A Window into Life in the Suburbs


"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pushing

How far do you push your kids? You know they're capable of much more and they need to step up... so what do you do?
I don't think there are any easy answers. It's one of those "depends-on-the-kid" scenarios.
But kids need pushing. I did, admittedly... although, let's face it, I didn't care for it at the time.
Whether it was bashing about on the piano, or maths, or keeping my desk or bed nice and tidy. Someone had to be on my case. Fortunately for me (or unfortunately) I had grandma, aunty, two older cousins, mum and dad.
I pushed back from time to time... and then something strange happened when I got older. It gradually dawned on me that there were benefits to working hard. That there were substantial rewards to be had.

So now I'm a mum, it's my turn to push. I have renewed respect for my mother's persistence. I don't do Tiger Mom (US Spelling), however.
Who's Tiger Mom, you say? Well, it's a book (or an idea based on a book) by Amy Chua, a Chinese-American law professor at Yale University. Chua recently made waves (a lot of them) with her Wall Street Journal extract about how Chinese/Asian mums are better than Western mums because they bring up successful kids.
Read it here...  (check out the comments) it's an amazing piece of polemic guaranteed to hit a nerve and get a reaction. I wondered for a while if it was a kind of Swiftian diatribe.
But what really troubles me, is her rather narrow view of success.

Is success really about churning out university graduates, who enter the top professions? Or world class musicians?
Instilling a work ethic in one's children is important and I'd be the last person to decry teaching kids the value of hard work and self-reliance. But is financial success or fame, the be-all and end-all in life?

I haven't read Chua's book so I can't say what else she's said on the subject. As a Chinese myself, this kind of thinking is very familiar to me but it also assumes that children are products of cookie cutters. This one-size-fits-all thinking can be soul destroying for both parents and children.

There's a guy I know... I've known him since he was a school boy. I taught him Sunday School, as a matter of fact when I was university student.
He drives a truck for a living and seems content. And you know what... good for him. The world needs truck drivers too.
As someone who often feels inner discontent, I can learn a lot from that attitude. Some days I wake up and ask myself, "Is that all there is to life?"
From time to time, there are all these books, movies where people going off to some exotic place to find themselves. But I've been to a couple of exotic places and I came back feeling the same way about myself. And I was glad to be back, knowing this is the place I call home.

I don't know what the future holds. I'm a mum right now and that's what I need to be and to do.
I have heard it said that we have the most important job in the world...
Some days I just don't see it.
Some days I cry
And other days I want to cry but laugh instead.
Some days I just thank God that I'm alive.

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