Monday, February 28, 2011

Getting Tired of Staring at Luca?

Well welcome to my life.

Yesterday I was vacuuming, and Jonah brought Luca and his brother in to play. The neighbor boys both stopped and stared at me.

"Hey boys, don't be alarmed at the noise, this is called a vacuum. I'm cleaning this room."

Yes, I really said that. And Yes, I am that funny all the time. You should try making fun of kids sometime in a way that they won't understand they're being made fun of. Usually they just confuse it with kindness and general concern. It's a great way to let off steam, a little trick my dad taught me. 

Anyway, when I first put up the picture of Luca, I did it with the intention of talking about Amy Chua's article. I know that it's yesterday's news now. But it hasn't been mentioned on the scores of blogs I follow, soooo.

  Amy Chua wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal in the beginning of January titled, "Why Chinese Mothers are Superior," that created quite a firestorm. Very entertaining and definitely worth the read, Chua starts by listing the things her children are not allowed to do.

  • attend a sleepover
  • have a play date
  • be in a school play
  • complain about not being in a school play
  • watch TV or play computer games
  • choose their own extracurricular activities
  • get any grade less than an A
  • not be the No. 1 student in any class except gym and drama
  • play any instrument other than the piano or violin
  She also tells stories from her own parenting experience. She proudly writes about calling her 7 year old "garbage, lazy, self-indulgent and pathetic," for not being able to master a difficult piano piece. She explains all of the things that Chinese parents understand that Western parents can't. Like that nothing is fun until you're good at it, and that if you don't use the f-word in your house, (I'm talking about the word Fat) your kids will end up in therapy or with an eating disorder. She even hints that Chinese parents love their children more than us Westerners because  they spend 10 times as long every day working on academics. 

Great rebuttal here.

I'm curious to know what my friends would have to say about this article. Chua makes some good points. Like, that nothing is fun until you're good at it. Or how about when she talks about the worthlessness of school plays? I dread the day when my kids come home telling me they're villager number 6 in the musical and need to rehearse every day from 3-7 and need rides too. (insert here apology to mom for the fall of '91, spring of '92, and summer of '92)

 However, I think she greatly underestimates the value of self-esteem, as well as the importance of developing a high EQ. And anyone who thinks play dates and sleepovers are a waste of time have no idea what kind of street smarts it takes to navigate the inner-politics of a 13 year old girl slumber party.

1 comment:

alexandra said...

Hmmm. That's a tough one. I think about the fact that I pay good money to have my kids take piano lessons and then I spend the rest of the week begging them to practice for "just 15 minutes!" each night, only to go spend more money on their next lesson and find that they haven't passed anything off at all ...

Oh, got distracted. I do think that Western society coddles kids way too much. I think it's apparent in the way that kids treat their parents - so many with a complete lack of respect or gratefulness for what their parents have provided them.

Of course, if you're Asian and have only one child, you're probably a bit harder on your kids because, genetically speaking, you've put all your chicks (your only chick!) in one basket.