A boy from the village of Que

A boy from the village of Que came bearing a message. Someone asked about him, saying: “Is he likely to improve himself?” Confucius said: “I have noticed that he seats himself among others and walks alongside people older than himself. He is not looking to improve himself; he wants to grow up too fast.”

Although there’s nothing exceptional about the boy’s behavior in the more informal social climate that prevails today, Confucius is scandalized by the lack of deference he shows to his elders. By wanting “to grow up too fast”, the boy promises to be nothing but trouble….

That puts Book 14 of the Analects to bed. You can see the full translation here.

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