It started on a Sunday Hike – Part 1/3

March 8, 2011

I often hike in a local regional park.  One Sunday while passing others on the narrow trail, I overheard several Average Caucasian American (ACA) female conversations: “I bought frozen bones for my dogs at Petco. They love them. They chew on them straight from the freezer,” or “He was so cute in his Darth Vader costume.”

This regional park is huge. It runs for miles in all directions. There are mountain lions, coyotes, rattlesnakes, deer, etc.

Although I haven’t seen a cougar yet, I’ve read of them in a local newspaper but I have seen coyotes and too many deer.

The park rules are clearly displayed at entrances. “Dogs must be on a leash under your control at all times. Dogs are not allowed on trails (yet I see them on trails all the time).”

I’ve hiked in this park for years and seldom see any dogs on leashes. However, I have seen a lot of dogs and their owners.

A few dogs are well behaved and stay close to the owner under tight control even if it is unleashed.

Many of the dogs ran around having a great time and would make good anarchists if they were humans. Their owners call to them, beg, plead and those dogs ignore the owner as if he or she was a nuisance.

I wonder if those same ACAs raised their children that way. Plenty of studies for the last few decades indicate that is probably true.

In contrast, when I’m around most Chinese-Americans, they don’t talk about cute costumes or frozen dog bones or beg dogs to behave while being ignored.

In fact, most conversations among Chinese-American parents focus on children and education. These parents network learning from each other where the best schools are and what it takes to get into a top rated university. 

Most Asian parents are a big part of their children’s lives and daily conversations are much longer than the five minutes or less a SAP (Self-esteem arm of political correctness) parent spends talking to his or her children.

To be continued in Part 2

Discover The Amy Chua Debate with 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.


Learning what Win-Win Really Means from China

February 12, 2011


Living With Evolution or Dying Without It by K. D. Koratsky
Publisher: Sunscape Books
ISBN: 978-0-9826546-0-6
Reviewed by Lloyd Lofthouse

Koratsky’s book is a heavily researched, scholarly work that gathers what science has discovered since Darwin’s discoveries and fills in the gaps explaining why evolution has something to teach us if humanity is to survive.

The other choice is humanity going the way of the dinosaurs into extinction.

I started reading in early 2010 and took months to finish the 580 pages. The Flesch-Kincaid Readability level would probably show this book to be at a university graduate level leaving at last 90% of the population lost as to the importance of its message.

For months, it bothered me that so many in the United States do not have the literacy skills to understand an important work such as this (the average reader in the US reads at fifth grade level and millions are illiterate). This is certainly not a good foundation to learn how precarious life is if you do not understand how brutal the earth’s environment and evolution has been for billions of years.

As I finished reading Living With Evolution or Dying Without It, I realized that it would only take a few key people in positions of power to understand the warnings offered by Koratsky and bring about the needed changes in one or more countries so humanity would survive somewhere on the planet when the next great challenge to life arises.

On page one, Koratsky starts 13.7 billion years ago with the big bang then in a few pages ten billion years later, he introduces the reader to how certain bacteria discovered a new way to access the energy required to sustain an existence.

By the time we reach humanity’s first religion on page 157, we have discovered what caused so many species to die out and gained a better understanding of what survival of the fittest means.

To survive means adapting to environmental challenges no matter if they are delivered by the impact of a monster asteroid to the earth’s surface, global warming (no matter what the reason) or by competition with other cultures or animals competing for the earth’s resources.

In fact, competition is vital to the survival of a species for it is only through competition that a species will adapt to survive.

The book is divided into two parts.  The first 349 pages deals with where we have been and what we have learned, and the two hundred and eleven pages in Part Two deals with current ideas and policies from an evolutionary perspective.

I suspect that most devout Christians and Muslims would dismiss the warnings in this book out-of-hand since these people have invested their beliefs and the survival of humanity in books written millennia ago when humanity knew little to nothing about the laws of evolution and how important competition is to survival.

Koratsky is optimistic that the United States will eventually turn away from the political agenda of “Cultural Relativism” that has guided America since the 1960s toward total failure as a culture.

