Lessons from Amy Chua, the Tiger Mother

I recently read Amy Chua’s controversial book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, and it fell right in with a train of thought I’ve been following in two recent posts, one questioning whether we always try to do our best, and the other about elements of truth to be heard from that savage inner voice.  While I believe many of Ms. Chua’s methods are abusive (I can’t see any value in calling your child “garbage”), there’s a lot to be said for upholding high standards for our children, and a great deal of truth in her criticism of permissive Western parenting.

Upholding those high standards (for ourselves as well as our children) without resorting to a perfectionistic cruelty is the challenge, and one at which Ms. Chua fails.  She recounts many instances where she treats her children with a contemptuous perfectionism that shows little regard for their feelings, those of her husband or of anyone else in her environment.  She badgers and threatens and withholds until she gets the results that she wants.  She brooks no opposition, always insisting that her demands be met.  And she gets amazing results.  How many families have two young daughters play Carnegie Hall?

From the anecdotes Chua tells, it’s clear that without her relentless demands, her daughters would not have reached such a high level of academic and musical excellence.  In one case where her younger daughter was struggling to master a piece of music where each hand played a radically different rhythmic pattern, the daughter kept insisting she couldn’t do it; Chua forced her to continue practicing, against her will, for hours and hours, until at last, she mastered it.  Without the mother’s drive and demanding nature, the daughter would not have mastered that skill, would  not have done her very best.  Let’s put aside for a moment the question of whether such an achievement was worthwhile and at what emotional cost; the story illustrates how we often do not do our very best because it takes such an enormous effort.

My 12-year-old daughter takes an interest in my blog; when I was telling her about some reader responses to the question, Do do we always do our best?, she laughed and said, “Of course we don’t.  It’s human nature to take the easy way out.  I’m always trying to figure out how to get my homework done with the least amount of effort.”  This seems undeniably true to me, as well, and yet many people take offense at the suggestion that someone may not have tried his hardest in the psychological/emotional realm.  In response to my recent pieces about Charlie Sheen, a number of readers have written me to insist he’s doing the best he can.  I think that when people make that kind of statement, they mean to express sympathy; they feel a deep compassion for Sheen’s obvious suffering.  But is it so very kind to expect less of people, to believe they’re always doing the best they can when maybe they’re not?

Amy Chua believes it expresses love and confidence in them to expect the most from your children.  She insisted her daughters practice their instruments four to five hours per day and as a result, they achieved a concert-level of proficiency at a very young age.  And both of them love music.  Lulu, the younger, may eventually have decided to pursue violin with less intensity, but she doesn’t regret having learned the instrument.  In contrast, my oldest son, a sophomore in college and a talented pianist, told me with regret that he’ll never be first-rate because there are Asians who’ve been practicing six hours per day since they were five.  He clearly wishes I’d driven him harder instead of following the Western method that Chua disdains:  45 minutes of practice per day, maybe an hour at most.  When he was 16, my son of his own volition began to practice two-to-three hours per day and made great progress, but not every child discovers that internal drive.  Should I have expected more from him at an earlier age?

When it comes to our psychological and emotional growth, should we expect more from ourselves?  Can we make higher demands of ourselves without resorting to perfectionistic cruelty, and without abusing ourselves if we can’t meet those demands?  For those of us with a savage inner critic, it can be difficult to form a realistic idea of our own capabilities; for people with narcissistic defenses success or failure too readily becomes a question of winning and losing, with contempt clouding the field.  This is why so many people insist on the idea that “we’re all doing the best we can”; for them, the alternative is felt to be harsh judgment filled with scorn.

But maybe there’s a third alternative.  Maybe we can rescue standards and expectations from the realm of perfectionistic cruelty.  Without endorsing her child-rearing ideology, maybe we can take a lesson from Amy Chua and demand more of ourselves.

Finding Your Own Way:

Set a goal.  I’m sure you can think of something you’d like to do better.  The first challenge is to have high but realistic standards for yourself.  Review your past experience, any successes or disappointments, and try to figure out what to expect.  It might be helpful to begin with an area where you’ve had some success and then set the bar a little higher.  Be careful not to set a goal you know in advance you can’t achieve.  On the other hand, don’t insult yourself by expecting too little.

