” [ 12; 229]. Women not only give birth to children but also play an important role in raising children. It seems that the personality, morality and talent of the child depend mainly on the mother, because of that: “All the good are from mother” [ 17; 130], “The children is bad because of their mother, their grandmother” [ 17; 53]. The facts show that many hard works and sacrifices of women in raising children, therefore, proverbs and folk songs on the one hand affirm the great merits of both parents , on the other hand, always respect put mothers in higher role: “Mother’s role in raising the children his higher then father’s” [ 17; 37], “Mother has most important role, then father, then grandmother” [ 17; 121], “A children with no father can still eat rice with fist, a children with no mother have nothing to eat” [ 24; 1789]. It can be said that the wife plays an extremely important role in family life. They do all the housework, as a backup, a support for her husband, and work with her husband to build a home; At the same time, they are also giving birth to children and raise them.

Secondly, the husband must know how to love, respect his wife, share her burden and support, not betray her

On the basis of understanding the position, role, hard works of women, Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs affirming the man, the husband must love and respect his wife, share her burdens and support her, not betray her: “Rich thanks to friends, and elegant thanks to his wife” [ 12; 84], “When the wife give birth, the husband must do everything on his own”, “Do not betray wife” [ 12; 85], “Even in hunger and poor, love and sharing between husband and wife will get them through it all” [ 12; 229]. It is the understanding, the love, the respect of the husband for his wife that will help the wife to have more motivation to do her duty well, give it all for her husband and children, for her husband's family, and a firm backup for her husband.

Although influenced by Confucianism but the idea of husband and wife in Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs have shown the attitude of democracy, progress, respectful attitude, and appreciation for women. Women are relatively equal to their husbands, they are fire keepers in the family, and decides all common things with her husband: “Together, husband and wife can do anything, even empty the ocean” [ 17; 148]. Sometimes, women have more important role or more power over their husbands: “Husband’s order is not stronger than wife’s” [ 17; 98], “The wife is the 2nd rank after God” [ 17; 121]. Although, the proverb has exaggerated role of women in a funny way, but it has contributed to anti-patriarchal ideology, against the idea that man have higher place then woman.

Third, duties and responsibilities of wife to her husband

Because of the influence of the patriarchy, three subordinations and four virtues in the relationship between husband and wife, Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs show a lot of the duties and responsibilities of the wife. In particular, the wife often plays a passive and dependent role, must agree with her husband, obey her husband, and at the same time emphasize the love and the sacrifice of the wife for her husband.

It is expressed firstly in the idea that when a woman is married, she must follow her husband, give it all for her husband's family: “A boat must obey sailor , woman must obey her husband” [ 17; 151], “Woman’s duty is taking care of husband and raising children” [ 12; 230]. Under the influence of Confucianism, the wife, the daughter-in-law must be wholeheartedly devoted to the husband's family, taking care of all works in the husband's family, even the work of the hold family and relatives if she married to eldest son of the family.

The marriage life sometime has conflicts. Because the nature of men is often more impatient than women so when conflicts arise, the woman needs to know how to give in for the sake of family: “Woman must give in when her husband is angry” [ 17; 45]. In particular, in proverbs and folk songs, a wife must love and sacrifice for her husband. Although this thought is influenced by Confucianism, but the husband and wife relationship in proverbs and folk songs have their own characteristics. Husband and wife live together based on love, compliance. Therefore, sometimes the wife has to give in, to agree with her husband, but it comes from love, from understanding her husband, from the desire to build a happy home, not because of being forced: “Wife try to work harder because of her love for her husband” [ 12; 235], “Wife doesn’t care about other’s husband , they only care for her own husband” [ 17; 45], “Wife will always follow her husband no matter how hard and how suffering” [ 19; 319]. That is the expression of the democratic and humanity of our people expressed in Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs. It is the humility of the woman is one of the reasons why our ancestors always treasure woman.