The popular term for “Cultural Relativism” in the US would be “Political Correctness”, which has spawned movements such as race-based quotas and entitlement programs that reward failure and punish success

Even America’s self-esteem movement is an example of “Cultural Relativism”, which encourages children to have fun and praises poor performance until it is impossible to recognize real success.

The current debate started by Amy Chua’s essay in The Wall Street Journal is another example of “Cultural Relativism” at work.

After reading Living with Evolution or Dying Without It, it is clear that Amy Chua’s Tiger Mother Methods of parenting are correct while the soft approach practiced by the average US parent is wrong and will lead to more failure than success.

Koratsky shows us that the key to survival for America is to severely curtail and eventually end most US entitlement programs. While “Cultural Relativism” is ending, competition that rewards merit at all levels of the culture (private and government) must be reinstituted.

He points out near the end of the book that this has been happening in China and is the reason for that country’s amazing growth and success the last thirty years.

In the 1980s, merit was reinstituted at the bottom and most who prosper in China today earned the right to be rewarded for success by being more competitive and adapting. Even China’s state owned industries were required to become profitable or perish.

The earth’s environment does not care about equality or the relativists’ belief that everyone has a right to happiness even if society must rob from the rich and give to the poor.

This book covers the evolution of the universe, the planet, all life on the planet including the reasons why most life that lived on the earth for hundreds of millions of years before humanity is now gone; the beginnings of the human species; religion in all of its costumes; the growth of civilizations and the competitions that led to the destruction and collapse of so many such as the Roman Empire and the Han Dynasty two millennia ago.

The environment and evolution says that all life on the planet is not equal and no one is born with a guaranteed right to success, happiness and fun. To survive means earning the right through competition and adaption.

If you don’t believe Koratsky’s warning, go talk to the dinosaurs and ask them why they are gone.

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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.


Explaining China and Defining the Value of Tough Love

January 26, 2011

China is the polar opposite of America in many ways.  In China, as a collective culture, the child is an extension of the parent and is not seen as an individual.

China has been this way for thousands of years where the family is more important than the individual is and the country is more important than the family and the individual.

The rules of Confucianism emphasized this cultural structure and these behaviors were practiced, endorsed and enforced by the Han Dynasty centuries before the birth of Christ.

In contrast, the American brand of individualism, which is represented by the rudeness and rebellion we see in America today has only been in practice for about fifty years.

Contrary to popular opinion, Americans have not always been rebels. That image was born and reinforced by 20th century Hollywood films that often depict rebellious children and criminals as clever, popular heroes while turning hard working authority figures such as the police, teachers and parents into idiots and oppressors.

In fact, if you read the history of child labor in the United States, you would discover that forms of child labor, including indentured servitude and child slavery, have existed throughout American history.

It wasn’t until the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, which set federal standards for child labor that the US moved toward providing a free, compulsory education for all children instead of children working in factories or coalmines or on farms as young as five.

Before 1938, instead of going to school, most American children went to work at a very early age and often labored twelve or more hours a day six days a week with only the Sabbath off.

The cultural concept that earning an education is worth the sacrifice of hard work that it demands has never existed in America.

However, China has a long history of providing an education to children of all classes as far back as the Han Dynasty since that is what Confucius taught.

In China for more than two thousand years, teachers and parents have been the heroes and are respected for the sacrifices they make to better a child’s future, which does not translate into encouraging a child to chase his or her dreams since, in reality, fantasies seldom come true and only a “few” achieve such dreams

After all, not “everyone” can become the next Bill Gates, Oprah or Selene Dion.

The collective concept of Confucianism has no room for an individual’s rights or dreams. What an American sees in China as oppression, most Chinese don’t even think about because that way of thought doesn’t exist in China’s Confucian dominated collective culture.

Hence, a Tiger Mother, such as Amy Chua, is respected for doing her duty as a Chinese parent. Being a SAP (the Self-esteem arm of Political Correctness) parent would be unthinkable.

I suspect that even if Amy Chua doesn’t sell the Chinese rights to her book, a publisher in China will steal the book, translate it and it will be a massive bestseller as Chinese parents buy and read her book to discover tougher methods of parenting.

That means Chinese mothers will be reading Chua’s book to learn what it takes to raise a child that performs in Carnegie Hall, while those mothers criticize Chua in public instead of praising her while secretly trying out what she learned from Chua.

