If you haven’t heard about the tiny little book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, then you need to quit wiping snotty noses and head over to your computer. Stat. You don’t need to buy the book. But? Everyone else is. I just did. It was released on January 11, 2011 and is already number eight on Amazon’s Book list.
There are plenty of articles to be read, and interviews to be watched if you don’t have time to read the entire book. In full disclosure, I have only just started and this post is based on the interviews I have seen her do and the quotes I have taken from the MANY articles I have read.
Amy Chua, the author, has disturbed some proverbial poop with this one, and I TOTALLY want to be part of the discussion. I don’t know if her intention was to piss off a country of moms that hold steadfast to their nurturing ways, but she sure as hell did. I find her to be quite intelligent, so I can’t imagine a scenario in which she didn’t understand that her words would be received in such a way. Nothing pisses a mom off more than saying my kids are better than yours and the reason they are is because I ask them to be and you don’t. Perceived translation? I am a better mother than you. And? She said it to a Nation, not just her playgroup. (She didn’t say it to her playgroup, because doesn’t believe in them. I dare say, they would probably have kicked her tiny arse out anyway.)
It might seem to you all that I don’t like her or her book or her thoughts. But? That would be untrue. I respect her as a mother, as I try and do all mothers. We are all different, using different tactics, but striving for the same thing. To raise healthy, happy adults.
I would ask everyone to take a deep breath and try and discuss this intelligently and without emotion. A big ask, as we moms tend to be very emotional when it comes to protecting our children. Some of us, a little less tiger and and a little more mother hen if you will.
It would be easy to jump on the “she’s a monster” bandwagon. And by easy, I mean really, really easy. Her tactics and rigidity make me cringe. Instead, I tried to be open and objective about what she has to say. Perhaps, I could learn a few things from her.
I have children that I feel don’t live up to their potential. They get C’s and B’s when they are quite capable of A’s. They sit on Facebook instead of studying. They play Xbox instead of practicing their athletics. They have sleepovers when they could be working on a research paper. They watch television when they could be doing volunteer work.
Am I okay with their decisions? All too often, I am not. Am I panicked most days that I am raising lazy adults that will never live up to their potential? To the point of stomach aches some days.
I would prefer they worked harder. I would prefer not to get calls from their teachers informing me that they aren’t turning in their homework. It would be nice to have a parent teacher conference where I didn’t hear that they could be an A student, because they are clearly intelligent enough, but that they do only enough to get by and not enough to excel.
And that? Is my fault. Every. Single. Bit of it. I could ask more of them. I could force them to work harder. I could limit their television, computers, ipods, sleepovers, etc. and ask them to work harder. But? I am too lazy to do it. There. I said it. And there is a tiny part of me that would rather not fight with them, so I accept the C’s and B’s. If I am being honest, it is more than a tiny part, it’s more an enormous cavernous part in my heart that knows I only have a certain number of years with them and I don’t want to spend them all fighting over their schoolwork.
Amy Chua has chosen instead, to focus on their life after they leave her parental nest. She states over and over that there is love and respect in their home and I wouldn’t disagree with that for a second. When her children are asked, they say the same. They also say when they grow up, they will raise their children in a similar way. I must say, I was surprised by that. But I guess being the best at everything you do, would tend to make your pretty darn happy about the way you are raised.
What I am not saying is that Amy Chua is right and our American ways are wrong. Her tactics, in my opinion, are ghastly and barbaric at times. But? That has nothing to do with loving her children. She loves them. She proves it in wanting the very best for them. She is afraid, just like the rest of us, that when her children head out into the big bad world that she will not have properly prepared them for a successful life. (I am making an assumption here as I have never actually heard her say that.)
What I am saying, is that probably somewhere in the middle of our American ways and her Chinese ways lies a better balance for all. There are always lessons to be learned if you are willing to open your mind and not judge. I suggest everyone read the book. Hate what you want, but give yourself permission to like a little bit too.