I Am Part Chinese

This has been sitting in my drafts since February – I have decided to now publish it.

Yes, I am sure the title caught your attention! 🙂 After reading some excerpts and some of the uproar, I was excited when my copy of Amy Chua’s, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, came in at the library. I was #41 on the hold list and thankfully those ahead of me were fast readers.

In the items that I read prior to the reading the book, there were obviously some that were upset with her parenting skills or what they perceived as a lack of…yet, I read some stories in which the author herself almost sounded regretful about her choices in retrospect. Going in, I didn’t know what to expect and being one that likes to make up my own mind after gathering the facts, I plunged into reading during my kids piano practice sessions.

Needless to say, I was so engrossed that I didn’t realize when my daughter’s session was over and it was time for mine to begin. The book held my attention from the beginning and while not in total agreement with everything, I don’t fault her because she was doing what she thought was best for her daughters and honestly, none of our children (nor us) came with instructions so all of us have made our share of parenting mistakes we are just not gutsy enough to compile them in a book for others to read and thus judge us.

From the beginning, Ms. Chua is clear that “Chinese” isn’t limited to those from China nor is “Western” limited to those of us from the West. Learning has always been important in my home. My grandfather read the newspaper everyday and made a habit of looking up words that he didn’t know and he would start to use them in his vocabulary. Neither of my parents went to college yet from the time I was small, I heard on a continuous basis:

You have 2 strikes against you – color and gender so you must work extra hard at everything in order for it to count.
I was always expected to do my best! While my stuffed animal collection was never threatened with bodily harm, I did lose some privileges along the way due to lack of effort.

Now that I am a mom and a homeschooling mom at that, my kids will definitely tell you that their best is the goal and no I am not a fan of everyone getting a trophy just for participating.

  • Am I too hard on them at times? I think so…
  • Do I expect too much from them? At times…..
  • Do I think they are capable of more? Of course….

Sometimes my husband thinks I may need to lighten up and let’s not even talk about my parents – I love how they conveniently forget everything they did as parents when they become grandparents. However, all of them change their tune when they see the work and preparation intersect in this thing called life. Everyday we see more and more how what they have learned is shaping them into the beings that God would have them to be….that is our job as parents – to prepare them.

Very few people in this world are full of that much self-motivation that they will rise to the next level by and of themselves, most of us need to be pushed/challenged. The Chinese are obviously better at that than many Westerners and empirically it has been shown and proven.

I enjoyed the book and appreciate Ms. Chua for putting it all out there – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Some days in my home are not picture perfect and tranquil but I believe if there is enough love to go around – the love will cover the multitude of mistakes that we as parents make when trying to train and raise up our little blessings.