That sort of behavior to say one thing while doing another is also common in China since Taoism is the other side of the Chinese character.

Bragging is also not acceptable until you have earned the right to brag by achieving the goals you set for yourself that no one else has ever heard of since bragging that you will be the next Bill Gates when you are a child is considered stupid and maybe a sign of a mental illness.

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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.


Review for “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”

January 25, 2011

Any fool can be a parent, and the average American parent is a fool.

Amy Chua is not a fool.

I taught English, journalism and reading in the American public schools from 1975 to 2005. I experienced the decline of the American family while working 60 to 100 hours a week teaching, writing lesson plans and correcting the work my students turned in.

When I was born, children were still taught to be seen and not heard. Most of my generation was polite and respectful of our elders — not so today.

My mother taught me how to read and I was required to learn and play a musical instrument. For me that was the accordion. However, my parents weren’t as tough as Chua was, and I don’t remember how to play the accordion, which is something I regret.

In America, any semblance of a parent’s freedom of choice of how to raise a child all but vanished starting in the 1960s when the Self-esteem Arm of Political Correctness (SAP) became the only acceptable way to act, think, and speak as a parent.

Parents that deviated from the self-esteem model were driven underground and Chua was perceptive enough to see that.

Sophia, Amy Chua’s oldest daughter, shows what SAP has done to America’s children on page 191 (hardcover).  Sophia says, “Do you know what a good daughter I am? Everyone else I know parties all the time, and they drink and do drugs. And do you know what I do? Every day I run straight home from school.  I run.…”

What Sophia said is true. My wife and I heard much the same story from our daughter, and I saw this self-destructive behavior become the norm during the thirty years I was a teacher in the US public schools.

I suggest strongly that if you plan to be a parent soon or in the future, read Amy Chua’s memoir so you know what your parenting choices are.

For anyone who has a child already in school, it may be too late to reverse the damage that has been done by being a SAP

Changing a child’s unacceptable behavior can happen but the longer a child goes without being corrected, the more of a challenge it becomes.

In her memoir, Chua mentions that her husband and most Westerners believe we owe children since they did not ask to be born.

Where did this ridiculous concept come from?

The answer is SAP!

In fact, no one alive today or at any time in history asked to be born.  Adam in the Garden of Eden did not ask God to create him, and God used the “carrot and stick” method to control Adam’s behavior. When Adam broke God’s one rule, He threw Adam out of the Garden and took away his immortality.

If you decide to read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, pay close attention and you will discover that Chua’s daughters did not suffer as much as some critics claim. When a Time magazine reporter recently interviewed Chua in her home, her oldest daughter was upstairs with her boyfriend and could be heard laughing.

Children don’t have to go shopping for the latest fashions or spend a day at Disneyland to have fun. If a child is raised properly, he or she will find enjoyment in things such as reading or learning how to play the violin or piano.

Sarah and Lulu, Amy Chua’s daughters, have lived an incredible life that most children never imagine and their mother gave them the best gift of all — values and discipline.

A real parent, like God with Adam, sets rules, goals and expectations for his or her children. This is what Amy Chua writes about throughout her memoir as she explores the difference between two methods of raising children.

Life cannot be all carrots and fun as the average American SAP parent believes.

In this brutally honest memoir, Amy Chua shows us the extremes of Tough Love.

Love, by definition is not abuse and Chua does not abuse her children when she set high goals/standards for them and demanded that her daughters achieve these goals. After reading the essay, Chinese Mothers are Superior, in the Wall Street Journal or reading her memoir, if you feel she abused her children, you are wrong and have no idea what abuse is.

By expecting excellence from her daughters, Chua demands more of herself and sacrifices much to see that her children achieve the goals that are the parent’s right to decide — at last until that child is a teenager.

The Tiger Mother Tough Love approach to raising a child that Chua writes of in her memoir is not the only Tough Love parenting model.

A Tough Love parent may also set the bar as low as earning D’s or better while only praising the best the child does such as earning an A on a major assignment or test or winning a gold or silver medal in a challenging competition where few win among many who compete.

