Monday, May 9, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Confused Mom

We "inherited" a motorized jeep. It's been the source of much entertainment for the last few days.

I recently read, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom by Amy Chua. For those unfamiliar, it's the parenting memoir of one self-proclaimed Chinese Tiger Mom. The book chronicles Amy's quest to raise two musical and academic prodigies. Amy's methods seem extreme to those of us "Western" parents. The most memorable moments from the book centered on endless music practices minus the water and bathroom breaks. But, her methods paid off. One daughter played piano at Carnegie Hall at age 14. The other daughter? Also successful, but... the book!

Although I wouldn't classify Amy's book as a literary masterpiece, her writing has haunted me for days. It's also been the source of many a "water cooler" discussion between my mommy friends and me. In those circles, the same question gets debated: "Is Chinese parenting (as Amy describes it) the way to go? Didn't she get results?"

I suppose where I differ from Amy is that I strive to develop the best out of my boys, not for my boys to be the best. My methods? Well, that part remains fluid. That's the part where her book makes me think. I'll admit I'm not a Chinese mother, but can my Western parenting be tweaked just a bit?

Yesterday, Cooper scored his first goal. He beamed, and I sat on the sidelines claiming a proud mama pose. If you remember, Cooper was none so pleased about soccer at his first game. But, after much cajoling, he ran out on the field. Two games later, the fruits of my pushing paid off. Did my inner tiger mother rear her head? Maybe.

I suppose, I walked away from Amy's book committed to deciphering what's important to our family. From there, I'll pray for clarity in methods and wisdom in parenting.

For now, I know my boys won't be practicing piano for six hours straight. But, a little nudge out to the soccer field seems right.

Now, how can I get Cooper to score more goals? Hmmm.....

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