As the stress and pressure mounts in anticipation of the impending Gao Kao for the youth across China, I offer this humble and heartfelt message to parents, teachers and youth.

It has been a bounty beyond measure to live and learn in this country for more than 20 years.As co-founder of an architecture/Interior design company, two kindergartens and a character education program in China, I would like to offer a short story followed by a few simple thoughts shared in a spirit of love and respect for the peoples of this great nation.

In ardent preparation for my final high-school math exam, a subject amongst many in which I did not excel, my father found me in my bedroom with my head buried in my textbook, heaving with tears and deeply fearful that I would fail. He sat quietly by my side and with his arm around me said…”In 20 years from now, no one will know or care what you get on the exam tomorrow. Just try your best and regardless of the result, know that I love you”.

That was a defining moment in my life. His unconditional love and belief in me gave me the courage to search for my purpose in life, to strive for excellence and never give up! I have spent the last 30 years of my life doing what I love and hopefully, I have
made a small contribution along the way.

What I really want to say is that the children and youth of China are NOT their marks! They are so much more than that. As parents and teachers, it is our responsibility to educate both the heart and mind and see the whole child, not just a part. Our greatest
joy is to help bring forth and develop their innate virtues, interests, talents and skills so they can use these in service to society.

To the youth of China, you must believe… that YOU ARE MORE THAN YOUR TEST SCORE! Your mark does not define you or make you a better person – but the way you live your life does. Be loving and kind, truthful and humble. Care deeply, not just for your family
but the human family. Follow your passion and work for the betterment of the world – this is what makes you who you are.

And in case you’re one of those people that my Dad said wouldn’t care, but does – I scored 51% on that math exam!

Your friend in service,