In the Tough Love approach to parenting there must be a stick and a carrot (punishments and rewards) and there must be criticism and praise. How much of a choice a child has, at least until they are a teen, is decided by the parents — not the child.

The American SAP method of raising children is not parenting — it’s child abuse.

Studies show the average American child spends about 10 hours a day in one or more of these empty activities — watching TV, playing video games, socializing on Internet sites such as Facebook or sending hundreds of text messages on a mobile phone.

Studies also show that watching TV stunts the growth of a child’s imagination.

SAP parents seldom if ever use a stick just as the word “NO” is seldom heard or enforced if used.

Amy Chua started out tough and mean and that was the right decision. She was also right when she said, “All those Western parents with the same party line about what’s good for children and what’s not — I’m not sure they’re making choices at all. They just do what everyone else does.…”

She was right.

In thirty years of teaching, I worked with more than 6,000 children and teens and met with and talked to hundreds of parents. It is sad how the SAP parents all sounded and acted the same. They were broken records.

It is easier for a tough parent to go soft than a soft parent to become tough. I learned that from my master teacher the year I was earning my teaching credential.

Children are born wild and it is up to parents and teachers to tame them and show them the proper way to behave and live his or her life. SAP parents often fail at this job.

A parent or child in a SAP family never takes the blame when the child fails a test or a class or behaves unacceptable in public. Instead, the blame goes to the schools and teachers even if the child or teen never reads, doesn’t do homework or never studies for tests.

To a SAP parent, it is always the teacher’s fault.

To a SAP parent, depriving a child of his daily dose of fun is evil.

As a teacher, I was often the victim of SAP parents and children.

When my son was born, I practiced Tough Love and his mother was a SAP.  When I punished him for not following the rules, his mother accused me of child abuse.

We divorced when he was three.

After that, his mother raised him as a SAP 90% of the time. He spent the other 10% with me. When he was with me, I made him do yard work and other weekend chores while I was also doing them. I also made him read and do his homework.

During the week when my son was with his SAP mother, she called and asked me to tell him to do his homework.

My son’s SAP mother helped him become the successful waiter and bartender he is today at thirty-four. His dream, which his SAP mother encouraged, was to become a famous actor but that did not happen.

After my son’s first year out of high school, he told me he went to Disneyland thirty times. He did not earn a college education or degree. His SAP mother must be very proud of him.

I remarried and my wife is a Tough Love parent. She is also Chinese but not as tough as Amy Chua is.

In fact, every Asian and Chinese mother I’ve met was a Tough Love parent as Amy Chua points out in her memoir. I’ve read some of Chua’s critics accusing her of stereotyping Chinese mothers.

Those critics were wrong.

Most Chinese mothers practice a form of Tough Love and I often laughed while reading Chua’s book since the images were so vivid and real. Since most of my wife’s friends are Chinese mothers, I’ve seen how they are similar to Chua as parents. The mother depicted in Amy Tan’s book, The Joy Luck Club, was modeled after Tan’s Chinese mother.

When my wife and I raised our daughter, who is 19 now, we were always on the same page as far as discipline.  Unlike Chua’s husband, I never disagreed with my wife’s Tiger Mother methods.

There was no problem restricting TV to a few hours on the weekend with content controlled by us.

Our daughter grew up reading books and there were no video games in our house. When I bought our daughter a mobile phone after she was in high school, I told her she would lose the phone if she used it for texting or used all the minutes that came with the plan I paid for. In four years, there was one 25-cent text message on the phone bill for her phone.

It wasn’t our daughter who used up the minutes talking on the phone. It was my wife.

I convinced my Chinese Tiger Mother wife that our daughter should be a scholar athlete, as it would help her get into a top US college.  Our daughter was urged to select a sport, and she excelled in Pole Vault where she was listed as one of the top five girl pole-vaulters for her age in California.  She seldom missed a practice and continued to earn A’s in her academic classes.

Both her mother and I tried to get her to go easier on herself, but she refused.

We allowed our daughter to attend a few school dances with a strict curfew. The one time she tried to get me to let her stay out later, I said no and did not back down.

She also was allowed a few sleepovers. However, at home bedtime was 9:30 with a stern rebuke by her mother if she wasn’t in bed on time.

