Is the following indeed a Chinese proverb and if so, is the author known, is it still commonly used and how is it spelled in Chinese?

If you want happiness for a lifetime, help the younger generation.
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    Drux, as stated in our FAQ, this is not a translation service so asking to translate something is off topic. What you can do is propose a translation you came up with, showing how you got it (something more than pasting on Google Translate) and then asking the parts you're not sure of.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Aug 2, 2013 at 9:21
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    @Alenanno: I think this question is clear: it's not asking for a translation but "whether there's an origin of this proverb in China". I did some search and only found its English and Japanese versions and some personal translation (from English) by native Chinese. However, although all those pages say this is a Chinese proverb, I can't find a convincing original version yet ...
    – Stan
    Commented Aug 2, 2013 at 9:38
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    @Drux - Can you please do some prior research. I appreciate that you are trying to learn the language, but we want to be 100% sure that questions on this site are on topic otherwise people not trying to learn the language can ask many similar type questions. Asking whether or not a proverb is Chinese is off-topic.
    – going
    Commented Aug 2, 2013 at 10:24
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    @Drux, can you include some reference where it is claimed this English is from Chinese proverb?
    – NS.X.
    Commented Aug 2, 2013 at 19:15
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    @Stan, there is no way to prove a negative. There could be hundreds of questions like this and OP did not even quote a single reference. It is commendable that you do what the OP is supposed to do though.
    – 杨以轩
    Commented Aug 3, 2013 at 10:34

1 Answer 1


Yes! there is a very close proverb. 养儿防老, it's not said by any known author, but just very commonly used in Chinese daily life.

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    +1. Quite close. Better than what I found on the Internet: "教育下一代,幸福一辈子。", "落红不是无情物,化作春泥更护花。", etc. BTW, it's from Song Dynasty 陈元靓's 事林广记: "养儿防老,积谷防饥"
    – Stan
    Commented Aug 2, 2013 at 10:35
  • I think this is semantically different: it seems to indicate e.g. that children may care for their parents in old age whereas the other proverb indicates e.g. that teaching can be a noble profession.
    – Drux
    Commented Aug 2, 2013 at 10:57
  • @Drux: the problem is, when a proverb is translated to another language, the translator tries to recover the "true" meaning from it. As there would be different understandings/interpretations, the final translation result is sometimes strange to native speakers. I admit, as a native Chinese speaker I felt that proverb quite "Chinese culture style" when seeing the English version you posted, but I cannot recall an exact proverb in Chinese. Personally speaking, this answer would be a good candidate -- though it's not often translated into English like that.
    – Stan
    Commented Aug 2, 2013 at 12:06
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    @Yang, Note OP is trying to verify the source of the English translation instead of looking for alternative Chinese translations. If none of us native speakers can think of a proverb, we should say 'we couldn't think of it, the English translation might have misinterpreted the original proverb, or it was not from Chinese', which is precise and valid, instead of providing an answer off from the question. (My comment is toward your comment above, not your answer - I think this answer is good.)
    – NS.X.
    Commented Aug 3, 2013 at 0:29
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    @Drux Given Chinese culture and tradition, I don't believe there is a famous old saying that cultivates childcare without selfish causes. If it's indeed from Chinese, it's likely from modern time, in which case it's hard to distinguish proverb from propaganda slogans.
    – NS.X.
    Commented Aug 3, 2013 at 0:39

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