Thursday, January 20, 2011

Contemplating the Tiger

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . sharing frozen yogurt with my kids.

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy decided to call our cell phones from the home phone this morning. It was kinda weird to have a phone conversation with her while she was standing just a few feet away.

. . . perhaps you've heard of (or even read) the Jan 8 Wall Street Journal essay Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior. The author, Yale law professor Amy Chua, explains that Chinese mothers build confidence and success in children by using coercion to help them realize their potential.

The essay has ignited a firestorm of outrage and opposition, which Chua says is largely due to a misunderstanding. In an interview with Yale Daily News, she clarifies that the essay is actually a tongue-in-cheek excerpt from the beginning of her new memoir "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." The excerpt reflects her early views on child-rearing. When her teenager later rebelled against her super-strict parenting style, Chua realized she needed to make some serious changes to her "Tiger Mother" approach or risk losing her daughter.

I'm curious to read the book, because the excerpt gave me a lot to think about. Though I totally disagree with some parts of it (e.g. using insults to motivate), and Chua herself later says that some aspects of her early approach weren't good for her kids, some of her statements made me seriously evaluate my own parenting style.

I want my children to be well-behaved, hard-working, disciplined, and successful, but I feel hamstrung by doubt and my own weaknesses. I hesitate to set the bar unreasonably high for them, and even if the height is attainable I wonder if I can push them to reach for it without them rebelling or disregarding me. I worry that I expect too little of my kids (and of myself as their parent), so they are coming to expect little of themselves.

One of the greatest challenges of life is achieving balance--firm vs flexible, strict vs nurturing, optimism vs realism. May God guide me as I strive to strike that balance.


Science Teacher Mommy said...

She is everywhere. Today's Segullah post is filled with her too.

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

I hadn't visited in a while, so I'm glad you reminded me about it. That post (and a few others I read) were uplifting and thought-provoking. I can always use more of that.