A great opportunity


When Confucius recommended Qidiao Kai for an official position, the latter replied: “I cannot be trusted for such a responsibility yet.” Confucius was delighted.

Although Confucius has been canonized as China’s greatest ever teacher, he acted more as a mentor than a pedagogue to his disciples – helping them to reach their own considered conclusions rather than giving them formal instruction based on a structured curriculum.

Far from being disappointed or angry that Qidiao Kai has gone against his own recommendation, Confucius is delighted his disciple has demonstrated that he possesses the necessary maturity and judgment to decide that he is not yet ready to take on the rigorous demands of an official position and has the courage to turn down what appears to be a great opportunity.

Although Qidiao Kai only makes this single appearance in the Analects, he was a highly-influential disciple and went to establish his own school dedicated to the teachings of Confucius.

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