As you work toward the goal, listen for the part of you who, like my daughter, wants to figure out how to get by with the least amount of effort.  As a good parent, try to expect more from yourself but at the same time, keep an eye on your inner critic.  Are you demanding and abusive?  Do you encourage yourself?  Can you find fault in a way that doesn’t involve cruelty and contempt?

Strange as it may seem, it can actually be empowering to say to yourself, I could have done better in that instance if I’d tried a little harder.  As I discussed in my post on authentic self-esteem, uncritical praise does nothing to build real self-confidence.  Only by expecting ourselves to do the best we can and then by meeting those expectations can we build lasting self-esteem.

Joe is the author and the owner of AfterPsychotherapy.com, one of the leading online mental health resources on the internet. Be sure to connect with him on Google+ and Linkedin.

On Success and Having Arrived

During a session on Thursday, one of my clients was talking about his feeling that he had “arrived” in his profession. In his mid-30s, he’s well-established now in a competitive field, earning an excellent income…

Self-Loathing

About 30 years ago during analytic training, my good friend Tom Grant was describing a difficult case in seminar — a man in his mid-30s whom Tom had already been treating for quite some time….

Shyness and Self-Hatred

Early in my career, when clients would talk about intense forms of self-criticism or self-loathing, I used to make interpretations that focused on the savage and perfectionistic superego. Over time, I’d help them develop the…

18 comments

    As a daughter of two abusive parents I came across a lot of people who wanted to encourage me to believe my parents did the best they could. I have never believed that, because if what they did was the best they could they must have been pretty despicable people! They were both damaged individuals of course, and both in a lot of pain but that doesn’t alter the fact that they also had choices and I believe they could have done better, had they been willing to look at themselves ad consider how their behaviour affected others.

    Likewise I know I could have made better choices in some situations – it’s always easier to do what we habitually/have been conditioned to do, than to stop and consider what choices we really have. I do struggle with a legacy of shame but I am learning how to look at my own behaviours without castigating myself – and I feel so much happier when I’m able to to behave in a way which respects myself and others. It is, if you like, proof that I can learn new ways of doing things and am not trapped in the behaviours I learned as child.

    I was really glad to read this and your other post on this topic, whilst I agree Chua’s methods are abusive I do think we should ll be asking more of ourselves, because as your daughter says, humans are inherently lazy!

    I concur with both your article and Sarah’s comment. I feel it is all about balance. By our very nature as human beings we are not perfectionists- nor should we expect ourselves to be. However – a wholesome discipline (self-applied) to all things will result in the majority of situations in success. I firmly believe we are one this earth for multitude of experiences and part of the aim of being a well round individual should be to embrace this journey to the full. Anything which drives us zealously on in one direction is at the price of another (similar to the butterfly effect). As a mother of 3 children, my aim (or drive) for all of them has been to ensure they fully self -embrass the work ethic (from a wholesome perspective) before leading independent lives and the rest is up to them. This has proved successful so far (still working with my 16yr old son) and results have seen them shine amongst peers at university (not necessary in academic ability) in steadfast approach to working and generally trying their best in all things.

    I loved Amy Chua’s book and felt envious of her daughters. My own mother was fiercely competitive and didn’t really want her daughters to excell at anything. It would have been awesome to have a mom that cared enough to push me.

    I know how you feel. My mother was simply lazy but I also wished she would have cared enough to push me.

    I also didn’t get “pushed” because of lack of interest and jealousy, but I think I would have preferred enthusiastically encouraged instead, anyway.

    It is sad because some parents should have helped us while growing up but too busy was their excuse. Old saying “practice what you preach” I believe this but our parents did not. Do as they say and that is it.
    I will admit I did not agree with everything my mom did but she did help me sometimes throw difficult times. Maybe not as much as she could have.
    I will admit when I got older we became great friends and I value that.

