4. maaliskuuta 2012

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother - Amy Chua

“This is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. This was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it’s about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how I was humbled by a thirteen-year-old.”

As a person with no children and (as of yet) no desire to ever have any, I read Battle Hymn in the most objective way possible. It’s easy to not to take sides when all the people Amy Chua talks about in the book are strangers and you have no personal connection to them. From my point of view her way of raising her children is just one way of doing it, and it’s just as valid as any other. She really describes well why she chose to do the things she did, what was the thinking process behind all those decisions. While reading the book it became more and more obvious to me that Amy Chua’s way of raising her children wasn’t destroying them mentally or traumatizing them in any way. Children are way more flexible than adults give them credit for, and it’s usually the society’s way of treating these kids that makes them think “is this how I should be feeling?” and “am I incorrect to think that what happened to me, in the end, is okay?”

In the last chapters of her book Amy Chua says that there’s supposed to be humor in the book and I have to say I failed to find it. Looking back, thinking about it again, after Amy pointed it out for me, sure, most of the over the top stuff probably was meant as humor. But with the mentality about raising children being what it is, it’s easy to see why the irony would be lost to the reader.

In the end though, Amy Chua was correct to push her children, to believe them capable of doing all the things they accomplished. She never gave up on them and in the process definitely taught them to never give up on themselves, nor their children. I wish my mother would have been at least the tenth as demanding as Chua, and maybe I would have stuck to some of the dozens of hobbies I had. Battle Hymn is a good, entertaining read, and I couldn’t put it down once I started. I found the cultural differences Chua describes interesting and to anyone just figuring out what to do and what not to do in regards of raising kids, Battle Hymn definitely has something to give. It’s not scientific or matter of fact, and I liked it. Chua is honest about the outcomes of her exploits and she lets the reader in on her weaker moments, too.

I wish I’ll have the courage to stick to the plan when the time comes.


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