One big hubub in the nation this week has been the release of Amy Chua’s memoir, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.” In it, Chua describes that standards she used to raise her two successful daughters, who are now 15 and 18.
The controversy, which I’m sure will make cash registers sing, is that Chua’s methods were pretty harsh, as you can see from an excerpt in the Wall Street Journal. No playdates. No acting in school plays. Mom, not the kids, chooses the extracurricular activities. Nothing less than being the number one student in each subject, except P.E. and drama. Constant practice and drilling.
Chua tells a story of forcing her daughter to stay at the piano to perfect a difficult piece, refusing to let her eat or go to the bathroom until the piece had been learned. Perfectly. Before daybreak.
I’m not going to berate Chua here. It’s her life, and she’s taking heat from every side. But please don’t do this to yourself. Tiger Mother isn’t the only way.
It’s so very tempting to buy into this idea that force conquers all. The Protestant work ethic is built on the idea that you should push, strain and sacrifice in the name of progress. In the pursuit of being the best. In the hopes of being worthy.
Momentum is another way. This isn’t about performance or achievement. It’s about developing a habit of activity that will see you through your entire life.
So start slowly. Find ways of exercise that feel like a gift. For me, that means sunshine, fresh air, fluid movement and great scenery.
How was last week? What’s cooking for this week?