“Strict, uncompromising values and discipline are what makes children raised by Chinese parents successful.”
– “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” Amy Chua (HT: Psychology Today)
A lot of vapid and unintelligent people found Yale Law Professor Amy Chua scary and foreign or something. Dr. Chua offered us an opinion, (from the viewpoint of a Chinese Mother) as to why Tiger Mothers raised superior children. It came down to basics. Dr. Chua lays these out below.
Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to …:
• attend a sleepover
• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• watch TV or play computer games
• choose their own extracurricular activities
• get any grade less than an A
• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
• play any instrument other than the piano or violin
• not play the piano or violin.
As a parent, this puts me to shame. I make our four-year old take violin, go to swimming lessons, attend Korean School on Saturday, and do extra math four times a week. I’ve trained him how to use an abacus. And even bought him “Ye Olde’ SpongeBob Squarepants Addition and Subtraction Workbook “– With Stickers!!
I’ll reiterate, Dr. Chua’s parenting puts mine to shame. Apparently, she puts an awful large number of my fellow Americans to shame as well. I congratulate her. I wish I was more like her and admire the tremendous success that her two daughters enjoy in their lives. Other people have different reactions and this, for America is unfortunate.
David Brooks chronicles well the whining and complaining that ensued over that creepy furriner (and Yale Law School Professor) Amy Chua and her martinet style of parenting. The catalogs of whines-cum unfair stereotypes against Asian-Americans follow below.
Her kids can’t possibly be happy or truly creative. They’ll grow up skilled and compliant but without the audacity to be great. She’s destroying their love for music. There’s a reason Asian-American women between the ages of 15 and 24 have such high suicide rates.
Her kids can’t be truly creative? Get out of town! Speaking from an utterly Euro-Phallo-Centric prospective, Thomas Edison had the following thoughts on creativity. It’s 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. Less than 500 people who have ever lived qualify as legitimate geniuses, the rest of us who have done anything impressive at all have had to bust our @$$es to get it done. Tyler Durden, from the movie “Fight Club,” had the right of it when he told his Space Monkeys they were not “God’s unique and beautiful snowflakes.”
So SpongeBob Addition and Subtraction, stickers and all, won’t make my little son truly creative. He needs Calculus with Patrick, Econometrics with Squidward and then a dose of Real Analysis with The Small, Bad Plankton. Truly creative kids turn off the idiot box and knock out twenty more push-ups.
They won’t have the audacity to be great? FTW? Greatness is what? Greatness means being better than those against whom we compete. Nobody reaches greatness through sheer audacity. People who intelligently manage risk (i.e. do something “audacious”) know good and well what they are getting into, and have carefully tabulated the odds.
Another one of those Euro-Phallo-Centric Dudes, Aristotle, described the audacity to be great as follows. “Excellence is a habit.” You develop habits when you do things repeatedly. Practicing the right thing until it is second nature frees the mind. It allows you to do it instead of having to think about doing it.
After years of developing such habits, Aristotle could truly say “I have gained this from my philosophy. I do of my own volition what other men do only from fear of the laws.” It sounds like Amy Chua’s kids could probably make the same audacious statement. Isn’t that just great?
Whether she destroys their love for music is indeterminate and beside the point. Amy Chua wasn’t trying to train musicians. She was teaching her children to work and then showing them that the fruits of their labor can be readily observed. Hard work makes you better.
Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones played music for a living. I imagine he practiced lo the hours to get good enough to go on stage and perform in front of tens of thousands of fans. I imagine he found his guitar practice to be drudgery. His parents must have given him something to help him persevere. When his father was cremated, Keith snorted a sample of his ashes along with a hit of cocaine. As sick as this may sound, it was a twisted way of saying thanks.
And as to the suicide rate among 15-24 year old Asian Females, if you were a younger version of Amy Chua, and you were stranded in a strange land where all the guys who hit on you had the sincerity of Barack Obama, and the morals of Ben Rapistberger,…. I’ll go no further with the Beyesian Analysis, it could lead to rhetoric that incites violence. Then I’d be part of the problem, rather than being part of the solution, like Genghis Khan. Imagine what his mother must have been like after a botched piano recital.