I promise, this is my finale blog on the Amy Chua article!
It’s true that the Chinese method of parenting has produced incredible dividends when it comes to academic and business success. However, one could also also say that the fear of failure, born from the demand for perfection and conformity, stifles creativity and ingenuity. Americans may not be perfect but boy are we innovative! My husband sums it up pretty well, “Americans invent it and the Asians perfect it!”
Of course, this entire discussion deals in generalities. I know some Western parents that make Chinese parents look like cream puffs. I also know and love many Chinese parents who are examples we all would do well to emulate. So, bottom line, what makes the difference? As I’ve suggested before, our view of God.
America was born on the backs of men and women who had an incredible work ethic as well as a determination and passion for success that was founded on a faith that sustained them through countless failures and heartaches. It is our view of God that propelled this nation to greatness. When America lost her high view of God, she also lost her heart and soul. Her parents became consumed with gratifying their own desires (larger house, nicer car, the latest fashions) and forgot their God-given mandate to raise children in “the way in which they should go”. (Proverbs 22:6)
I mentioned in the first blog that the liberal Morning Joe round table all agreed that Western parents are too soft on their kids. They seemed to say that we’re raising whimps. The real problem, however, is not our lack of discipline or our tendency to praise mediocrity and suppress excellence. Those are merely symptoms.
Chinese mothers may produce “successful” children, but at what cost? The pressure to achieve excellence robs them of experiencing true love—unconditional love. As Amy Chua so eloquently described, love is lavished on the children only after they’ve achieved the goal. You and I may shudder when they call their daughters “fatty”, or their sons “losers and worthless”, but that is not the real problem. It, too, is only a symptom.
In the West, we have the exact same problem as the Chinese, a flawed view of God. Until both cultures fix their foundational view of God, who is perfect, immensely creative and loves unconditionally, neither will produce very many children who become everything God intended.
It starts with you and me, choosing to live out our view of God in everything we do; in the home, at work and at play. But that’s just the start. If we want our children to live in a country that allows them the freedom to pursue their dreams, the incentive to achieve excellence and the moral compass that values each person (from the womb to the grave), we must pray for an awakening of America’s soul and look for ways to encourage others to make God, rather than societal norms or status, their North Star for navigating life and raising children.