Research shows that during the growing years, the brain does all of its development while sleeping, which required at least nine or more hours a night, and if sleep is missed, brain growth suffers.

Our daughter always had a nutritious breakfast before going to school. Each year, I asked my SAP students if they ate breakfast. Few did.

In addition, her mother and I used standardized test results to discover our daughter’s weak academic areas and strengthen them. She told her friends she had more fun at school than at home where the work her mother and I provided was often more challenging.

Of course, our daughter’s SAP raised friends felt sorry for her and this led to the same sort of rebellious behavior that Amy Chua’s youngest daughter Lulu demonstrates throughout most of the memoir.

Since our daughter had free time on her hands without video games and TV to soak it up, she taught herself how to play the piano without pressure. However, she will never play with the skill that Sophia and Lulu have for the piano and violin.

Graduating with a 4.65 GPA, our daughter was accepted to Stanford. I don’t think she will end up as a waiter or bartender as a lifelong career.

I wonder if my SAP raised son is happy knowing he may spend most of his life waiting on tables or mixing drinks for the low pay that comes with a job such as that. Then again, maybe he will win the lottery and have more time to visit Disneyland and have fun partying.

I urge everyone that reads this review to buy and read Amy Chua’s memoir. That doesn’t mean you have to be the parent she is but hopefully it will help you avoid being a SAP.

Learn more from In Defense of Tiger Mothers

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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’s Suicide Critics

January 23, 2011

Some critics of Amy Chua blame the so-called high rate of suicides in China as an argument that Chinese/Asian Tough Love is wrong.

I suspect these ignorant critics don’t know much about Chinese culture or the most common reasons for suicides in China or countries such as Japan.

Most of the suicides in China are not caused by loving Tiger Mothers that spend hours a day emphasizing education above all else instead of allowing children to watch hours of TV and/or playing video games while ignoring books and homework as in the US. 

Those suicides are results of cultural pressures that go far beyond Tough Love. Loss of face and/or becoming a failure is often the reason one commits suicide.

The World Health Organization (WHO) shows that the suicide rate in China in 1999 was 28 of every 100,000 people.

In the US, that number was 21.7 per 100,000.  The WHO shows that the Ukraine has a much higher rate than either China or the US at 62.1 per 100,000 with the Russian Federation reporting more than 80 per 100,000.

I suspect poverty and oppression are a stronger reason than loving but strict Tiger Mothers.

Thailand, with its share of Asian Tiger Mothers, was eight per 100,000. Singapore was 18.9 while Japan was 50.6

China was almost tied with Sweden’s suicide rate, which was 27.7 per 100,000.

However, China and Japan almost tied for female suicides at 14.8 for China and 14.1 for Japan.

What could be the cause?  Possibly children like Amy Chua’s youngest daughter Lulu rebelling until the mother is so depressed she takes her life because she considers herself a failure.

Maybe writing Battle Cry of the Tiger Mother was Chua’s way to deal with the sense of failure she must have felt when Lulu broke that drinking glass in Moscow and shouted at her mother she hated her for being so strict. If so, writing a memoir is better than suicide and writing is a great way to deal with depression.

The WHO shows Australia has a higher suicide rate than China at 37.1 per 100,000. Why didn’t Amy Chua’s critics point this out? I suspect the reason is that they are too lazy to do the research. After all, learning something new might take time away from watching TV or social networking on Facebook.

 

Moreover, the number of women committing suicide in Lithuania in 2000 was 16.1 per 100,000. Sri Lanka suicide rate was 16.8 women and 44.6 for men.

I know of one Chinese suicide first hand and an attempted suicide by a Japanese woman. Both took place in California, and the reasons had nothing to do with Tiger Mothers.

The high school where I taught had a high percentage of Philippine students. I taught many and Philippine mothers often practice Tough Love as Amy Chua does.  I had one Philippine girl break into tears when she earned an A- on a test. She made it up by doing all the extra credit, which Amy Chua says isn’t an option in China.

The WHO says the suicide rate in the Philippines in 1993 was 4.2 per 100,000 people. Do you see the decimal between the four and the two?  That number is more than five times lower than the suicide rate in the US.

I’m shocked!

What could America’s Politically Correct Self-esteem driven mothers be doing wrong? After all, who else could we blame for the gap between US suicides and those in the Philippines except America’s mushy soft-love mothers.

