Friday, January 21, 2011

Tiger Wounds

By now, everyone's probably heard about Amy Chua's controversial memoir, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother".  In it, Chua describes her stringent method of parenting her two daughters, who by most accounts have become successful young women.  To get them there however, Chua told them they were "garbage", denied them extracurricular activities (like sports), chose the instruments they had to excel in playing, and deprived them of food and water when they didn't want to practice.  Sounds monstrous, right?

Two articles today have responded to this book very well, I thought.  The first, called "'Tiger Mothers' Leave Lifelong Scars" by Lac Su.  This article hit close to home with me, and I felt very empathetic towards the author's painful journey and his desire to raise his children with love and compassion.  The other which is a more academic response, is from Rabbi Schmuley Boteach: "War Cry of the Values-Based Parents."  Although it's hard for me to fight my lifelong Confucian-based programming that academic and career success are the ultimate goals, I find more and more that I'm most interested in raising compassionate, independent and happy girls who make a positive contribution to society and have a healthy dose of self-esteem.  Whether they get there by climbing the corporate ladder or building outhouses in a third world country makes no difference to me.

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