|Has Tiger Mom read this?|
Americans are suffering from a coddle-til-you-choke mentality. That's why I loved this take on Marketplace. I heard Michelle Rhee's description of her soccer-playing kids and their awards, despite their lack of ability and it reminded me of the soccer trophies in my son's room. He is no athlete. He hasn't quite bought into "practice equals results". He still thinks you are either smart or not, athletic or not, musical or not. Even in music where it is plainly clear for my son's audience: the more he tries it, the more he sounds like a musician than a dying elephant, he still hasn't learned that work = success. My daughter has been a long-time believer, but instead of a mantra for everything, sometimes she "works only as needed". If she wants something she knows how to go for it, and does. But in classes that "don't matter to her" (like Health) she doesn't care and that shows too.
|It's not just a book's level that counts|
I agree with her main point. If people in the US saw education as a means for national economic strength, as Ms Rhee points out is the norm in Singapore, perhaps the US would focus much more on education. Instead education is seen as a social issue and thus lost to politically motivated sloppy seconds. Some parents may see it as an economic issue, paying for expensive tutors, Kumon or test preparation, but does the nation as a whole? No. The next time you see an elite musical performance in Bridgewater you can ask any parent, they all pay for private music lessons to reach musical goals. But have parents who put money into private soccer lessons put the same funds into Algebra?
|How much $ did we spend on cleats?|
I guess the question becomes what is the goal? Elite colleges, large homes on wealthy cul-de-sacs in American suburbs? Positions as CEOs, Senators or board-certified surgeons?
Tiger Mom makes me think: what do I want for my children? Probably exactly what I want for myself. Interesting lives filled with great experiences and meaningful friendships. I want them to explore things. I want them to love and be loved. I want them to be happy. I do want them to attain economic independence through meaningful work. I want them to be healthy.
|Reading on vacation for the love of it!|
So, if a well-paid job is the means to support an creative and fun life, then they really do need to hit the books.
But if I really think about it, what kind of adults do I want them to be? I see examples of "success" all around me - in successful careers that fulfill people, beautiful homes filled with families... what do I really want for my children? How do I want them to be?
|Are your kids seeing love? (Mom & Nonny)|
Tiger Mom, love is something children learn in the home. It can't be quantified, but it still counts. Are you withholding love when your child isn't meeting their academic goals? If my children are learning to think of others, by what they read, what they do, who they model, then one of my main parenting goals is met. If they get As in math, go on to a top college and get great job, I'll be very proud. If they stop at an accident to help a stranger, I'll be just as proud.
*******Postscript and CLARIFICATION********
I am commenting on Michelle Rhee's commentary on Marketplace. Of course I should have put together two and two and recognize her name as former DC-school's Chancellor, I have to admit, I only heard her on the Marketplace commentary where she was described as "commentator and educator". My bad for not making the connection. Also, I realize that Amy Chua wrote the Battle Hymn book, but I didn't name her in the blog. Their points were slightly different. I'm sorry if I seem to have mixed them up. Sometimes things are clearer in your own mind. Thank you to my 2 friends who e-mailed me off-line.