When our straight “A” student, Chinese-American daughter was nine, we were hiking along trails in the hills near our Southern California home. She rushed ahead of us on the winding path until we lost sight of her.

Then she came running back saying there was a man hanging from a tree and he looked dead. 

My friend Neil and I hurried to the hanging tree. While Neil climbed into the tree to see if the man was alive, I called 911.

When the police arrived, they searched the dead man’s wallet and called his mother’s house. It turns out that he was an architect from Taiwan. My wife speaks Mandarin and the police asked her to talk to the wife and the mother, who spoke no English. We discovered that his Taiwanese company had gone bankrupt and he had taken his life due to loss of face because he saw himself as a failure. He was at least 40 if not older.

The second incident I read of was mentioned in the media a few years back.

A Japanese woman had taken her young children to the end of Santa Monica pier and leaped into the ocean taking her children with her. Surfers managed to save her but her young children died.

The reason for attempting suicide was that her husband, a Japanese executive working in the US, had an affair. When the Japanese wife discovered her husband was cheating, she saw herself as a failure, and the only way to erase the shame was to kill herself and her children. 

Since she was a Japanese citizen, Japan requested that she be returned to Japan. The reason given was due to cultural differences.

Learn from 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.


Tiger Parents Saving America One Child at a Time

January 21, 2011

At times, Amy Chua, the author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, looked as if she were expecting an eighteen-wheeler to appear and flatten her.

The Chinese-American Tiger Mother sat there on the Hillside Club’s stage in Berkeley, California reminding me of a graceful deer crossing a dark mountain road flanked by armies of tall sentinel trees and halfway across being startled by bright headlights rushing toward her.

How could anyone blame Chua?

I have read that she has received death threats for saying “no” to activities such as sleepovers, play dates, acting in school plays, and not allowing her daughters to watch hours of TV or play computer games until midnight or later.

Instead, she did the unthinkable and demanded excellence. Time magazine says, “Most surprising of all to Chua’s detractors may be the fact that many elements of her approach are supported by research in psychology and cognitive science.”

How horrible that a child would have all those “fun” activities restricted and be required to practice “boring” cultural activities such as learning to play the piano or violin and horror of horrors do homework, study and read to insure earning the best possible grades.

My wife and I were disappointed when Amy distanced herself as the possible poster Tiger Mother for Tough Love parents by reading the final pages of her memoir so the audience would discover how she has softened her parenting style except when it comes to grades.

She told us of the turning point when her youngest daughter Lulu shouted at her in Moscow saying how she hated her.

It was obvious that the real reason Amy Chua wrote The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother was because she felt she had lost to the Self-esteem Nazis — those so-called parents and their children that probably felt sorry for Lulu because she couldn’t watch all the TV she wanted and party on weekends.

Chua wrote the book in two months soon after returning to the United States from the trip to Russia. It was a catharsis, a healing, and not a battle cry. I expect she felt much anger while pounding out the words on her computer keyboard in a relentless marathon.

That memoir was her way to heal from the trauma of defeat she faced in Moscow.

I know. My wife and I raised a Chinese-American daughter who also came home from school occasionally with the same resentment and said the same mean things Lulu said to her mother.

We discovered the fuel of that resentment was the misplaced sympathy from other children and parents.

While our daughter had to go to bed by 9:30 at night, she knew that most of her friends were up as late as two or three in the morning. In fact, the TV in our house was off most of the week and the content that was watched for an hour or two on weekends was controlled. There were no video games, no Internet connection and TV in her bedroom.

Gasp!

As a child, our daughter had to read books to fill the empty hours.

Amy Chua, to make sure the audience discovered how much she has improved as a mother, let us know that her rebellious daughter Lulu even had a recent sleepover.

However, Tiger Parents practicing Tough Love have her memoir and the facts I mentioned In Defense of Tiger Mothers Everywhere as a reminder that we are not alone. Other Tiger Parents are out there.

I was a Tiger Teacher for thirty years in the public schools. When students failed my class, I was blamed by parents and administrators for “giving” too many FAILING grades.