The husband and wife morality in Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs refer to the two-way relationship in which both husband and wife have duties and responsibilities towards each other based on their bond, love and compassion. , together they overcome all difficulties and hardships to build a happy family. Although the idea of husband and wife in proverbs, folk songs still carry the patriarchal ideology, it is not rigid but still shows the spirit of equality, humanity and progression. Both husband and wife must be willing to build and fulfill their duties to keep “The husband and wife morality” [ 9; 179] to “Happy home in both outside and inside” [ 19; 315].

2.3. The Morality of Being Human in Sibling Relationship

The sibling relationship is also one of the basic relationships in the family. Morality of being human in this relationship mainly confirms the love, the bond of flesh and blood, the support and sharing to keep the love in the family and at the same time regulate duties and responsibilities from both sides.

First, Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs affirm their inseparable flesh and blood relationship in family

The Vietnamese proverb, the folk song affirms the bond and intimate feelings of the brothers in the like a drop of blood splitting in half, like water in the steam, like rivers sharing same source, born by same parents: “Brothers sharing the same blood” [ 9; 156], “Brothers are like water in the steam, like rivers sharing same source” [ 17; 180], “Brothers are not strangers, they share the same parents, the same home” [ 9; 157]. Brothers love is close affection: “Brothers are like arms and legs”. Legs and arms are two parts that have an integral relationship on one body. The same is true for brothers love, which is share the same blood, share the same home and are born by their parents and are the hope and love of their parents. It is a sacred love and has a strong impact on people's lives and feelings and is one of the motivational sources that helps each person to take firmly steps in life.

Based on affirming the inseparable flesh and blood relationship of the brothers in the family, Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs refer to the duties and responsibilities from both sides on the basis of love, support, caring, help each other. Detail:

Secondly, duties and responsibilities of big brothers to younger brothers

Being the big brother mean you must know how to love, care, give in, build up for younger brothers: “Sisters raise each other up when falling” [ 9; 166], “Sisters’ children take care of each other’s” [ 12; 106], “What’s mine is your” [ 12; 105]. To fulfill the duty of being big brother, sister is not easy, it requite each one to see the relationship of flesh and blood of brother love, to love and care for younger brother as his own self: “Big sister must be nice, big brother must be tough” [ 12; 105]. Under the influence of Confucianism, brother-sister relationship is like the relationship between parents and children because “Quyền huynh thế phụ” - “Big brother have right to replace father after his death” [ 12; 105], the big brother is the one who has the right to replace his father to decide all matters in the family. Especially when parents die, the big brother will be the one who take care for younger brothers. That is the expression of love and responsibility for the family, showing the love to parents, the good morality of our people, helping each person to live with responsibility to take care of your loved ones, your family, contribute to the development of society.

The idea “Quyền huynh thế phụ” has its positive side that big brother can play the role of father in taking care of family works and younger brothers when the father die, leading to family unity and development. However, this idea take away the equality between brothers, which big brother take advantage to overpower his younger brothers, causing conflicts in this relationship. Vietnamese proverbs, folk songs condemned those big brothers who do not fulfill their duties, do not have love for younger brothers, take advantage of them, do not know how to take care and help them, let them suffered: “Younger brothers always hungry and have to work hard” [ 12; 252], “Younger brother have always do the hard work while big brother play and rest” [ 12; 251]; at the same time condemn the big brother who show disrespectful attitude toward younger brothers: “Even younger brother is smart they still younger, even big sister is stupid they still bigger” [ 12; 251].

Third, duties and responsibilities of younger brothers to big brothers

Brothers sister’s relationship is not one-way relationship that younger brother must show respect, love and obey big brother: “Sisters catch each other’s when failing” [ 9; 166], “Sisters must think for each other’s in case of other making bad decision” [ 12; 106]. Younger brother mush show respect obeys big brothers and sisters’ guidance as well as show love and help big brother and sister. No matter what is right and wrong, listen to them and think to make the right decision. Our ancestor condemned young brothers who don’t show love and sharing with big brothers and sisters: “Big sister catch younger sister when failing but younger sister laughs when big sister fail”, “Big sister’s child carry younger sister’s child” [ 12; 106].

