When it comes to Parenting, One Size Does Not Fit All – Part 5/5

April 11, 2011

There is a difference in values and education between urban and rural parents since many Chinese in rural China never went to school or had a school close to the village while larger towns and cities all had schools.

In the last thirty years that has been changing. After Mao died in 1976 and as late as 1980, twenty percent of Chinese were literate and 80% were not.  In the last thirty years, literacy has been raised to above 90%. If the average Chinese parent was a SAP, that wouldn’t have happened. 

In fact, I’ve heard that Amy Tan’s (the author of The Joy Luck Club) mother’s primary concern was that her daughter speak English without an accent.

Amy Tan writes that her mother wanted her to be a doctor and a concert pianist. Amy Tan’s mother was an immigrant from mainland China and she was not a SAP parent by any definition but she wasn’t as extreme as Amy Chua either.

China’s leaders in Beijing knew that for China to modernize and prosper, the people would have to be literate and educated so starting in the 1980s, the public schools spread into rural China for the first time in history to reach as much of the rural population as possible.

However, urban education is still better than rural education. It takes more than a generation to bring about changes this drastic.

Meanwhile, the opposite is happening in the United States where the average literate person reads at or below fifth-grade level and among younger Americans we find few serious readers.

While China promotes education and is supported by Tiger Parents of all stripes, in America for the last sixty years, the SAPs have waged a war on education to make learning more fun than educational, which has damaged America’s ability to maintain its economic status in the world.

To reverse this trend, what America needs is more Tiger Parents of all stripes and fewer SAPs.

Return to Part 4 or start with Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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