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

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


When it comes to Parenting, One Size Does Not Fit All – Part 3/5

April 9, 2011


When I was a teacher, I often heard parents tell their children/teens, “If you don’t want to do what the teacher asks, you don’t have to.” Then when the child earned a failing grade in the class the accusation directed at me would often be, “You were boring. That’s why he/she didn’t want to do the work in your class.”

If I was so boring, why did any student earn As and Bs in my class and some always did?

Every year, one or more parents concerned more with the child’s self-esteem than his or her education would demand that the student be moved from my class to another teacher that was easier — which meant a teacher that never failed a student.

I knew a teacher at the high school where I taught that automatically gave credit for 50% of the grade to every student as if it were a gift.   All a student had to do in his class was five percent of the work to get a D- since every student started with a 50% handicap.  If another student did 40% of the work, that resulted in an A-.

We talked of this for months, and he never yielded his opinion that it was the only fair way to grade a student.

I also know a property owner with apartments that once had a single-mother tenant that took her two children to Disneyland in Florida for a week but could not pay her rent that month.

I heard this dead-beat parent (that seldom paid her rent on time) say she would rather have her children in a class where their self-esteem wouldn’t suffer than have her children in a demanding teacher’s class. She wanted her children to have fun everywhere they went — at last until those children turned 18.

I had an opportunity to see inside the apartment. The children shared the larger of two bedrooms. There was a TV, a computer with an Internet connection and an expensive video game with toys scattered across the floor.  Both children were in grade school at the time and had mobile phones with unlimited texting.

If you want to see how these SAPs (Parents that belong to the self-esteem arm of Political correctness) fight for their beliefs, click to Amazon and read enough reviews and comments of Amy Chua’s memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother to discover a more complete picture.

To be continued in Part 4, April 10, 2011 at 12:00 PST, or return to Part 2

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


When it comes to Parenting, One Size Does Not Fit All – Part 2/5

April 8, 2011


In Part 1, I mentioned that I’d been a public school teacher. I also mentioned an essay in The Wall Street Journal and a memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, released by its publisher a few days after the essay appeared

To carry this conversation further, I want to say that studies and personal experience in the classroom as a teacher say that 80% of American parents never attend a parent- teacher conference during the 13 years of a child’s public education.

For me, it was less than 20% but more than most of the staff at the high school where I taught since I made more phone calls to parents than any of the 100 teachers where I worked.

This means the “average” American child grows to be a self-centered, selfish, narcissistic adult with few of the values that made America great. Instead of a solid work ethic, the goal is to have as much fun as possible on a daily basis while chasing dreams that often do not come true and go into debt doing it.

The reason for this is that the average American parent has fallen for SAP (The self-esteem arm of Political correctness).

This method of parenting, which started in the 1960s, has been the loudest in US history and often condemns anyone that falls outside its “soft, boost self-esteem and have fun” approach to parenting.

The SAPs are also responsible for the battle against spanking as a last resort to child discipline.

To be continued in Part 3, April 9, 2011 at 12:00 PST, or return to Part 1

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Why Blaming China is Wrong

March 14, 2011

It wasn’t until I finished reading Jonathan Fahey’s piece for the Associated Press of a new drilling method opening vast oil fields in the US that I discovered more evidence of how wrong many Americans are of China.

North Americans that blame China for lost jobs react from “ignorance” and “anger” — not facts.

Most are incapable of understanding the complexity of America’s suffering economy and are unwilling to sacrifice so the US can compete globally in manufacturing.

Unable and/or unwilling to understand, these people need a scapegoat so politicians running for office give them one — China.

The clue came when Fahey wrote, “At today’s oil prices of roughly $90 per barrel, slashing imports that much would save the U.S. $175 billion a year. Last year, when oil averaged $78 per barrel, the U.S. sent $260 billion overseas for crude, accounting for nearly half the country’s $500 billion trade deficit.”

What happens in China is not the reason for lost US jobs.

In fact, most of what China earns in global trade from exports is spent in other nations such as Australia, Pakistan, Brazil, Myanmar and South Africa until Chinese exports and imports are about even.

That $260 billion the US spent for imported oil that added to the deficit revealed the truth. Many in the US are unwilling to sacrifice for the good of the country.

