Tiger Mother

/ Friday, February 11, 2011 /
There's been so much hype, controversy, and, ultimately, publicity about this new book on parenting in the so-called "Chinese style". It's name is Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua. There was a WSJ article published about it at the beginning of this year (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754.html) that stirred a lot of attention. In basic essence, in the article, Amy talks about how she raised her daughters, drawing excerpts from the book, and how that has influenced both her and her daughters' lives.

There have been MANY strong, mixed reactions to the article. Some people are strongly critical of Amy for raising her daughters this way, others are amazed by the way her daughters turned out, and still others worry for the future of her daughters when they finally leave her mothers' grasp. I was pretty amazed by the turnout of comments. Being an Asian-American girl living in the United States, I grew up in a household with an Asian mother and father (duh lolz). I went through a similar, so-called by Amy "Chinese childhood," albeit my parents weren't as strict as Amy was. My parents emphasized a lot on the academics, especially math and science, and I played the violin (to state medals too!). I was ranked among the top 3 in my class during graduation, got a scholarship to a great university, and the rest of the story is still unfolding.

But the thing is that for many years I never understood my parents' philosophy, especially my mother's. I never understood why she was angry at me for not getting high A's when my friends were praised by their parents for getting mere low A's, why I needed to play the violin well, why I needed to get all of those math and science trophies in order to be "good." I was frustrated by her lack of empathy, her lack of understanding of how hard it was to get those things. Of how it was actually hard to become what she wanted, and that she was being unreasonable about it all. It wasn't fair. I wanted to be able to play video games. I wanted to be able to be in a school play, homecoming dances, dance classes, etc.

But yesterday, I finally got the courage and actually read Amy's book. It took me 1.5 hrs to finish it from front to back (I read pretty quickly).

The result? Mindblowing.

I finally understood why my mother did the things that she did and pushed me the way that she did. I finally understood the mentality that she had when she raised me differently from other kids. Why she pushed me beyond my own limits to become something else. I never thought about what kinds of thoughts she had in her mind.

Even though I don't completely agree with either Amy's or my mother's parenting styles (my mother's, trust me, was MUCH less extreme - I only had to practice ~30 min a day, and definitely did not have to practice during vacations) I still think that I grew stronger as a result of it. Therefore, what can I say? I'm not resentful, at least not anymore. Instead, I'm grateful. Grateful to my mother for raising me in the best way that she knew, for investing all of that time and energy on me when instead she could've been taking yoga classes, gone on vacations, bought extravagant amounts of fancy makeup and clothes, and going yachting on weekends in place of paying for my violin lessons, chauffeuring me to all of those before school, after school, and weekend extracurricular activities, paying for my college applications, etc. I'm really grateful to her for all of her efforts and love. Ultimately, I'm happy as a result of it.

Thank you, mother, for giving me the best gifts you could possibly ever give me - giving birth to me and raising me in the best way you could. Truly, from the bottom of my heart, Thank you.

<3, chynagrl


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