"The Classic of Filial Piety" is a short treatise arising from the Confucian school in about 400 BC. It reports a discussion of Confucius with his student Zēngzǐ. The Chinese character for filial piety 孝 (xiào) represents a son (子, zǐ) supporting an old man (老, lǎo). Confucius teaches Zēngzǐ that devotion to one's parents is the beginning of education and moral order in society. A filial emperor serves as a model to all of his subjects. Filial lords, ministers, and officials preserve their offices and ancestral temples and sacrifices. Filial children support their parents in their old age, mourn them decorously at their death, and then sacrifice to their departed spirits. They preserve the good name of the family.
Filial piety does not require, however, unquestioning obedience to parents or those in authority. When those above you err, you should remonstrate with them and thereby help to preserve them from disaster. The practice of filial piety finds favor with heaven; neglect of it brings calamity.