However, as the Amy Chua Tiger Mother debate reveals, the real culprit of the trade deficit in the US is illiteracy caused by the average parent focused on the child’s daily fun instead of his or her education and the work it takes to earn it.

Begin to Read.com says, “Many of the USA ills are directly related to illiteracy.” Then the site provides a few statistics to make its point.


“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” – Ray Bradbury

  • Literacy is learned. Parents who cannot read or write pass along illiteracy. (Did you notice there was no mention of teachers getting the blame? As long as parents blame someone or something else, illiteracy in the US will not improve.)
  • One child in four in the US grows up not knowing how to read.
  • Forty-three percent of adults at Level 1 literacy skills live in poverty compared to only 4% of those at Level 5
  • Three of four food stamp recipients perform in the lowest two literacy levels
  • Ninety percent of welfare recipients are high school dropouts—according to NumberOf.net, there are about 50 million Americans collecting some form of welfare.
  • Over 70% of the more than two million inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level.

According to literacy fast facts from the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), literacy is defined as “using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”

Studies say that about 13% of the adult population was at or above proficient in literacy. Since there are about 230 million adults in America that means only 30 million are proficient.

A CBS report on The Future of Jobs in America said,Education has to be the final part of the strategy for job growth.”

Illiteracy is America’s “real” culprit and it is not the fault of China or America’s teachers. It is the fault of parents and middle-class Americans unwilling to sacrifice by changing spending and lifestyle habits.

Until most Americans face the facts, nothing is going to change. It is only going to get worse until there is no one left to blame but the face in the mirror. By then, it may be too late.

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


It Started on a Sunday Hike (the home taught child) – Part 3/3

March 10, 2011

Those that read my work regularly may know that I was a public school teacher in Southern California for thirty years.

During that time, some of the toughest parents I met were Christian fundamentalist evangelicals and none was SAP parents (Self-esteem arm of Political Correctness).

One Caucasian student was home taught by his parents because they feared exposure to children raised by SAP parents and taught by teachers pressured to dumb down the work while inflating grades by the same SAPs.

However, when he was old enough to go to high school, he managed to convince his parents to allow him to be among teens his own age.  It was obvious from the start that this tall, pale skinned Caucasian teen had been raised by Tough Love parents (probably not as demanding as Amy Chua) to be a disciplined, polite young man that earned excellent grades in high school.

When his parents enrolled him in the high school where I taught, they requested the counselor put him in the toughest teachers’ classes.

As a ninth grade student, he ended in my English class where I recruited him into my journalism class.


Most high school journalism students are disciplined and work hard.

Then, in his senior year, he became editor-in-chief of the high school student newspaper, and I was the faculty advisor. He never missed a deadline. He even managed to intern at a local newspaper his last semester in high school.

Last time we shared e-mails a few years ago, he was the news anchor for a network TV station in Palm Desert, California. He’d even spent a tour in the US Navy.

The fact is that there are great Tough Love parents in America but the average US parent according to many studies is a SAP that allows the child to spend an average of 10 hours a day watching TV, on the Internet probably on Facebook, playing video games or sending out hundreds of text messages while eating unhealthy food.

The SAP crowd is noisy and nosey.  For example, I just searched Amazon for books with topics on Self Esteem and discovered 3,358 books with those words in the title or description.

When I searched Tough Love, the results came back with eighteen titles.

I also discovered that there’s a Website that talks about Self Esteem Magazines for Children. I didn’t find any magazines about Tough Love, but Chinese parents don’t need magazines to know how to be a better parent than a SAP.

Return to It Started on a Sunday Hike -Part 2

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Tiger Mother Invades China

February 3, 2011

Amy Chua, the Chinese-American Tiger Mother has invaded China with her memoir.  Early results look promising in a market of 1.2 billion readers.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the book has been available online since mid-January and ranked No. 80 in sales as of Thursday on Joyo.com, a Chinese version of Amazon (its rank was 43 as I wrote this post).

The paper version of the book will be out after the Chinese New Year holiday.

However, keeping track of sales of the paper version may be difficult since the Chinese have a tradition of borrowing what someone else wrote, printing it without a contract and not paying the author for it while charging a more competitive price than the contracted publisher charges.

