Craig asked me if I had seen an editorial in our paper that referenced this article in the Washington Post "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior" which is an excerpt from Amy Chua's new book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother". I had just seen the above illustration on Penelope's blog and had been thinking about the Chinese kids Caroline talks about from school who have parents who expect this kind of work from their children. After reading the article I still feel the same way I did before, and maybe even more so. I have high expectations for my children's performance. I know what they are capable of and even more so, I expect them to be responsible for it themselves. BUT I also know that expecting straight A's is not something I insist on. I was a teacher... I know how sometimes there are things that someone just can't grasp in the amount of time a teacher has to teach it. And seriously, I want my kids to be more well-rounded than these narrowly focused students. They don't have to be doctors and lawyers to be successful in life. Only if they want to. They just have to do their best. Caroline came home today and at dinner (this is why I believe so strongly in the family dinner!) she brought up the fact that she might not get a good grade in French (alas... the class I want her to excel in most right now!) because of one test and that "I should be helping her to remember her work at home"... or in other words, "it's somehow your fault that I am not getting an A this time". Well, it came down to the fact that she didn't read all of the test directions and missed a part, which brought her grade down and she would have aced it. UGH! So... I reminded her that every day I ask about their homework and that I expect them to write down what is due and do it... without me hovering over her back. Because really, I won't be there when she's grown up and has work to get done. SHE should want to succeed at her responsibilities. I did it when I was her age. I have offered to quiz her for tests in the past, but she turns me down. Hopefully she will let me do that sometime. In Eighth Grade she's getting midterm exams and finals and will have to study. So... onward goes the learning on both of our parts! At the end of the day I am proud of her and I tell her that all the time. And she knows it.
Penelope Dullaghan is one of my favorite illustrators and is also the founder of Illustration Friday AND a yogi! No wonder her pictures tend to be more peaceful (except for this one). Time to get my Yee on and find that peaceful place. It's been a very emotional day today.