    I found Amy Chua’s book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” very entertaining. It was written with a satirical sense of humor. While, calling her daughter ‘garbage’ is not something I would emulate, I admire the persistence Ms. Chua had in bringing up children of excellence. Most moms are all too happy to pack their children on the school bus for the day, and are utterly helpless in how to raise them. In a society where mediocrity is accepted and many times rewarding, I found Ms. Chua to be a breath of fresh air, and it would do Americans good to take a lesson or two from how she raised her daughters.

    BTW, I’ve been following her older daughter, Sophia’s blog and she seems surprisingly “normal” even after the Amy Chua haters swore she would be scarred for life and would requiring years of psychotherapy.

    I have not read Amy Chua’s book, and have zero desire to do so. From what I’ve read here and other places about the book her parenting style is too similar to my own mother’s for me to get anything but frustration out of it. That being said, the fact that my mother pushed me relentlessly to be excellent in academics and my ‘chosen’ sport is a positive that came out of my extremely emotionally abusive childhood. I learned how to work hard. I reached my potential in school and in my sport. Academically I had some talent, so I fortunately achieved enough success that I generally avoided beratement. As an athlete I know now that I became the best my body type and environment at the time would allow. But I was never among the best in the state let alone nationally ranked, so to say the least, I was a ‘disappointment’. To my mother’s credit, because I did everything she said, and worked 100% at every workout she didn’t berate me a lot about it. I knew I was a disappointment though, and the year around workouts, 7 days a week, often multiple times per day even during the school year were so extreme to be physically abusive. Add to that body image issues coupled with food restriction by my mother and lack of adequate rest.

    The comments by Joe and some others here that you wished your parents pushed you to work harder are understandable. However since they are placed after an article about a mother pushing her daughters so hard that it is obviously abuse, they are insensitive comments. It’s similar to someone reading an article about anorexia and leaving a comment that they wished they could be so disciplined so they could lose weight too.

    And Sophia’s blog makes her appear ‘normal’? You can’t judge the emotional health of other people through a blog. That statement was a casual dismissal of all the pain Sophia has borne at the hands of the person who should treasure her total well being the most. It appeared to be a casual statement, but it was cruelly invalidating nevertheless. I do not believe that the ends justify the means.

    I have not read the book either, and I don’t think it would interest me very much. I have to agree to some extent with JB here.
    Encouragement is the key, not berating, belittling and name-calling. And setting high standards is most certainly very laudable and necessary..
    Another point is that not every child (indeed probably very few) have genius, or even great talent, and by that I mean in the performing arts, for example. So, if the talent isn’t there (and in the cases of say sports and dancing) the physique or skeletal build is not suitable, all the pushing and mental whipping in the world will come to naught.

    It is an enormous effort to do our very best, but if I had been one of Ms. Chua’s daughters (who must be very compliant girls) I think I would have brought down the grand piano lid hard on her head!

    Hermes

    Why is the art of music required to endure the ill-informed antics of such inartistic imbeciles as Amy Chua? Her lust for fame as an old-fashioned stage mother of either a famous violinist (yet another mechanical Sarah Chang?) or a famous pianist (yet another mechanical Lang Lang?) shines through what she perceives as devotion to the cultivation of the cultural sensitivities of her two unfortunate daughters.

    Daughter Lulu at age 7 is unable to play compound rhythms from Jacques Ibert with both hands coordinated? Leonard Bernstein couldn’t conduct this at age 50! And he isn’t the only musician of achievement with this-or-that shortcoming. We all have our closets with doors that are not always fully opened.

    And why all this Chinese obsession unthinkingly dumped on violin and piano? What do the parents with such insistence know of violin and piano repertoire? Further, what do they know of the great body of literature for flute? For French horn? For organ? For trumpet? Usually, nothing!

    For pressure-driven (not professionally-driven!) parents like Amy Chua their children, with few exceptions, will remain little more than mechanical sidebars to the core of classical music as it’s practiced by musicians with a humanistic foundation.

    Professor Chua better be socking away a hefty psychoreserve fund in preparation for the care and feeding of her two little lambs once it becomes clear to them both just how empty and ill-defined with pseudo-thorough grounding their emphasis has been on so-called achievement.

