In 2000, Paul Begala, a political strategist for President Bill Clinton, wrote in Esquire, “The Baby Boomers are the most self-centered, self-seeking, self-interested, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self aggrandizing generation in American history.”
Begala was right.
Starting in the 1960s, the Boomers also gave birth to the narcissistic, self-esteem generation.
When Amy Chua’s memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother went on sale, my wife and I went to the local Barnes and Noble and bought a copy. It took us more than a week to read the book. My wife went first.
However, the morning that Chua’s memoir went on sale, dozens of one-star reviews appeared on Amazon.com condemning the book before anyone had time to read it.
Later, Amazon.com deleted many of these critical reviews that were bitter, caustic, personal attacks on Chua’s parenting methods and had nothing to say of the memoir. It was obvious that most if not all of those early one-star reviews were based on the essay in The Wall Street Journal.
Nancy (not her real name), who works for Barnes and Noble (where we bought a copy of the memoir), told us of an experience she had substitute teaching in a girls P.E. Class. She said there were about 150 girls. Half were Asian and half were Caucasian. When Nancy told them to sit and read or do what they wanted, the Asians took out books and studied. The Caucasians started to text, do makeup and gossip.
Studies show that the “average” American Boomer parent talks to his or her children less than five minutes a day and more than 80% never attend a parent-teacher conference. Boomer parents are so self-absorbed with other interests that TV, the Internet, video games and other teens become substitute parents to their children.
However, when most Chinese mothers (or Asian American) come together, their conversations focus on their children and education, which explains why studies show Asian-American students have the lowest incidence of STDs, teen pregnancy, illegal drug and alcohol use and the highest GPAs, graduation rates from high school and highest ratio of college attendance.
What do you think the “average” Caucasian Boomer mothers talk about when they get together?
A close friend of mine, who isn’t Chinese, read Amy Chua’s essay and many of the comments attacking Chua for her tough stance as a mother. He said it is obvious that Chinese mothers love their children and American mothers don’t because love means sacrifice.
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This post first appeared at iLook China.net on January 11, 2011. The quality of Parenting is vital to the survival of any civilization. Parents are the first line of defense. Although critics of Amy Chua’s essay in The Wall Street Journal and her memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, have urged readers to ignore her book, I have another opinion, which is why I’m reprinting several posts I wrote for my China Blog here. This is a revised version of the original.