Time Out for Doing Battle with Tiger Mom…

Crossposted on RiceDaddies

Do We all have a bit of Tiger Mom within us?

So, I recently wrote a short book review on BookDads of Amy Chua’s, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.  I actually had my Mother-in-law read it, too, and initially, as she started read it, she was a bit infuriated with Amy Chua. As she continued reading it (because it’s hard to put down once you get started), the book definitely grew on her, and it made for lots of interesting conversation. 🙂

Writing a book review is one thing. Doing battle with Tiger Mom is not something I was prepared for…

Malachy had his first little recital yesterday at school.   As performance day drew near, I discovered there was a bit of Tiger Mom inside me, and I didn’t like it at all.  I found myself saying ugly things, like:

  • Come on! You can do better!
  • If you don’t play it right, then I’ll…
  • If you don’t make any mistakes, then we’ll…
  • Stop looking at me every time you make a mistake!
  • Don’t rush!  Slow down!
  • You’re playing it too slow!  Hurry up!

Ai ya!  There I was judging and mocking Tiger Mom for being so harsh to her daughters, and here I was doing and saying things that should and could have been edited.  Do we all have a bit of Tiger Mom within us? What were my reasons for pushing him to practice? Was it for him? Was it for me? Tiger Mom, Tiger Mom, what do you say?

As Malachy practiced, I sensed that he was feeling the stress and pressure coming from within me.  I knew he wanted to please me.  When he made a mistake, he just stopped to check how I would react.  Sometimes I would get upset, and other times I just let it go.  At the end of the day, he always received praise and hugs from Mom and Dad.  Most importantly, he enjoys practicing and playing, and he definitely has more showmanship than his dad.  😉

The bottom line is that if you want to do something really well, you HAVE TO practice.  Once in a while, you can rely on raw talent, but 99.99% of the time, it’s about hard work.  For things like music and some schoolwork, it’s about repetition, repetition, repetition.  With the piano, if he didn’t practice, he wouldn’t have done as well.  The crazy thing is that after all the practicing, there was still the chance he would “mess up.”  Watching ice skating on television comes to mind…  So, what’s the reward?  I guess you feel accomplished when you do it right and do it well.  You prove to yourself that you can do it if you work hard.  Plus, you get to have all those around you cheering you on.  😉

After the recital, we could tell that he was pleased with performance.  Later on, he called PoPo and GongGong (who were at the airport) and told them he didn’t make any mistakes.  They were so proud, because I had posted it on YouTube, and they had already seen it on the iPhone minutes later.  Technology is amazing!  He thanked Gong Gong for the practice sessions he had with him when grandpa was in New York.

Gong Gong had him stop and start over every time he “messed up,” and Malachy never complained.  From the other room, we would hear him play, Father, I Adore You, again and again and again.  He only got a check mark from Gong Gong when he played it without any mistakes.  Gong Gong was tough, but never mean.  When Malachy came out of the room, he felt good about his practice session.  I learned from Gong Gong that Malachy didn’t mind some hard work.  😉

Here’s to more doing battle with Tiger Mom again and again and again… 😉

2 thoughts on “Time Out for Doing Battle with Tiger Mom…”

  1. I love what you wrote. Objectively described the essence what Tiger mom is all about. Reading the book indeed had made me feeling differently toward Amy Choa. More empathy and understanding toward her view and what she done. I wish the medias portrayed her more in depth, instead of stirring up emotions by taking bits and pieces from the book. Parents who care for their children future and well being would admit that there is part of tiger mom in them.

    I commended Amy Choa honestly and courageously written this book. It has brought so much controversial and discussions. I hope many more parents would examine more deeply the responsibility toward their children. Instead of being so permissive and created many young persons who do not know how to weather their adversities and give up their God given talent so easily. It is indeed a very fine line to define between shaping your child to discover his/her unique gift and pushing the children to become extension of parent ambition.

    I agree with you Renny, that this book has to have a sequel. This book ended unfinished for me. The goal she set for her daughter Lulu did not materialize. Did she come to term with her reality; the interestingly up and down in life especially when we least expected? The book is about lesson in life that no matter how hard we try to do what we think is right, but the outcome might not come out what we expected. Choa would like to be in control of her goal, but she also accepted her limit toward the end.

    This saga is not finished. I very much like to know the development of her two girls especially socially and their relationship with others. By the time Amy Choa reaching more mature age, she might have different prospective what life is all about: To pursue tangible goal one after another? Or there is deeper meaning in human spirit, in individuality that uniquely as who HE/SHE is in this earth? When this unique individual is being put into your hands to care; the mission become divine and we better do it with lots of love, care and humility.

  2. Hi Meishan, Renny, Shien! I thought I had gathered enough about the Tiger Mom from the media, but now I want to read the book and see what I think. I loved this blog post one because I got to hear Malachy’s beautiful music and also two, I liked hearing some thoughts from Meishan and Renny about this topic. Sending love. Hallie

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