Are Western Mothers Inferior?
There is no doubt we live in a global society competing with world powers such as India and China. At question is whether our Western way of educating is creating an ineffective and inferior generation of children who will be unable to compete. If our current education system prevails will our society fall further into the recesses of our academic bowels? Recent documentaries underscore our ineffective education system and the academic pressure we place on our children in "Race to Nowhere" and "Waiting for Superman."
Yet study after study (reference the Education Trust) confirms that American students are not prepared to compete internationally in this digital world we live in. So this begs the question, are Chinese mothers superior in terms of how they parent and how they educate their children? After all, how many of us know of a stereotypical Chinese student (and like Amy I use the term "Chinese" loosely to fit other ethnicities) who is top in their class and class valedictorian?
At first blush, many Westerners will be aghast at Amy Chua's essay which is an excerpt from her book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" (to be released Tuesday by Penguin Press). In her essay she describes an instance where she is working with her 7-year-old daughter, Lulu, to master a piano piece called "The Little White Donkey" by Jacques Ibert.
Many children, let alone adults, cannot master this difficult piece because the two hands play at rhythmically different paces. In Amy's recollection she describes how she drilled her daughter nonstop for a week (for hours at a time) to her daughter’s complete and utter exasperation. At one point Lulu punched, kicked, and tore up the musical score to shreds. Amy taped up the pieces and encased it in a plastic sleeve so it could not be destroyed again. Without missing a beat, Amy ordered her daughter back to the piano. She threatened not to feed her, to get rid of her favorite doll house, with no Christmas gifts, and no birthday parties. If any Western mother were to have observed this, she would have called her lawyer to sue for child abuse. Amy verbally insulted her daughter, calling her lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic.Continued on the next page