Lot’s of parenting articles on this week’s list; must have something to do with our current life stage. Happy reading.
- Amy Chua’s article in The Wall Street Journal, “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior,” got a lot of attention this week. What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up.
- Jeff Yang, in the San Francisco Chronicle, offered his own perspective on Chua’s article and solicited some clarification from the author. And if you consider the counterexamples of the most famous non-Chinese moms in America, you might even end up predisposed to some of Chua’s ideas after all. Let’s put it this way: If Tiger Moms produce smart, well-spoken piano prodigies and Mama Grizzlies produce tabloid stars and reality show contestants — put me down for Tiger every time.
Kathy Khang, whose blog I find especially interesting, chimed in with her analysis of Chua’s parenting style.
David Brooks thinks calls for civility, including President Obama’s powerful speech on Wednesday, will never be enough to cause people to engage in respectful dialogue. But over the past few decades, people have lost a sense of their own sinfulness. Children are raised amid a chorus of applause. Politics has become less about institutional restraint and more about giving voters whatever they want at that second. Joe DiMaggio didn’t ostentatiously admire his own home runs, but now athletes routinely celebrate themselves as part of the self-branding process.
Michael Washington thinks the Congress ought to have read the Constitution in its original form. But when Congress stands up to read the historical document, it should read the document. The one that says that people like me weren’t really people. The one that says that I was sub-human. The one that says that I didn’t count except as a piece of property for somebody else, somebody more powerful. Maybe after that original reading they could have gone onto the better language.