When Amy Chua came out with her memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother in 2011, thanks to The Wall Street Journal’s headline Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior—a headline that Chua didn’t write—a firestorm of criticism was unleashed. Chua even received death threats and because I defended her parenting methods in the Amazon forum for her memoir, my own published work was attacked for the first time in more than three years by a small rash of 1-star reviews.
Get ready for the next Parenting Wars, because Chua has another book coming out this February called The Triple Package, and it’s already been attacked by critics who hate her parenting methods. In this nonfiction book, Amy Chua is not alone. Her husband Jed Rubenfeld is the co-author; Rubenfeld is an author in his own right with several novels under his belt—his The Interpretation of Murder, an international bestseller that’s sold more than one-million copies worldwide has enough 1 and 2-star reviews of his book on Amazon to lower its average to 3.7 out of 5 stars. Is it possible that his wife’s politically-correct critics punished him for just being her husband? If so, these are despicable people; they are bullies—proof that there are many Americans who hate anything that goes against what they believe regardless of the facts, and the message is strong: “If you prove what I think is wrong, I’ll gang up on you and see that you pay for it!”
Information for The Triple Package on Amazon says, “Americans are taught that everyone is equal, that no group is superior to another. But remarkably, all of America’s most successful groups believe (even if they don’t say so aloud) that they’re exceptional, chosen, and superior in some way. Americans are taught that self-esteem—feeling good about yourself—is the key to a successful life. But in all of America’s most successful groups, people tend to feel insecure, inadequate, that they have to prove themselves. America today spreads a message of immediate gratification, living for the moment. But all of America’s most successful groups cultivate heightened discipline and impulse control.”
If you watch the following embedded video (with more than 90,000 views), you will hear The (two) Young Turks crucify Chua and Rubenfeld as racists and elitists. But how can this be true when the authors are only pointing out cultural traits that offer advantages that may lead to success later in life—cultural traits found among Nigerians who are black; Chinese and Indians who are Asian; Iranians who are Middle Eastern and Muslims; Lebanese-Americans; Mormons—a minority among religions—who are not Christians; Cubans who are Latino, and Jews who may be found all over the world representing people of all races and ethnic groups. For instance, there are Chinese Jews, Egyptian Jews, Moroccan Jews, Indian Jews; etc. It’s even estimated that there are more than 200,000 African-American Jews.
In fact, a piece on The Triple Package that appeared at the NationalPost.org concluded: “sociologists and anthropologists said that despite its merits, the discussion of cultural difference inevitably becomes a minefield of assumptions, stereotypes and political correctness, especially when considered in the Western context.”
Are the critics who hate Chua and Rubenfeld’s message denialists who refuse to accept facts that prove we’re not all born—and raised—equally, and does that make the critics a different type of elitist—one who is more dangerous?
I’m convinced that what the Young Turks say in the first video reveals more about how political correctness guides the average American’s thinking, because I was attacked on Diane Ravitch’s Blog by another commenter when I dared to point out that every racial group has a different average IQ. Such talk was called racist—even though studies show this fact is true.
In addition, my wife and I watched a documentary called First Position. It was excellent and even though it wasn’t about parenting and the focus was on youth ballet, the underlying theme had everything to do with parenting.
One blurb on Amazon said: “Every year, thousands of aspiring dancers enter one of the world’s most prestigious ballet competitions, the Youth America Grand Prix, where lifelong dreams are at stake. In the final round, with hundreds competing for only a handful of elite scholarships and contracts, practice and discipline are paramount, and nothing short of perfection is expected.”
In the film, we see parents supporting, encouraging; even pressuring [I’m sure that Chua’s critics will claim this is another example of bullying] their kids not to give up. Does that make those parents wrong too? I don’t think so.
There is no instant gratification in youth ballet. To stand a chance at success means spending long hours practicing ballet moves even when in severe crippling pain—and only a few can succeed and reach the top while many fail and every child is aware of the odds. There are no false assumptions. These kids live in a world that is not pumped up with hollow promises that their dreams will come true just because they dream it.
Chua and Rubenfeld’s Triple Package and the film First Position make a strong case against the self-esteem driven, politically-correct method for parenting in the United States.
The truth is that we are not all born equal, and there are no guarantees—none—that what a child dreams will come true.
But the law and other people should treat us as equals; no one should be denied the opportunity to at least attempt to achieve their goals and dreams. Like a lottery, we should at least be allowed to buy a ticket.
That means some of us will have to work harder at the chance to succeed at what we want out of life, and it helps to have tough parents pushing, encouraging—maybe even using a few bully tactics through tough love—to push a child/teen to go that extra mile. Dreaming is not enough.
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.
His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.
And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.
To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”