Saturday, January 8, 2011

It's Better To Look Forward

An article in The Wall Street Journal about Chinese parenting has whipped up a firestorm of attention in the Comment section.

The author, originally from Asia, speaks only of her daughters, is a professor at Yale Law School, and author of a book about "Free Market Democracy" and how it breeds global instability and ethnic hatred. Little wonder, she is aiming to take the same lesson home to Americans, except on the personal scale. She thinks child and teenage freedom possibly lead to a great national weakness of character and strength. For example, she favors competitive classical music for her child over drama, without tolerance for art, and perhaps psychology.

 The article has moved many readers. One comment that boys in China would not have been insulted by their mothers, stays with me and bothers me. It surprises me that a law professor gets away with calling her daughter names like "garbage" and withholds bathroom trips, and yet hasn't been threatened with child removal by the Department of Youth and Family Services, as they have done for far lesser offenses. Such free publicity in a "serious newspaper" should help the author sell her books this week.

When my sixteen year old read the article, she reflected the author-mother illegally committed child abuse with her daughters. She, of course, thought I was being excessively strict with her last week when I wouldn't drive her and her friend through a snowstorm to attend a rock concert!

Another disturbing article this week concerns a long suicide note left by a graduate student at Princeton University. In it, he addressed the lingering effects of child abuse and that he could not forget them. He wrote the darkness of the pain is what drove him over the edge.

It is obvious to me: parents use strategies to raise children that worked out best for them; it's not necessarily what will work for all children. Each child is different, and needs to have a unique set of circumstances combine to create great success in a career. It's true that luck favors the prepared, but life is short, too. Each person has a unique life to live.

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