Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother Book Review
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Book Review: Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother
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And as a "Tiger mother" herself, she assumed the absolute right to dictate her children's activities and demand rigorous academic standards of them at all times, ridiculing them if necessary to spur them on to greater efforts. Her children were never allowed to attend a sleepover, have a playdate, watch TV or choose their own extracurricular activities. They were also expected to be top in every subject except gym and drama and never get anything other than A-grades — because, Chua explains, Chinese parents believe it is their responsibility to ensure their children's academic achievement above everything else.
Chua argues that western parents. Chinese parents aren't. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently," she says. If their child doesn't achieve perfect exam results, the Chinese parent assumes it's because he or she didn't work hard enough. And it is crucial for a mother to have the "fortitude" to override her children's preferences, because to enjoy anything you have to be good at it, to be good at it you have to work, and children on their own never wish to work, she adds.
Nor is it just solely in the arena of schoolwork that a healthy disregard for your child's feelings is recommended. Chua first explains that in Chinese culture, if a child fails, it is the failure of the parent, I am intrigued. When she is still saying this after an exhaustive war, and negotiated a truce, I roll my eyes. And she takes it personally! Also, What a Western parent I have become, I thought to myself. After all that she and her daughters have struggled with, to have gained no greater perspective than to conclude she is a failure for trying to find some middle ground, and equate such failure with Western ways is sad. It shows what inner conflict she still has. Everything turns on your performance. At this point I want to put her back on a slow boat to China!
Or tell her to stop hiding behind cultural norms. This has nothing to do with being Chinese. This is Amy Chua as an individual with enough free will to keep such thoughts to herself. She chooses not to. Or school friends. I thought fun was not in Chinese vocabulary!!! And, you had time to play with your school friends? All the drama and chaos with adhering to strict and rigid rules for practice, telling her daughters - -never quit, never give up, believe and expect that you can do it, all the lecturing about childhood NOT as fun, but as preparation for the future, all the drilling and obsession to compete and excel. Then I have an epiphany. Perhaps that is why she is living so vicariously through her daughters!
She is getting to redo her past. She can overcome that inability to handle the pressure, by watching her daughters conquer it. She can compete and excel and win first prize! This Inquiring Mind Wants to Know if that is selfish on her part or a win-win for them both. Meanwhile, Lulu makes it quite clear that her mother should stay out of her tennis life. Lulu, what we need to do is channel your strength-. Mommy, I get it! This woman is absolutely impervious to change! Chua, listen to Li Na-the Chinese tennis player about to go to the Australian Open Finals-who when asked about her mother and whether she expected her mother to attend the Finals-Li Na laughingly replies that her mother never came- 'I have my life, I didn't want to come with you' Amy Chua, on the other hand, is a parent who can't let go of being coach, trainer, supervisor, organizer.
She might shudder to think how much she has in common with some Western moms and dads. Just when I think I will throw the book across the room, there comes a tiny light at the end of the tunnel. Three pages before the actual ends of the book Amy Chua writes:. The Chinese way until the child is eighteen, to develop confidence and the value of excellence, then the Western Way after that. Every individual has to find their own path, I added gallantly pg At this point I have to laugh. Ms Chua has not made any giant step forward.
At eighteen in America, any young person can go off and find his or her own path without permission from Mom or Dad. Does she know that colleges will send her absolutely no information? Is she preparing to bring a whole new meaning to the term helicopter parent! In the end, Ms Chua remains steadfast in her criticisms of Western Culture. I refuse to buckle to politically correct Western social norms that are obviously stupid. And not even rooted historically. What are the origins of the Playdate anyway? Do you think our Founding Fathers had Sleepovers? She cites- Never, ever wasteth time Ben Franklin ;. I am a huge believer in luck, and the harder I work the more I have of it Thomas Jefferson.
And then she concludes- That is a totally Chinese way of thinking. Who knew that the American work ethic, the one that built this country and made it thrive originated in China! Was it sent by carrier pigeon with a label-made in China? No offense to Ms. Chua, and I have tremendous respect for Chinese culture. I have tried to understand Ms Chua as a Chinese mother. I share some of her views and empathize with some of her fears. I do not care to pass judgment on her parental style.
I wish she had not been so judgmental about Western ways. Her book would have worked just as well, had she illuminated Chinese philosophy and left criticisms of Western values out the equation. Her issues with her daughters had less to do with Western values and more to do with Ms Chua's personality. Her daughters will be the judges, not me. Her family dynamic is what's important, and in all fairness, she was willing to make the choice necessary to hold her family together. But I must respond to Ms. Chua's generalization of Western society. She sounds surprisingly provincial. America, like China is a very big country-But, it is not monolithic or Communist. It is pluralistic and Democratic -digesting a greater diversity of political, social, and religious thought than any other country in the world.
Americans make up conservative, moderate, liberal, libertarian, socialist and, in fact communist political views. Our religious beliefs span from the devout to the reform, and include Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Baptists to name a few. We combine such a vast range and combination of ethnicities that it would be impossible to list them all. And finally, the particular Western way Ms. But they were rare, and only moments. That was how Chua was brought up, and she was a great success — getting into Yale Law School and becoming a professor there, with a clever and loving husband and two equally clever children. She simply cannot understand what was wrong. But then, as Chua admits herself, she rarely reflects.
She sets the goals and goes for them: she even believed Coco, the family dog, had hidden talents and should be pushed to excel as a show dog — even if she eventually concluded that it was "perfectly fine for most dogs not to have a profession". Chua's book would have benefited from more reflection. She says she does not know why she adopted the approach she did— it is just what Chinese families do. In fact, it goes back to the 2,year-old Confucian belief that education is superior and all else is inferior. For over a millennium, Chinese emperors chose officials to run China, from the county clerk to prime minister, out of the successful candidates in the imperial exam. Doing well would change your life and that of your family.
Chua is tough with her children because, like many Chinese people, she thinks of childhood as an investment — the most crucial one. But if we are indeed successful, are we happy? Tens of millions of children in China do nothing but study, and have extremely limited social, emotional and practical skills. On the first day of university, thousands of parents turn up with their quilts; they sleep in the gym, so they can help their year-olds with the difficult tasks of signing up for their courses, acquiring their food coupons, even making their beds.