Saturday, January 15, 2011

My "lost" thoughts part 1

This week, there was quite a flurry over the new memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Yale law professor Amy Chua. I have not read this book yet but currently am on the reserve list at the library for it. This book has gotten controversial reviews and first received a lot of attention after her Wall Street Journal piece.

Chua has recently made the tv and radio rounds this week, including on the Diane Rehm show which was one of the first interviews I heard. Chua basically raised her two children similar to the traditional Asian style--strict. This style is all about success, especially academics. Other subjects may be emphasized like music, maybe a sport (think golf pro Michelle Wi), maybe chess (new chess prodigy Hou Yifan, the new women’s world chess champion, youngest ever for male or female), but the majority it is in some academic realm--think medicine, engineering, or business. Some say this is one reason why the Asian immigrants as a whole have been very successful here (America). Some have called them "the model citizens."

This made me think a lot about my own childhood, the idea of success, and what I feel now. Although my upbringing was not as strict as what is described in Chua's book--I had sleepovers, time spent with my friends, ability to choose different activities, no threatening of burning of stuffed animals or donating doll houses piece by piece to the salvation army if I didn't get a difficult subject perfect, (these are examples from the book that has gotten much attention from parents), etc., there was still an underlying expectation to succeed by my father (and myself). Growing up I could never figure out if this was just me and my personality (was I really this self-motivated?)or whether it was due to how my father always described Asians--as successful.

For much of my life, it was all about medicine. When as I like to say reality set in, and I realized I did not have the "great at math and science Asian gene" (insert sarcasm), I lost confidence in myself, became phobic of those subjects and never wanted to look at them again. Thus went all the pre-med stuff, and I leaned towards liberal arts. In the end, it was more satisfying, less stressful, and everything seemed okay for awhile.

This is when I got into dog training and found that I did enjoy this. But was it/is it something I can do forever? And this is where my "lost" thoughts come in. Sorry to leave everyone hanging, but I will write in more detail in my next post soon.


I Hate to Weight said...

i was raised just the opposite- no rules, curfews, etc. i missed a lot of school, rarely studied and preferred to hang out, reading and dieting.

i don't have kids, so i don't really know much here, but i do think balance is the best -- lots of love and consistent boundaries.

what do you think of the "Asian" model? i would imagine it works well with some kids and not so well with others

Tiptoe said...

I agree with you balance is key. Each child is different, so a parent needs to cater what will work and won't work for them.

As for the Asian model, it has shown a great amount of success, but the question is will the child grow up to be happy? There can be great divide between parents and children who grow up in the west and want more individualism versus collectivism, something more prominent in the eastern cultures.