    Read more about this widespread, continuing problem in Forbidden Childhood (N.Y., 1957) by Ruth Slenczynska.
    ______________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

    Thanks for articulating the point so clearly. As a professional musician with outstanding credentials, you obviously have a better informed and nuanced point of view than I do.

    Continuing to follow the saga of what may be one of the more outrageous examples – and there are similar examples aplenty! – of the child abuses of Amy Chua, I think it timely and prudent to provide a healthy, humane counterpoint by way of a much different kind of example of adult guidance to a young stranger. To wit:

    ADVICE TO A YOUNG PERSON INTERESTED IN A CAREER IN THE LAW

    In May 1954, M. Paul Claussen, Jr, a 12-year-old boy living in Alexandria, Virginia, sent a letter to Mr Justice Felix Frankfurter in which he wrote that he was interested in “going into the law as a career” and requested advice as to “some ways to start preparing myself while still in junior high school.” This is the reply he received:

    My Dear Paul:
    No one can be a truly competent lawyer unless he is a cultivated man. If I were you I would forget about any technical preparation for the law. The best way to prepare for the law is to be a well-read person. Thus alone can one acquire the capacity to use the English language on paper and in speech and with the habits of clear thinking which only a truly liberal education can give. No less important for a lawyer is the cultivation of the imaginative faculties by reading poetry, seeing great paintings, in the original or in easily available reproductions, and listening to great music. Stock your mind with the deposit of much good reading, and widen and deepen your feelings by experiencing vicariously as much as possible the wonderful mysteries of the universe, and forget about your future career.
    With good wishes,
    Sincerely yours,
    [signed] Felix Frankfurter

    From THE LAW AS LITERATURE, ed. by Ephraim London, Simon and Schuster, 1960.
    __________________

    I knew that a Paul Claussen had been a major figure (1972-2007) in the Office of the Historian of The United States Department of State in Washington, with an abiding interest in The Great Seal of The United States. http://diplomacy.state.gov/documents/organization/101044.pdf
    An obituary of Dr Claussen is on page 47 in http://2001-2009.state.gov/documents/organization/86414.pdf
    and http://www.thefreelibrary.com/M.+Paul+Claussen,+history‘s+friend%3A+office+of+the+historian+suffers+a…-a0167843232

    So, wishing to determine whether or not the elder Claussen was, indeed, the boy writing to Justice Frankfurter in 1954 I wrote to his former colleague at State. The reply received today follows.

    —– Original Message —–
    From: PA History Mailbox
    To: ‘Andre M. Smith’
    Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 10:11 AM
    Subject: RE: Chris Morrison

    Dear Mr. Smith,

    Copied below is the response I received from one of Paul Claussen’s long-time colleagues here in the Office of the Historian.

    Yes it is. The young Paul wanted to be a lawyer and so decided to write Felix Frankfurter and ask for his advice. Frankfurter evidently was taken with his letter and wrote back at length…Frankfurter of course kept a copy and the text of the letter has been published in collections of Frankfurter’s writings.

    Please contact us of you have any additional questions.

    Best regards,
    Chris

    Christopher A. Morrison, Ph.D.
    Historian, Policy Studies Division
    U.S. Department of State
    Office of the Historian (PA/HO)
    _________________________________

    Dr Claussen did follow the advice of Justice Frankfurter. And he came out of that advice none the worse for it. The world is much bigger, richer, more tolerant, and more laden with opportunities than the blinkered view of Amy Chua would have her daughters and fellow fear-laden mothers without Ivy League tenure believe.

    For a very well-balanced alternative to the mania – and it is nothing less – to which the many Chuas of the world subscribe, read the refreshingly informed reports on http://orient.bowdoin.edu/orient/article.php?date=2009-12-04&section=3&id=2, http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/09/28/china, and http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/10/16/liberalarts
    ________________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

    I love that letter from Justice Frankfurter. Thanks so much for bringing it to our attention. The idea of the well-rounded, cultivated mind seems to have gone out of favor these days. My father-in-law — a highly successful and powerful lawyer, both on Wall Street and later as senior legal counsel for a major corporation — was one of the most fascinating, well-read, cultured men I ever knew.

