Thursday, January 13, 2011

How Do I Rate as a Chinese Mom?

On January 8, 2011, I was too busy whipping my kids to read this excerpt from Amy Chua's book in the Wall Street Journal, Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.  Oh wait, I was actually at a contra dance without my family, while my daughter skipped her violin practicing and went to a friend's house for a sleepover and my son watched TV all night.  OMG, I am a TOTAL FAILURE as a Chinese mom according Chua.  But the next day, Dova had one of those tearful 2.5 hour violin practicing sessions which ended up in her missing a playdate because her practicing took too long.  Whip whip whip!!

The ensuing blogstorm after this article is like a train wreck that you can't take your eyes off.  I can honestly say that I can empathize with facets of the original article as well as all the rebuttals.  Mostly, I just want to say chill out!  Stop perpetuating the stereotype!  I was raised with Asian parenting methods, and I have been found guilty of using the Suzuki method for parenting.  But as with everything in life, moderation is key.  Yes, I can be a hardass, but I am also a pushover.  I do believe that my kids are inherently strong, not fragile.  Just because Amy Chua is a hardass extraordinaire doesn't mean we all are!  To each their own.  Let it be! 

To lighten up the mood, here's a quiz to see how I rate as a Chinese mom. First, in proud Chinese mom fashion, a video of Dova playing the violin.

  1. Sheet music placed in front of the TV?  PASS
  2. Dova playing reasonably well after 4 months of lessons?  PASS
  3. Fiddle music and not classical?  FAIL
  4. Slides (although intentional)?  FAIL
  5. Pizzicato with the pinkie finger?  PASS
  6. Perfect intonation?  FAIL
  7. Even tempo?  FAIL
  8. Hitting multiple strings?  FAIL
  9. Shave and a haircut?  FAIL
  10. Carnegie Hall at age 7?  FAIL
  11. Video made in Zhu Zhu Pets pajamas?  FAIL
  12. Video taken over and over until perfect?  FAIL (one take for fun)
  13. Cute and charming?  PASS
  14. Squealing in delight afterward?  WIN
Despite the sometimes trying practice sessions, the smile at the end says it all.  She is happy and confident.  What more can a parent ask for?

If you want a more serious look into the rebuttals, here are some that I recommend reading:

1 comment :

linda said...

You made criteria for a modern Asian Mom and graded your performance, how cute. ( I do not care what Amy chou wrote in her book). Things change from generation to generation. 70 years ago, I was a little girl lived in a Chinese village, barely survive because of short of food. My parents were far away fighting for the world war II and they did not care of their children’s well being. Forty four years ago, I became an Asian mom. I did as much as I could do, although not perfect but I think it was OK. Be grateful whatever you have. It take a long journey to be able to watch Dova playing Cripple creek at age of seven. Congratulation!