Often, I was accused by parents (without evidence except the complaints of FAILING teens) of being a boring teacher, being mean, prejudiced, losing homework and damaging the self-esteem of children.

Some parents even pulled children from my class and moved them to teachers that never “gave” failing grades.

In fact, I never “gave” a student a grade.  My students were required to “earn” grades and there is a HUGE difference between the word “give” and “earn”.

By the time I left teaching in 2005, about 5% of my students were doing the homework and required reading necessary for academic improvement, and when standardized test scores in the U.S. fail to measure up, who gets the blame?  the teachers — not the students or the parents

We almost didn’t get in to hear Chua. Although we bought tickets on-line, the Hillside Club oversold and there wasn’t room for everyone.  We had to wait in the foyer to see if there were seats available but my wife and I were fortunate to get in soon after the event started.

I discovered that in the audience was the vanguard of an army of parents and teachers that may have been the victims of what has become known as the soft, positive, self-esteem approach to Western parenting.  There were hundreds of us in that audience.

As Amy sat in that tall chair on stage above the audience with her feet dangling a foot from the floor, the audience laughed, applauded and gazed on her as if she were a hero.

I didn’t expect that.

Instead, I expected the Self-esteem Nazis to turn out in mass to make sure Chua would not be heard, which is the reason this former US Marine and Vietnam veteran went — to make sure someone would be on her side to fight in her defense if needed.

Thank you Confucius for a culture that values education so much that the Tiger Mother, Tough Love method of raising children hasn’t died in China as it almost has in the United States. The bully tactics of Self-esteemism and Political Correctness almost succeeded in destroying America–then Amy Chua’s essay appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

When Amy’s parents came to America as immigrants and sacrificed so much to raise their daughter the same way she was struggling to raise her children, Confucius may have saved this country, because it might be possible that being a Tiger Parent will become acceptable again.

In Time magazine, Chua said, “‘I know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents who qualify too.’ The tiger-mother approach isn’t an ethnicity but a philosophy: expect the best from your children, and don’t settle for anything less.”

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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.


The Real Wimps are revealed in the Amy Chua, Tiger Mother Debate

January 19, 2011

David Brooks, an Op-Ed Columnist for the New York Times, wrote an interesting opinion piece titled Amy Chua is a Wimp.

Brooks was wrong of course, and one of the comments to his opinion left by Leon Breaux shows why

Brooks was wrong just as most American parents are also wrong in the way they raise children to have an inflated and false sense of self-esteem.

Amy Chua as a Tiger Mother may be an example of the other extreme but her children will be much better prepared to survive in the world than children that grew up learning social survival skills in lieu of a real education.

I taught in the US public schools for thirty years, so I agree with Leon Breaux and have copied his comment below with the above link to the New York Times so readers may read what Brooks has to say as flawed as his self-centered, biased opinion is. 

I suspect Brooks is just defending his own parenting methods. It’s difficult for most people to admit they are wrong.

In fact, Leon Breaux suggests, “It’s the middle way between the two that’s going to do the trick,” which is the method my wife and I used to raise our daughter who has great social skills but also earned straight A’s in public school to graduate last year with a 4.65 GPA, and she was accepted to Stanford.

My wife and I are proud to say we are Middle Way Tiger Parents who did not support the soft self-esteem inflated method of parenting that has been so popular in the US for far too long.


 

Leon Breaux’s comment to the New York Times Op-Ed piece
Beijing
January 18th, 2011
11:14 a

 I’ve taught for quite a few years at the high school and junior high level in three states in the US and in three Asian countries, including China.

This piece frankly strikes me as an insight into what is wrong with education today in the US. Here’s an intelligent, accomplished man comparing structured intellectual activity and training to socializing and proclaiming socializing the winner.

My question is this: If you don’t know anything, what good is your socializing?

Most Asian parents push their children hard. They want them to succeed and they do it the best way they know how. I haven’t read Professor Chua’s book, but from what I’ve read of it, she takes an ironic tone concerning her own harsh methods. At any rate, just because she pushed her extreme of discipline too far, does not mean her point concerning American parenting’s lack of discipline is any less valid.

There is a middle way between these two extremes.

