In 2007, Al Jazeera reported about Jang Hway-min, an eight year old runner in China, who completed running 3,500 kilometers (almost 2,176 miles) in fifty-five days.
Jang Hway-min ran a distance each day equal to one-and-a-half marathons. Her diet was milk, honey and raw eggs (yuck!)
When Paul Allen, the reporter, interviewed her, she said, “I like running. Running makes me happy.”
Her father followed her on a motorized bicycle.
However, similar to the debate concerning Amy Chua’sextreme parenting methods in the United States, Chinese Blogs and editorials in the media criticized the father for child abuse.
Hmm, I wonder how the average soft American parent would react to learn that this happened in the land where “Tough Love” is considered the norm.
Jang Hway-min’s father said, “I am not worried about her health. She is always healthy and never says her legs hurt or that she is tired after running fifty kilometers (31 mile) a day.”
Then in December 2010, The China Post in Taipei, Taiwan reported on a six-year-old marathon runner, Wu Chun-hao, who completed a 42-kilometer marathon (26 miles).
The China Postsaid, “According to local media reports, the six siblings initially entered the race for fun; they soon grew bored at the constant running and in the final 10-km stretch, little Wu complained of aching knees and broke into tears, which were still running down his face when he crossed the finish line.
“When asked whether it was fun, Wu shook his head. However, asked if he would do it again, the boy bravely replied in the affirmative.
“Breaking records appear to run in the family. Last year’s youngest runner was Wu’s older brother Wu Cheng-en; his sisters, 8-year-old Wu Hui-hsin also became the event’s youngest female marathon runner Sunday.”
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.
At a recent Chinese-American Lunar New Year dinner, all Asians were talking about Amy Chua’s essay in the Wall Street Journal, WhyChinese mothers are superior, and her memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
They were angry with Chua. They said Chua was going to make their job as parents more difficult since most American Caucasian parents would stereotype them and disapprove.
Since most of the Chinese-Americans I know were born and raised in mainland China, I had to remind them that Amy Chua grew up in the US and was not Chinese but Chinese-American.
While her Middle Kingdom born and raised mother and overseas Chinese father raised her using perfectly acceptable, universal Tough Love parenting methods, she was also exposed to America’s evangelical atmosphere where far to many preach his or her brand of parenting, religion, politics and lifestyle as if it were the only acceptable way to live.
Among Chinese in America or China, I’ve seldom heard anyone preach what he or she believes is the best way to raise children, live and worship.
However, one of my closest Caucasian friends in the US does nothing but preach.
The consensus among the Asians I’ve heard was that it was wrong of Amy Chua to brand Tough Love parenting as a Chinese method.
In fact, it isn’t. All through history, Tough Love has been the way most parents raised children all over the globe. SAP (Self-esteem arm of Political Correctness) is the exception and is a recent, flawed belief. The SAP parenting model could be called the curse of a wealthy family or culture, which often leads to its downfall.
According to the reader reviewsfor Amy Chua’s memoir at Amazon.com, at 11:59 AM on Sunday, February 06, 2011, one-hundred-and-fifty-seven (157) people rated her memoir as a four or five star read.
Many of these four and five star reviews were thoughtful, long and well written.
In contrast, there were one-hundred-thirteen (113) one or two star reviews and most that I read were short with a few long-winded rants that seldom go into detail about the book itself.
The results show that more than 58% of reader reviews enjoyed her work or supported some level of Tough Love parenting leaving 42% opposed to her memoir/parenting style.
I didn’t count the three star reviews since they are somewhat neutral.
Then there is the on-line opinion pollthe Wall Street Journal conducted to discover which style of parenting was considered best for raising children.
The Permissive Western parenting style most practiced by SAPs, earned 37.7% of the 35,201 votes, while 62.3% voted for Demanding Eastern parenting.
The results from Amazon reader reviews and the WSJ poll on the subject seem to indicate that SAPs make up about 40% the population, which may represent the “average” American parent and child.
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 Evolutionor 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 Methodsof 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.
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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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 Postwas 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.