Although, under the influence of Confucianism, the sibling relationship has similar similarities as the father-son relationship, but in fact, the brothers, each person has his own life and family, can't stay together forever, so everyone must know to take care for themselves, stand on their own feet, not rely on anyone, should not make anyone to be responsible to yourself: “Take care of your own self” [ 9; 104]. Only when people clearly identify their goals, way to live, take responsible for themselves, have a sense of mastering their life, they would have enough strength to overcome obstacles of life and live useful and able to contribute to social development. Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs are a deep reminder to people about their roles and responsibilities to themselves and also to their families and society.

Fourth, the resolution for arising conflicts

Through Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs, our ancestors affirmed the spiritual affection between siblings and also affirmed that this relationship has similarities as many other relationships in society, with conflicts, mainly related to economic benefits: “Brothers turn against each other’s when they get rich” [ 12; 105]. The cause of this problem is probably because when brothers grow up, they all have their own family to take care, are dominated, pressured by many things and have concerns and worries for their own family. The feelings of brothers and sisters are blood bond, but when it comes to money, materials, if they are not keeping a clear mind, without true love, it is very easy to develop conflicts. Normally, everyone is gentle and only when it comes to their benefits will they know each other's true self: “Brothers turn against each other’s because of money” [ 12; 105].

The brothers and sisters in the family have a close relationship, strong attachment, are born by the same parents, raised by the same parents so they must love, protect and help each other, whether good or bad everyone must take care for each other’s: “Brothers and sisters are like legs and arms” [ 9; 157], “Sisters must care for each other’s and do not say bad things to each other’s” [ 9; 166]. Even if life always has discord, brothers and sisters must use love to resolve all conflicts, to keep peace in the family, because: “Sisters are inseparable” [ 12; 251], “No matter good or bad, family is family” [ 19; 348], “Fight with family, do not fight against family” [ 17; 90]. It’s the reason why: “If something happen, brothers and sisters should fix the problem together peacefully”, “Happy brothers and sisters are happy home” [ 9; 180], “When brothers and sisters have respects for each other’s , their home is a happy one” [ 12; 106].

The morality of being human in sibling relationship affirms the sacred blood, affection and responsibility from both sides. A big brother must love, cover, give in, build up for younger brothers, replace his father to care about him when his father died; younger brothers must respect, love, support and listen to right advices of big brothers. Although life arises inevitable conflicts, but the bond of flesh and blood never changes, therefore, love must be used to wash away from all contradictions, to have peaceful home.

2.4. The Morality of Being Human in Family Relationships Expressed in Vietnamese Proverbs and Folk Songs, Orients the Proper Behavior in the Family Relationships
2.4.1. Orienting the Behavior in the Relationship between Parents and Children

In terms of the relationship between parents and children, we offer pay more attention to children's obligations to their parents: “In the traditional family, moral education specially emphasized the children's obligations to their parents rather than the parents' responsibilities to their children. The result of moral education in the traditional family is those who always obey and comply with the commands and orders of their parents, their managers. They are just allowed to follow and copy the available patterns in the history without any creativities or changes which are different from the traditional ideas” [ 25; 492]. Therefore, many advance ideas on morality of being human in the relationship between parents and children expressed in Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs focus on the bilateral relationship in which each completes his/her obligations.

Firstly, orienting the parents' behavior to their children

Paternity expressed in Vietnamese proverbs, folk songs is the affirmation of sacrifice, love, benevolence and generosity of parents to their children. Parents not only give birth but also nurture, love, care, and teach their children to grow up. That grace is generalized with nine words of parents' merit. It is both a recognition and affirmation of parents' greatest merit to their children as well as their duties and responsibilities to their children. In the current society, we find that many people have lost themselves, they are not responsible for what they have done, then fail to fulfill the parental responsibilities causing many deep mental and emotional wounds to their children.

At the same time, the economic development and pragmatic lifestyles have made parents be absorbed in earning money rather than taking care of their children with the thought that money is happiness. They think that they are earning money for their children's sake, giving them money, meeting their physical needs also mean giving them happiness and love. But it is not true, money doesn't help their children grow up. If a child lacks the emotional care of parents, that child will easily become an emotionless, selfish, nonchalant, irresponsible person who doesn't appreciate the value of life and easily fall into social evils. Therefore, the love and care of parents play important roles in forming children's personality.

