|Don’t even think about messing with them:|
Prof. Amy Chua, and her award-winning daughters.
Chinese mothers are tough! As Chua writes,
[E]ven when Western parents think they're being strict, they usually don't come close to being Chinese mothers. For example, my Western friends who consider themselves strict make their children practice their instruments 30 minutes every day. An hour at most. For a Chinese mother, the first hour is the easy part. It's hours two and three that get tough.
The simplistic analysis is that Chinese mothers such as Chua are Evil Incarnate—she writes (rather shockingly) of how at a dinner party, she discussed how strict a parent she was, to the point of not only making the other guests uncomfortable, but actually making one of them cry.
But as she writes,Chua is right: Nothing good is easy—and true creativity only comes from mastery. Anyone who’s ever done a sport knows that you can’t hit a home run first time at bat: It takes tens of thousands of strike-outs, before you finally connect for a homer.
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.
Chinese parents have enough respect for their children to not think that they are made of glass—so they push them, and push them in things that matter: Academics, arts, sciences. Whereas Americans treat their children as if they were soap-bubble fragile, and so therefore never demand of them anything at all—not even a modicum of effort even in the most basic things that any functioning human being ought to know.
After a few generations of this timid, pathetic sort of upbringing, you get what we have in the United States: A people who are lazy, slothful, and mediocre.
So much of American parenting—and American society—is all about not making the sacrifices necessary for true excellence. Not making sacrifice in order to achieve true mastery, and thereby succeed. Not making the sacrifices today for the benefits of tomorrow.
Worse, it’s all about making the kids “feel good about themselves”—hell, it’s about making everybody “feel good about themselves”. If these coddled people constantly fail, their failures are excused and explained away, and never corrected. These coddled people—these Americans—who all “feel so good about themselves”—are never ever called by the name that they have earned: Losers.
And then these losers act so surprised that the Chinese are winning . . .
Prof. Chua’s last name was erroneously spelled “Chau”—it’s been corrected.