Second only to news about Congressman Gifford, the hottest exchanged link of the weekend was this article in the Wall Street Journal about Amy Chua's pareting philosophy.
Chua makes the distinction between Chinese and Western mothers. She says she using the term, Chinese, loosely to include various ethnic groups that all embrace a common parenting philosophy of demanding high academic achievement for their children and allowing them very few choices about recreational activities.
I know this type of parent very well. My best friend in high school had a mother who conformed to the ethnic and philosophical requirements of Chua. Let me just say that the end result was awe-inspiring rebellion at college, once her mother was out of reach.
In a momentary pause between grad school programs years ago, I taught at any after-school enrichment program for smart kids. The kids were drilled in math and writing for two hours after school. The entire class was Asian. The parents frequently told me that Western schools were too lenient.
Chua is an extremist with an inkling of truth. We could all demand a little more from our kids, teach them to value hard work, and get them to step away from the bag of Pringles and the xBox. At the same time, there is also a place for creativity and free time and dreaming. High achievement comes at a cost, and maybe our kids will be happiest if they don't quite reach their potential.
The best parents can navigate these extremes. It's too bad that the MSM only gives voice to the extremes.