Therefore, the orientation of proper behavior of parents towards children is very necessary for those who will and are parents to know that what they need to prepare and do for their children's happy future and the social development. In particular, the development of social life, the change in the relationship between parents and children in the current society increasingly affirm the value of morality of being human in the relationship between parents and children in Vietnamese proverbs, folk songs.

Secondly, orienting the children's behavior to their parents.

Based on understanding the parents' merit, the children must be grateful to their parents. The filial piety to parents expressed in Vietnamese proverbs, folk songs orients the behavior of children to their parents.

First, it is the responsibility of taking care of parents with all the love and respect. As Confucius once said about the importance of Love and Respect in expressing the filial duty: “Today, people consider the care for their parents a worship, while people also care for dogs and horses. If, we take care of parents without love and respect, is which different from the care to the dog and horse?” [ 26; 29-30]. Everyone has his own conditions so his respect to their parents is not expressed by the richness or poverty but by true respect and true love.

Children must be happy to take care of their parents every day. Life is extremely short, the time for human beings to be with their parents is not long. Not all people who live with their parents during childhood, get married and work when growing up can be with parents to take care of them. The work, the busyness of daily life with so many difficulties and clumsiness make everyone busy swirling into a life cycle without much time for his parents. By the time we get old, our work and life are stable, while we have more free time, the parents no longer live with us. It is both a paradox and a law of life. Because of a short life, children must respect the moments to be with their parents, feel happy to take care of their parents.

The morality of being human in the relationship between parents and children expressed in Vietnamese proverbs, folk songs show the dialectical and humanistic ideology of our ancestors, manifest the moral of “when drinking water, remember its source”, has profound educational implications for us.


2.4.2. Orienting Behavior in the Spousal Relationship

The development of the market economy, the process of globalization and international integration today, in addition to the upside, have shown its downside. It is the degradation of social morality in general, family morality in particular including the relationship between husband and wife. The degradation is reflected by disregard of family, family violence, adultery, indifferent lifestyle, irresponsibility, etc, which are more and more popular. Many couples are unaware of the sacred value of the spousal relationship, so they have no sense of building a happy family. Due to lack of responsibility and awareness, many couples get married in a hurry then get involved in divorce quickly. Therefore, the inheritance of positive values of husband and wife relationship in Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs to apply to the behavior in spousal relationship is essential, contributing to helping us be aware of the sacred value and our duties as well as responsibilities in this relationship.

Firstly, orienting the husband's behavior to the wife

Through Vietnamese proverbs, folk songs, our ancestors advised the husband to understand his wife's role and contribution in building a family, always to have respectful attitude and share as well as support her. The reality shows that there are many men who are either unconcerned or patriarchal, do not understand the great contribution and role of their wives in building the family, then not have an attitude of respect to them. Many men still consider housework and child-care a natural task of their wives, so the wives must shoulder many burdens every day without having time for themselves and their jobs. Compared to men, women have less time for rest and for work. Men often regard housework as women's work, so they are not likely to share it with their wives. Proverbs and folk songs are the recognition and affirmation of the position, role and contribution of the wife in the family, thereby helping every man to love, respect, share and support his wife.

Secondly, orienting the wife's behavior to the husband

In addition to the duties, responsibilities of husbands to wives, Vietnamese proverbs, folk songs also show the wife's duties and responsibilities to her husband: to love, to put up with, to share work with her husband. Today, the role of women is increasingly affirmed. The woman not only fulfill the role of motherhood but also make an important contribution to all aspects of social life, “being good at office work and housework”. Unlike the traditional women with little education and the main work of housework and taking care of husband, women today have the equal or greater opportunity to study than men. They participate in social work and play a role in contributing and building happy families. However, even in any society, the woman must always demonstrate an important role in making home, loving, supporting and taking care of husband and children. That is the basis for the development of everyone, each family as well as each society.

