Not only would a tiger mother never use the word “ain’t,” but I’m sure she would also never waste time philosophizing about her parenting/teaching style. Which (fair warning) I am about to do. I just finished reading Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. (So what happened to the Now Reading…thingie with a link to your book on Amazon? Huh, xanga???) It is quite a book.
I alternate between thinking, “That woman is so driven she’s insane,” which I think is true, to thinking, “I need a little more of that in me.” Also true. I am not one tiny bit like her, and I can’t quite decide whether to be depressed or thankful about that!
What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences.
…[Westerners] just keep repeating things like ‘You have to give your children the freedom to pursue their passion’ when it’s obvious that the ‘passion’ is just going to turn out to be Facebook for ten hours which is a total waste of time!
The trouble is that I read that last bit and think, well, she’s right about that! Seems to be true with my teens anyway. But then I look at her methods–forcing her girls to practice their instruments for six hours a day, never giving them any free time, shaming them when they come in second–and I think NO WAY, that’s not even right! Besides, I’m not so sure about the first sentence above. There are lots of things that can be fun even when you’re not very good at them.
The book is fascinating, and I think she may have some good points, but there’s one thing I know for sure. If she’s right that a good mother will devote her life to making sure her children excel at all costs, all that means is that I will never be a “good mother.” I would never have the energy to do what she has done. Nor would I be able to tolerate the constant battles that would inevitably result. The picture this book paints of her relationship with her children is not one of joy.
I’ll choose joy, thank you!