Having a father of Chinese origin has always posed an interesting internal conflict for me. Growing up in regional Australia in a mono cultural environment has made my own personal journey somewhat difficult. Hence issues of gender and race have always been close to my heart.
How does Culture influence who we are and who we become?
I have been following the media responses to Amy Chua’s book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
The fact is that Chinese parents can do things that would seem unimaginable—even legally actionable—to Westerners. Chinese mothers can say to their daughters, “Hey fatty—lose some weight.” By contrast, Western parents have to tiptoe around the issue, talking in terms of “health” and never ever mentioning the f-word, and their kids still end up in therapy for eating disorders and negative self-image. (I also once heard a Western father toast his adult daughter by calling her “beautiful and incredibly competent.” She later told me that made her feel like garbage.)
Chinese parents can order their kids to get straight As. Western parents can only ask their kids to try their best. Chinese parents can say, “You’re lazy. All your classmates are getting ahead of you.” By contrast, Western parents have to struggle with their own conflicted feelings about achievement, and try to persuade themselves that they’re not disappointed about how their kids turned out.
I have found this article by Albert Mohler really helpful in identifying some the strength’s of Chua’s book and where we as Christian parents might allow our faith to over ride our culture.
Let me know what you think. Did you have a tiger mother or father?I would really like to talk about this one.