American students and parents are self-absorbed. Americans in general are so self-absorbed they find it difficult to understand anything outside their own immediate interests. No, this is not normal. Ironic, isn’t it that the type of thinking Mr. Brooks advises is supposed to increase social ability but in fact seems to only create that ability among those narrowly defined as your status peers.

Not that Mr. Brook’s fundamental point isn’t correct. The best predictor for primate brain size is the size of the species’ social group. The larger the group, the larger the brain. Obviously, the demands of knowing the thoughts and actions of other similarly equipped creatures as yourself in competitive situations are staggering. But that’s not the point. Close as we may be, we are not, actually, primates in social groups. We have fallen from that state of grace, so to speak. We are now compelled to make our own choices, and the wrong choices may mean our demise. We must master objective knowledge because that is the world in which we have put ourselves.

The true nature of objective education, where facts are facts and knowledge actually has some meaning and use in its own right, that destroyer of prejudice and racism and class and many other potentially harmful divisions between us, has largely been left behind. No one’s looking much outside themselves in the US. So while these socially adroit students may be quite good at doing whatever they do with each other in terms of their interactions, which probably isn’t anything too impressive in a larger sense, my original point remains: they don’t know anything.

Knowing something takes learning. Learning is generally hard work. Children often don’t want to do it. Trying to brush this away as something inconsequential and not as important as socialization or achievement of status is a great recipe for stagnation or worse.

You know, Americans admire Asian educational systems, but Asians admire American. And Western women want to look tanned, and do all sorts of things including cancerous tanning beds and lying in the sun to achieve it, while Asian women see extreme whiteness as the best shade and use all sorts of treatments, including cancerous creams, to achieve whiteness and wouldn’t be caught dead lying in the sun.

Point is, forget about Asian and Western. They’re different, hot dog. Question is, what’s best for educating our young people, worldwide. Clearly, a steady diet of day care without the pursuit of actual, objective knowledge isn’t the best route. Clearly, isolation into enforced study isn’t the best either. It’s the middle way between the two that’s going to do the trick.

I haven’t read Professor Chua’s book, but I’ll hazard a guess that’s where she comes out in the end.

A note from this Blog’s host: If you believe that Chinese Tiger Mothers are churning out robotic drones that have no social skills, you are wrong.

Unlike many idealistic Americans today with the fixation that everyone has to be equal even if we have to create government entitlement programs while working overtime to boost self-esteem in children raising generations of selfish narcissists, in China people have no choice but to compete to get into colleges and/or start private businesses.

The losers get little or no help from the government.

Even government owned industries in China were required in the 1980s to become profitable or go out of business and many did.

The losers just work harder for less to survive or don’t work at all and become homeless or turn to the family for a place to live and food to eat.

However, do not expect that nonworker to stay out of work for long. The rest of the family will put immense pressure on him or her to get out there and do anything to earn money even if it is pennies a day.  Doing nothing is unacceptable.

If China’s government does provide financial support, it is usually barely enough to eat a simple diet.  Since most Chinese work very hard for what little they earn, most wouldn’t condone the type of entitlement programs that exist in America that allows millions to not work or improve him or herself.

In China, meritocracy is the rule and has been for more than two thousand years.  If you cannot measure up, you are a failure. It’s that simple.

However, the Chinese also have a system that requires social skills to build networks of trust between individuals, businessmen and families and it is called Guanxi.  To be included in one of those social groups is not easy. To achieve Guanxi means earning the trust of others and not just being cute in a social setting.

What most Americans are missing in this debate is the fact that the Confucian, Taoist culture that developed and survived in China created a regional super power that lasted for more than two thousand years while the social self-esteem soft parenting approach popular in America to raise children was launched in the 1960s about six decades ago and has resulted in more than 14 trillion dollars in debt, a very divisive militant political atmosphere and economic crimes that have created global suffering for tens of millions of hard working people with 64 trillion dollars lost.

In fact, Chinese students in Shanghai ranked number one of 65 nations in the 2009 international PISA test, which doesn’t test the ability to memorize facts but tests the ability to work cooperatively with others to solve problems.

US students placed 23rd in that test. So much for learning social skills the soft American way. Self-esteemism, which pressured teachers to inflate grades while dumbing down the textbooks to make learning less of a challenge for children, has been a dismal failure.

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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.