A STUDY ON AMERICAN FAMILY EDUCATION ——WITH REFERENCE TO THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS
Based on experience, analysis of literature and case analysis, this paper analyzes the American family education from the perspective of cultural value.
First, on the shoulder of previous study, this paper defines family education and explains the relationship between culture and education. Then the writer selects the movie The Pursuit of Happyness as the resource of research, choosing three typical episodes which obviously reflect the American family education as the objects of study. Next, this paper tries to analyze the cause of American education in the aspects of cultural tradition, historical background, and economy factors. Eventually, the writer gets the conclusion that as an inseparable part of American culture, family education is inevitably marked with the social features. Finally, some constructive suggestions have been put forward for the reforming of Chinese family education.
Key words：Family education; American culture; The Pursuit of Happyness
1. Introduction 1
2．The theoretical basis of the study 2
2.1 Family education and culture 2
2.2 The relationship between culture and family education 4
3. Analysis of the cause of American family education features with reference to the movie The Pursuit of Happyness 5
3.1 Characteristics of American family education reflected in the typical episodes from the movie 6
3.2 Analysis of the cause of American family education 9
4. Suggestions about Chinese family education 13
4.1 On the aspect of education objects 13
4.2 On the aspect of education contents 13
4.3 On the aspect of education methods 14
Since the Reform and Opening-up, education has got worldwide attention unprecedentedly. As the most elementary education, family education has made significant progresses. Along with the rapid development of China’s economy and the family planning policy, the single-child family children have already become the core of family. Thus it puts forward higher requirements for education, as the most solitary education, family education unavoidably results in scholars’ attention.
After a large scale of research the writer found that family education hadn’t been deeply researched. According to the CNKI, only four pages deliberately presented the concept of family education. They are Comparative Study about Family Education between China and America in the View of Values by Mr. Yang Zhihua in 2006;  Cross Cultural Study of Chinese and American Family Education by Mr. Yang Heng in 2007;  The Research on Family Quality Education in China and America by Ms. Huang Chunlian in 2005. All of them used the basic theories of comparative education to make a deep comparison between domestic condition of family education and American family education.
Meanwhile these four essays all present the conception of family education in an abstract way without some example of cases. Moreover these essays just make the comparisons of family education in China and America. As we all know, clearing about the reasons will get twice the results with half effort. Thus, in this page the writer tries to choose some episodes from the movie The Pursuit of Happyness which has typically reflected the characteristics of American family education, and make a further explanation of the reasons of such kind of features in the aspects of economy, culture and policy. Then the writer gets the conclusion that as the most important part of basic education, family education is inevitably marked with the social features. Finally, some constructive suggestions have been put forward for the reforming of Chinese family education.
2．The theoretical basis of the study
2.1 Family education and culture
In order to explain the relationship between culture and education, it is necessary to define the family education and culture. This part will give the readers a general understanding of culture and family education.
2.1.1 The definition of culture
To begin with, it is very necessary to define the term “culture” clearly so that the readers may easily understand what the term includes when we talk about the culture and family education .Due to the thousands years disputes of the definition of “culture” it is really difficult to define the concept of it. Although to define the concept of “culture” has always been a very difficult task, different scholars from different fields perceive it differently. According to the Chinese dictionary it can be defined as following: Culture or human, it is human values of objectification, people in the creation of value of utility for wealth spread common process, with the pure natural phenomenon, including all human phenomena. Culture is the essence of human beings, human nature appeared in the reform and reconstruction itself, in the meanwhile creating culture has created a labor function into thinking of “cultural animal”, which differs from the other animals adapt to nature passive.56
And in contemporary thought, “culture” is a word, at least four aspects: (1) the cultural significance of the universal mind, which refers to the state and habits, (2) culture, namely the society as a whole of common sense and moral development status, (3) culture, art and rational refers to the overall work; generally (4) culture, which refers to a given society life (including material, reason, and the spirit of the way). 79
Most social scientists today view culture as consisting primary of the symbolic, ideational, intangible aspects. The essence of culture is not its artifacts, tools, but other tangible aspects of human societies. People within the same culture usually interpret the meaning of symbols, artifacts, and behaviors in the same or similar ways.
2.1.2 Family education
188.8.131.52The definition of family education
This part will talk about the definition of family education which is obviously observed as the basic research in family education. According to the study of the present theories, it can be defined as followings:
Family education is the education that given unconsciously to the issues by parents and or older persons in the family.  It is the mutual influence between the family members; especially the parents give the issues. 56 It is the purposeful influence on family, no matter parents on the issues the issues on the parents, the elder on the young, young on the elder. Family education is the education that is given consciously to the issues by the parents or older persons in the family. 102
These theories cover the range, subject, and content of family education. It is clear that family education is a kind of education where parents play an irreplaceable part.
184.108.40.206 The characteristics of family education
In the human society, every person was born in the certain family. In each family, every couple as long as they have children ought to take the responsibility of education; every youngster is supposed to be educated by the old. Even in the special family or special time, the education does exist without exception. Anyhow, there are how many families; there are how many education places and how many educators. Not limited at home, the classroom of family education is the place where the family members get together. Meanwhile, the content and methods of family education are broad too.
Moreover the family education is a kind of lifelong education, which influences the family member during the daily life.
Third one is that family education diversifies in forms. For instance family education is not limited by textbook, classroom, teaching plan, teaching aim, etc. as the school education. Without fixed modality, it is able to perform at any time and any place. It always happens in the resting, entertaining, talking, cleaning, visiting, traveling, Even a look, an expression, a gesture are all the forms of it.