One thing I never expected about the world of being a parent is the judgment that flies at you from everywhere. It seems that everyone knows the "right" way to parent and it's interesting to see how different all of those right ways are.
This week there has been a lot of buzz about Amy Chua's WSJ article on Why Chinese Mothers are Superior. I read it and it made me sad for her children. She describes an incident with one of her daughters who can't get a piano a piece and how she forces her to sit there until she's learned it. I feel sad that this moment of abusive parenting has been broadcast for all the world to see - probably to help sales of Amy's book. Of course I don't think practicing the piano until you get something is abusive. I played the piano as a kid and I enjoyed repeating a piece until I learned it. But that's the thing - I was the one who chose to play long hours or not at all. Of course, the proof is in the pudding; I'm far from a virtuoso pianist. I would be hard pressed to play anything at all today besides plunking out "Twinkle Twinkle" on the iPad for Anna. But I loved playing piano and it was an enjoyable activity for me.
I definitely recommend having a look at the article, as well as the discussion about it on Motherlode, which puts it into a bit of perspective. I just feel like here we are again - pushing our kids to be only the best - "A" students who go to Ivy League schools. At what cost? But that's the thing - everyone in life has their own goals and rates success and happiness differently. Who am I to judge this woman who is clearly financially successful and raising children that can go on to choose from top-notch colleges? I know I didn't want to go to a private all-girls school but my parents didn't give me a choice. And yes, I am thankful now. This just takes it a bit further.
In the end, I have to agree with Lisa Belkin at the NYT. Given that the latest research shows it's more WHO you are as a parent than WHAT you do ... I'd rather give Anna the benefit of the doubt. I'd rather raise her with respect and listen to her and try to help her find her joys and passions in life. I've been enjoying this journey as a parent so much lately, just being with her and learning about who she is, I'm not going to let it all be run-over with thoughts of her educational and monetary success in life. All I can do is let my heart guide me and believe in my choices. It's all that any of us can do.