Women always desire to be equal in the family as well as in society. However, sometimes the excessive equality in the family causes downsides: the conflict and disagreement in opinions, the excessive ego without tolerance lead to the family's break. Thus, equality in spousal relationship must be based on love and mutual understanding to build happiness together. Man has a natural strong and firm characteristic; and woman is tender, so the woman needs to be gentle and tolerant as well as humble to make happiness and harmony in the family: “Husband and wife live in harmony with each other” [ 19; 315].


2.4.3. Orienting Behavior in Sibling Relationship

The sibling relationship is the blood relation. However, now this relationship contains many problems we should think about. The busyness along with the selfishness makes the siblings live indifferently, be apart from each other; the spiritual values of sibling relationship are increasingly underestimated. For economic benefits, siblings are willing to quarrel, conflict, sue each other like strange people; causing conflicts between parents and children and within siblings. The contradictions that arise in the sibling relationship in the family have happened for a long time and been inevitable. The different point is the development of the market mechanism, the pragmatic lifestyle has made this relationship more complicated, reveal many moral degradations, significantly affect family happiness, damage the good moral values of traditional Vietnamese family. Therefore, the orientation for each person to understand the sacred value of sibling love, to love, to share, to be responsible for family is essential. Through Vietnamese proverbs, folk songs, we see a profound lesson orientating the behavior in the current sibling relationship.

First, the elder brother and sister should love, take care of and support the younger when parents pass away. All help and support each other to be successful, to make parents pleased and proud. The love, support of elder brother and sisters to the younger must be based on the understanding and respect. Because love without understanding will not be valid; help without respect will be a favor. Love, understanding and respect must be in the brotherhood.

The younger brother and sister should love and respect, understand their responsibilities, share and support the elder; have the spirit of self-control, strive to be able to stand on their feet, not depend on the elder to reduce their worries. Thus, siblings can live in harmony with each other in a family. This is very important in today's society when social morality is forgotten, and money becomes a measure of all values.

3. Conclusion

The morality of being human in family relationships through Vietnamese proverbs, folk songs is moral codes and ethical norms that define people's duties and responsibilities in relationships such as: parents and children relationship, husband and wife relationship, sibling relationship. In each stage of history, the moral codes also have certain changes. However, Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs as a treasure of experience and philosophy drawn by the Vietnamese people through many generations, have demonstrated the values of sustainability people should follow throughout life. The morality of being human in family relationships expressed in Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs shows the spirit of humanity, democracy and progress; lifestyles with morality, gratitude and respect as well as harmony of the Vietnamese people, has orienting and educational significance for us. Especially, with the development of economy, science and technology, the current expansion of international cooperation, besides the advantages, many challenges are posed to us. One is the degradation of social morality. Therefore, returning to traditional moral values including proverbs and folk songs has theoretical and practical significance. The morality of being human in family relationships in Vietnamese proverbs, folk songs contributes to orienting people to proper awareness to build good family relationships, create a basis for each individual as well as the whole society to develop.

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[2]  Pham Xuan Nam, 2002, Development Philosophy in Vietnam - key issues, Social Sciences Publishing House.
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[3]  Ha Giao, 2012, Family Ethics, Religious Publishing House.
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Published with license by Science and Education Publishing, Copyright © 2019 Tran Thi Thom

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Tran Thi Thom. The Morality of Being Human in Family Relationships Expressed by Vietnamese Proverbs and Folk Songs. World Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities. Vol. 5, No. 2, 2019, pp 62-70. http://pubs.sciepub.com/wjssh/5/2/1
MLA Style
Thom, Tran Thi. "The Morality of Being Human in Family Relationships Expressed by Vietnamese Proverbs and Folk Songs." World Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities 5.2 (2019): 62-70.
APA Style
Thom, T. T. (2019). The Morality of Being Human in Family Relationships Expressed by Vietnamese Proverbs and Folk Songs. World Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 5(2), 62-70.
Chicago Style
Thom, Tran Thi. "The Morality of Being Human in Family Relationships Expressed by Vietnamese Proverbs and Folk Songs." World Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities 5, no. 2 (2019): 62-70.
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[1]  Nguyen The Nghia and Nguyen Thi Huong Giang, 2017, Globalization, international integration and preservation and promotion of traditional values of Vietnamese, The National Political Publishing House, Hanoi.
In article      
 
