When millions of Chinese stayed in their warm homes to celebrate Chinese New Year Eve, a 4-year-old boy called He Yide, who travelled to New York with his parents, was asked to run naked at 8:30 am in New York, in inches of snow and at – 13°C (9°F). The self-claimed “Eagle Dad” of the little boy recorded the whole process, which, after being posted online, aroused controversy and received waves of criticisms from Chinese netizens.
8:30 am in New York (Chinese New Year Even in China), after 30 minutes of warm –up, a 4-year-old boy took off his clothes and started to run, with only shorts and sneakers on, in streets covered with snow and at a temperature as low as – 13°C (9°F). He asked for a hug, he tried to say no and he cried, but still, he was asked by his dad to do push-ups in the end. The little boy’s dad, who called himself the “Eagle Dad”, was filming the whole process, and when did close-ups of his son, he said: “Smile.”
Transcript of conversations in the video:
Eagle Dad: “Come out, come out. Be quick.”
Eagle Dad: “Come on. Run, run forward.”
The boy: “Papa, hug. Can you hold me in arms for a while?”
Eagle Dad: “It’s OK, it’s OK. Do push-ups. Do push-ups.”
The boy: “I don’t want to.”
Eagle Dad: “Run. Be quick. Run, run forward.”
The boy: “I want mom. Papa, can you tell mom to come over?”
Eagle Dad: “Run. Be quick and run.”
The boy: “Mom, can you hold me in arms for a while?”
The mom: “Come on. It’s OK. You can do it. Yeah! You’re the best.”
Eagle Dad: “Do push-ups. It’s OK. Just do it.”
The boy: “(crying…) I don’t want to.”
So what’s the rationale behind all this? Eagle Dad, who used to be a teacher and now a businessman, justified his behavior by saying that he set up extremely strict physical training plans to build the boy’s strength and spirits. The boy was born premature and diagnosed with paralysis. Immediately after the boy came out of hospital, the Eagle Dad started planning, using his past experiences as a teacher and his expertise in management. He was on a mission to restore health into his son. He called himself the “Eagle Dad” because eagles always give their children a hard push when they are ready to leave the nest and learn to fly.
Since the boy was only 6 months old, the Eagle dad has put the boy to 8 hours of physical training per day. He said that the boy was able to climb to the top of a hill near their home at only 2 years old.
“He is in perfect health now,” claimed the Eagle Dad, “both physically and intellectually. After 3 years of strict physical training, no one can tell that my son was born premature now. Even better, he is superior than most children at his age in many aspects such as physical strength, courage, IQ, EQ, persistence, memory, etc. He now knows over 3000 Chinese characters and already started to learn some simple math.”
“My boy was admitted in a kindergarten‘s genius program when we traveled in the US last year.” said the Eagle Dad, “He gets along with his little friends very well and he knows to share and to be grateful.”
The Eagle Dad also had the little boy tested by a famous IQ testing organization in Taiwan, and the boy was said to have an IQ of 218. So it’s not a surprise that the Eagle Dad is very proud of what he has been doing. And it’s also easy to understand that the little boy, at only 4, will start his formal schooling this month at a prestigious local primary school (Reed original interview from Sina in Chinese).
Yet the Eagle Dad, together with the video clip of his son running naked in snow, received waves of criticism online. Most netizens think the Eagle Dad was way too harsh, almost to the extent of insanity. But there are also people who think the Eagle Dad’s way of parenting is OK as long as he is meant to do good to the boy.
Survey done by Sina Weibo