To many in the Middle Kingdom, printing a book you don’t have the rights to is not theft.

After all, Confucius considered all information and entertainment in the public domain even if it is against today’s Chinese law.

The Huffington Post was correct when it said the Chinese edition has a new title and a new cover, which I find more colorful than the drab US version.

The China Daily, which is China’s state owned English language newspaper/Website, quoted a Middle Kingdom mother saying, “I can’t imagine a mother in China so frankly revealing the embarrassment and brutal confrontation she went through while trying to tap her kids’ potential to succeed.”

This matches what my wife said about Chua’s memoir being very non-Chinese. It isn’t acceptable in China to talk publicly about White Elephants in the family and this story, to most mainland Chinese, is a White Elephant better kept as a family secret.

China Daily said, “Many Chinese parents see themselves in Chua, not only in terms of the strict parenting, but the desire to help their children excel. But few hope to be the next Tiger Mother.”

The best quote of the China Daily piece was from Zhang Yiwu, A Chinese literature professor and deputy director of the Cultural Research Center of Peking University: “If anything is worth introspection, I think the Tiger Mother has reminded both Chinese and American parents of the necessity to ditch stereotypical thinking and unrealistic fantasies about ideal parenting models.”

I wonder how many SAP parents (Self-esteem arm of Political Correctness in the US) will read those words and take them seriously–to question fantasy parenting models.

Discover Amy Chua Debates Former White House “Court Jester” Larry Summers

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Amy Chua Debates Former White House “Court Jester” Larry Summers

January 31, 2011

A friend of mine forwarded a link to Larry Summers vs. Tiger Mom, which was published in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on January 27, 2011.

Larry Summers, who has billed himself as a “hard ass”, was President Barack Obama’s top economic advisor for the last few years. Summers recently left the White House to return to Harvard as a professor then had a debate with Chinese-American “Tiger Mom,” Amy Chua, who wrote an essay that appeared in the WSJ with a headline (she didn’t write), which said, Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.

Summers said why go through all the trouble to earn a university education when computers are eventually going to do the work that requires discipline.

He also said, “People on average live a quarter of their lives as children. That’s a lot. It’s important that they be as happy as possible during those 18 years. That counts too.”

Summers isn’t alone in his belief that children should focus on being happy instead of academic excellence.

The average American parent belonging to the Self-esteem arm of Political Correctness (SAPs) spends less than five minutes a day encouraging  his or her child to be happy which explains why the average American child enjoys ten hours a day watching TV, socializing on Facebook, playing video games, and/or sending hundreds of text messages.

Summers cites in his debate with Chua that Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard. Look at what those “two” achieved without a university education.


“Asian countries value education more than other countries.”

While Gates was building Microsoft and Zuckerberg Facebook, do you believe these two billionaires spent ten hours a day doing what the average American child raised by SAPs such as Summers does to enjoy the first quarter of his or her life?

Summers doesn’t mention that Warren Buffet, one of the richest men on the planet, attended the Wharton Business school at the University of Pennsylvania for two years then transferred to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Working part time, he managed to graduate in only three years.

Summers doesn’t mention that it is common that the top one percent of executives with annual incomes of $500,000 or more often have Ivy league educations from universities such as Stanford, Harvard, Yale or Princeton.

Summers doesn’t mention that the top 15% of the upper middle class are highly educated and often have graduate degrees while earning a high 5-figure annual income commonly above $100,000.

To be specific, the median personal income for a high school drop out in the US with less than a 9th grade education is $17,422, and with some college that medium income jumps to $31,054, while a person with a professional university degree earns an annual medium income of $82,473.  Source: Wiki Academic Models (this source was citing US Census data).

It’s okay if Summers and his fellow SAPs let their children and teens have fun the first eighteen years of life, but don’t forget, the average life span in the US is 78.3 years. 

What are those children going to do for enjoyment while working to earn a living the next 60.3 years as an adult?

Most children raised by Tiger Moms such as Amy Chua shouldn’t have to worry. Those children as adults will probably be in the top 15% of income earners and enjoy life much more than those earning less than $18 thousand annually.

Discover In Defense of Tiger Mothers Everywhere

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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.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.