Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

It has been a long time since I have read a book that has sparked such debate as this one. We have talked about it at lunch, I have talked to family and friends about it and I have thought about it a lot. I found it fascinating, but I find most autobiographical accounts written with skill and humor interesting, and something the Today show left out when I saw them talk about this book was that it really is more of a memoir than how-to book. There is definitely a shock value to the way Amy Chua parents. I could definitely never be her kind of Tiger Mother. For one thing I don't have the stamina. Also, I can't stand contention and the atmosphere I imagine reigned in their home would probably kill me right off. Although, don't misunderstand, this mother does yell and make ultimatums and lose it on occasion but those times always make me feel so rotten I could never live with that happening on a daily basis. There is one thing however, that I completely agree with her on though. We "Western" parents are really soft on our kids, so many times we could really expect so much more. I really do believe that kids are little self-fulfilling prophecies. They will so often do and become what we expect them to. If we expect good grades, they will most often do a lot to deliver them. If we expect them to do nothing, they will do that too. I guess for me it comes down to method, I sure don't know that I am doing anything right, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't use most of Chau's methods.

Halfway through this book I went to a Stake Women's Conference where the theme was Becoming Covenant Women. All throughout the keynote speaker, Sister Jensen's, talk I thought about this book. At one point she made the point that she thought that covenant women should be nice. There are many instances Amy Chua relates in which she seems to enjoy how not nice she is. True, the results she gets are fantastic, but I still wonder at what price. Another speaker talked about Julie Beck's talk last year at Women's Conference about being a lioness at the gate. Hmmm, what an idea The Tiger Mother vs. The Lioness Mother. Both are ferocious defenders of their children. Both want important things for their children, both are willing to sacrifice everything they can if it will help their kids achieve important goals. The Tiger Mother wants her child to accomplish everything and learn everything they can. The Lioness Mother does want her child to be very educated but also to be kind, compassionate, strong, and pure. Most important of all to return to their Heavenly Father having learned how to be like Him.
So, I would definitely recommend this book. It was entertaining and thought provoking. I think I will be a better mom, at least for awhile, for having read it. I have thought more about what I want for my kids and how we might get there and how can that be bad? Now I am off to do more flash cards and make sure Brittany practised her violin.


Artfulife said...

I haven't read this book yet but have listened to a couple interviews about it. Maybe I'll check it out from the library soon. I'm with you on the gruffness. I always feel so rotten when push comes to shove with my little ones.

sws said...

I love the Lioness vs. Tiger idea...that was one of my favorite Beck talks. Great review, I agree about gets a little too out of control for me when people are screaming.

Circe said...

I love the lioness vs. tiger idea! Great review!

Jennifer said...

As I've gotten to know you I've been struck by how creative you are, specifically through sewing, and so I really wonder what you thought of Chua's view that crafts are worthless. (Or did I read that somewhere else?) Do tell!

You're right. It seems like Chua enjoyed her "non-niceness" a little too much.