Mencius’ Mother Moved Three Times


Mencius’ father died when he was very young. His mother had to raise him alone. At the beginning, she lived with Mencius near a cemetery where funerals and religious activities were conducted daily. Mencius and other children used to imitate these funeral activities. Seeing this, his mother said, “No, I can’t let my son live here.” So, they moved to live next to a marketplace. Now, Mencius began imitating his new neighbour who was a butcher. His mother became more upset.

“This is not the place I would like to raise my son,” she said anxiously. As a result, they moved again. Finally, they settled down near a school, in which all the people treated one another politely. All the officials, the scholars and the students went to Confucius temple regularly. Inspired by these, Mencius started imitating the courtesy behaviour and studying good habits. His mother was now satisfied and said, “This is the place where my son should live.” The story shows the importance of environment in and around us.

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