Amy Chua, aka Tiger Mom is like a pistol. The whip smart Yale law professor and notorious author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother enters the room packed with confidence that says Ka Pow! Dressed in an elegant black suit, showing off her tiny frame and killer calves, Chua made a stop at the Authors LIVE! event at Highland Park United Methodist Church.
I was one of the lucky seven who attended a private reception held prior to the talk. In real life Chua is warm and affable and she’s funny, really funny. Her sharp wit and seeming fearlessness makes Chua every smart girl’s BFF. She answered questions candidly, as one would expect from the woman who portrayed herself to millions in unflattering light with her raw emotions and extreme parenting methods in Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. As she sat opposite me, she chatted to me about how life has changed. Click on the new IttyBittyFoodies You Tube Channel to see her response.
And how the girls are coping with all the new found fame here and a story of how strong Sophia is.
Her book was painful for me to read. In my previous blog post, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother – IttyBittyFoodies Style, I was both horrified at her story and polarized because I also sympathised so much with her. Chua and I have quite a few similarities. We are children of Asian migrants who grew up in western countries, in my case, Australia. We even exchanged few words in Fukienese, a dialect both our fathers speak. Like her, I battled with keeping my Asian heritage while trying to fit in with my western peers. I have also married outside of my race and are now raising two biracial children.
Her talk was hilarious, invigorating and a well rounded balance of East and West. I left admiring Chua for her authenticity and gumption for never giving up on her girls, Sophia and Lulu. Chua sums it up best from an excerpt from her commentary Tiger Mom: Here’s How to Reshape U.S. Education, written for Yale Law School.
If in their early years we teach our children a strong work ethic, perseverance and the value of delayed gratification, they will be much better positioned to be self-motivated and self-reliant when they become young adults. This is a way to combine East and West: more structure when our children are little (and will still listen to us), followed by increasing self-direction in their teenage years.
America’s comparative advantage has always been its openness and inclusiveness. In parenting as in all other spheres, we should let go of convenient but false dichotomies — creativity or discipline, freedom or hard work — and aim to incorporate the best of all worlds.
Getting the recipe right for parenting is an almost impossible job. There are many methods out there and you never know what kind of ingredients you’re dealt with. One thing is for sure, I’m adding a cup of tiger magic to my own recipe.
Till our next Happy Meal!