[2]  Pham Xuan Nam, 2002, Development Philosophy in Vietnam - key issues, Social Sciences Publishing House.
In article      
 
[3]  Ha Giao, 2012, Family Ethics, Religious Publishing House.
In article      
 
[4]  Nguyen Thi Tho, 2011, Building family ethics in Vietnam today, National Political Publishing House.
In article      
 
[5]  Nguyen Thi Hoa, 2013, "The value of family morality under the perspective of youth", Journal of Psychology, 9, pp.37-47.
In article      
 
[6]  Hoang Thuc Lan, 2014, "The family with the morality education for Vietnamese children", Proceedings of the scientific conference "Morality in Vietnamese culture", Faculty of Philosophy, Hanoi Pedagogical University, pp.537-551.
In article      
 
[7]  Nguyen Song Tung, 1995, Study Vietnamese family cultural heritage, National Political Publishing House.
In article      
 
[8]  Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy, 2016, "Promoting the value of family culture in the present context", Journal of Culture and Arts, 12 (390), pp.49-51.
In article      
 
[9]  Nguyen Nghia Dan, 2000, Morality in Vietnamese folk songs and proverbs, Youth Publishing House.
In article      
 
[10]  Nguyen Nghia Dan, 2007, Proverbs of Vietnamese ethinic groups on morality education, Education Publishing House.
In article      
 
[11]  Nguyen Nghia Dan, 2013, Communication - behavior culture in Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs, Information Culture Publishing House.
In article      
 
[12]  Pham Viet Long, 2010, Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs of family relationships, Hanoi National University Publishing House
In article      
 
[13]  Do Thi Bay, 2011, Reflection of family and social relationship through Vietnamese proverbs and folk songs, Labor Publishing House.
In article      
 
[14]  Hoang Thuc Lan (editor), 2017, Human philosophy in Vietnamese proverbs, folk songs, Vietnam Education Publishing House.
In article      
 
[15]  Vo Van Lan, 2013, Nine words of parents' merit accessed on 12/5/2018, at the website www.thegioiphatgiao.vn/dactrung/chin-chu-cu-lao
In article      
 
[16]  Confucius (Ta Quang Phat translated), 2007, Class of poetry, Literature Publishing House.
In article      
 
[17]  National Center for Social Sciences and Humanities, 1999, Collection of Folklore, Volume 4, Ed 1: Proverbs - Ca dao, Education Publishing House, Hanoi.
In article      
 
[18]  No author, 2011, Lullaby, accessed on March 16, 2018, at the website https://cadaotucnguvietnam.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/ca-dao-hat- ru/.
In article      
 
[19]  Vu Ngoc Phan, 2010, Vietnamese folk songs and provebs, Literature Publishing House, Hanoi.
In article      
 
[20]  Hue Khai, 2010, Three teachings of Vietname, Premise of Caodaism, Religious Publishing House.
In article      
 
[21]  Phan Ke Binh, 2008, Vietnam customs, Literature Publishing House.
In article      
 
[22]  Nguyen Thi Tho, 2017, Social ontology of filial piety in Vietnam today, Social Sciences Publishing House.
In article      
 
[23]  Nguyen Xuan Kinh (editor), 2002, Vietnamese Proverb Treasure, Vol 1, Information Culture Publishing House, Hanoi.
In article      
 
[24]  Nguyen Xuan Kinh (editor), 2002, Vietnamese proverb treasure, Vol 2, Information Culture Publishing House, Hanoi.
In article      
 
[25]  Le Ngoc Van, 2011, Family and family transformation in Vietnam, Social Science Publishing House, Hanoi.
In article      
 
[26]  Nguyen Huu Vui (editor), 2007, History of philosophy, National Political Publishing House.
In article