5.23.2011

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother


What a great book!  If you haven't read it, you should.  It's a really light and easy read and will really get you thinking about the purpose of childhood. 

If you haven't yet heard about all of the controversy surrounding this book, let me give you a quick recap:

This is a story about a Yale Law Professor, Amy Chua, and how she raised her two daughters, Lulu and Sophia, in the "Chinese way."  This includes things such as:  refusing to accept a less-than impressive birthday card made by her young daughter because it was of poor quality, making her daughters practice piano and violin for hours and hours each day, including while on vacations, and not allowing her daughters to attend sleepovers or have play dates or watch TV...because, duh, they didn't have time because they had to practice music. 

As she explained at her appearance on The Colbert Report, this is not a how-to-book, and is merely a memoir of her life.

I gotta say, I loved her parenting style!  But I couldn't help thinking that it would be impossible for most people to ever emulate this style because it seems like you might have to be rich in order to carry out parenting in the "Chinese way."  Think traveling to over 15 different countries before the girls were even in their teens, hiring a Mandarin-speaking nanny to do double duty (teach a second language and child care) and paying violin coaches by the hour to travel with the family to auditions. But, I'm sure that if you didn't have these resources and you really wanted to implement a "Chinese" parenting style, then you could probably find a way.

Lots of people are mad at the book and are saying things like, "Well we don't have the same resources or luxuries as her, so we can't do what she did with her kids."  Or, "Does she think she's better than us?"  Or, "She has no right to tell us that we're raising our children wrong."

But these people forget that this book is not a manual.  It's a story of this family's life.  Chua didn't write this book as an example on how to parent.  She wrote it as a self-reflection on her own parenting style, while showcasing all of the struggles and successes along the way.   

I think one of the best illustrations of success is this letter written to her by her daughter, Sophia.  I love this family and definitely recommend reading the book!

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