It seems there’s a new controversial bestseller on the market wherein a Chinese-American mother tells it like it is: if you want successful kids, you need to make them work. Superduper hard. From the cradle to college. And not work hard in the American sense. Work hard in the practice-your-instrument-three-hours-a-day and get pummelled-if-you-get-an-A-minus sense. I read several articles about this book the other night and drew a few slightly sobering conclusions:
1. The author is right. Good results (top grades, musical expertise, the best colleges) come from freaking hard work. And that work must be imposed by the parents, because children will not choose the hard work themselves.
2. I would be doing my children a great service by pushing them to excel now. When they get older, they will be stronger and better equipped for life–including the freedom to make more choices–because of the work ethic and education I have helped them obtain.
3. A child’s self-esteem comes from accomplishment and self-mastery, not flattery.
4. It would actually be a good thing for my children to have a Tiger Mother.
6. I am not, nor will I ever be, a Tiger Mother.
7. Ain’t happenin.’
Are you a Tiger Mother? Are you even close? Forget the Chinese version, are you an American version of a Tiger Mother (which would be about half as strict as this woman is)? I really want to know. If you are, I admire you. I envy you. Your kids will surely thank you.
It’s just not me. I wish it was.
I do make a mean chocolate-chip cookie, however. Maybe after your kids finish performing at Carnegie Hall, my kids can bring them a plate of cookies. A brush with greatness is all we’re really shooting for over here.