Say what you want about Amy Chua (and people are saying plenty): she knows how to market her book. From a lengthy article in the Wall Street Journal to an interview on NPR, from Slate to my Facebook status, people are talking about “Chinese” and “Western” parenting.
Oh, she assures,
I’m using the term “Chinese mother” loosely. I know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents who qualify too. Conversely, I know some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost always born in the West, who are not Chinese mothers, by choice or otherwise. I’m also using the term “Western parents” loosely. Western parents come in all varieties. (WSJ, “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.” January 8, 2011)
Like the editor at the WSJ would say, “Wow. Look. Here’s an essay about Jamiacan parenting. We’ll call it “Jamaican Parents are Superior.” Puh-lease.
About the time all of the media was making this Yale law professor their darling, Bruce Reyes-Chow, a Presbyterian pastor in San Francisco, was posting this: “Teaching children to embrace the joy of mediocrity.”
It doesn’t look like he intended it as a response to Chua. And since Chua brought up the “Chinese” distinction (not literally, of course, but actually, yes, literally), I should note that Reyes-Chow’s heritage and culture is only part Chinese. He is also Filipino. (In his “snarky” bio, he describes himself as Filipino/Chinese American. And a whole bunch of other things not related to his ethnic heritage.)
Distracted enough from the point yet?
The book is supposed to be about parenting styles and how this one (uncompromising and disciplined) is superior.
So is it superior? As FB friend Carol C. said, “What’s your goal?” An important question to answer if you’re going to read this book or participate in any discussion about your “parenting” relationship with your children.
I’ll withhold judgment until I get a look at the book and can get past the attention grabbing headlines and soundbites. I suspect there’s some truth in it for our family, just as there’s truth and guidance in Reyes-Chow’s post about celebrating mediocrity.
Meanwhile, time to supervise violin practice.
- Carol Howard Merritt: Reassessing Motherhood (huffingtonpost.com)