    Professor Chua is a woefully ill-informed parent, one ignorant of just what is happening in some parts of education in America. Fully confident in her presumed success as a writer with an editorial staff at Penguin shadow boxing for her and unapologetically wearing her signature plastic smile for public appearances, the Lawyer Chua is trying to persuade and convince; on both counts controversially, but with enough negative reactions to cause her subsequently to attempt a dilution of the intensity in her initial self-congratulatory tirade by latterly asserting that her writing is merely one person’s experiences of some trying times in motherhood. To gain working points among the Old-Boy network, the prime lubricant of Yale, Professor Chua initially claimed that she is a Tiger Mom as Chinese maternal type; Fierce! When that showpiece veneer didn’t sit well with mothers who are the real thing, i.e., mothers from China, this faux cat altered the validity of her claim to violence by stating that she is a Tiger Mom because she was born in 1962, a Year of the Tiger. That a tenured Professor of Yale can – must? – openly justify her self-classification with superstitious underpinning should provide anyone what is needed to draw a conclusion about the level of intellect afoot in Yale Law School. Professor? Indeed!

    Any of Chua’s public statements of the purposes of her work evolve to fit the tenor of the evolving criticisms directed at it. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/10/amy-chua-tiger-mom-book-one-year-later_n_1197066.html It has passed, in her own words, from (1) practical handbook for parenting to (2) tongue-in-cheek (whatever that’s supposed to mean), to (3) memoir, (4) satire, (5) parody, (6) “a coming of age book for parents” (7) “the book is about a journey”; and who knows what else as she makes the rounds of the book circuit trying to snare yet more unsuspecting purchasers into her net. That she can, without blushing, class a single work with such a range causes me to wonder what kind of grade she got at Harvard for her command of the English language. She’s Trollope (the author), Pope (the author), The Wicked Witch in Hansel und Gretel and Gullible’s Travels all penned together into one oversized Pamper. Anyone who can’t read the monetary cynicism driving the kaleidoscope of this whole Tiger Mom scam and its spurious, unproven claimed insights into parenting, with variant latter-day reflections by the author herself, deserves to have paid full retail price for this book.

    “What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it.” http://bettymingliu.com/2011/01/parents-like-amy-chua-are-the-reason-why-asian-americans-like-me-are-in-therapy/
    Stamp collecting, fishing, lazing about on a summer day, science club, Brownie Scouting, baseball, birthday parties, church annual picnic, kite flying, visiting relatives, kissing, jumping rope, student council, insect classification . . . Away with this woman! “Fun” must be one of the more overused, misunderstood words in the American lexicon. Chinese parent = The Model Minority? In China?

    “I’m happy to be the one hated.” http://bettymingliu.com/2011/01/parents-like-amy-chua-are-the-reason-why-asian-americans-like-me-are-in-therapy/

    “If I could push a magic button and choose either happiness or success for my children, I’d choose happiness in a second. http://amychua.com/

    That’s it perfectly stated in Tigerese: Either / Or; not both. Amy Chua is a chameleonic con artist. PT. Barnum certainly was right, one “. . . born every minute!”
    ________________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

    I believe some useful purpose will be served by offering here, what the lawyers might like to call, but will seldom welcome, a healthy second opinion; a collective opinion that will demonstrate in abbreviated form the absolute folly of any attempt to teach music to children in the manner advocated by Amy Chua and her supporters.

    These titles, with a few accompanying comments, should be read only as an introduction to a vast, interesting subject. There is one observation one can make about them all, and many more on this same subject, if needed to prove the point: Their attempt at an inherent humane understanding. I shall let the individual writers speak for themselves. To wit:

    C. C. Liu [fellow at the Centre of Asian Studies, The University of Hong Kong]: A Critical History of New Music in China, Columbia University Press, 2010.
    By the end of the nineteenth century, Chinese culture had fallen into a stasis, and intellectuals began to go abroad for new ideas. What emerged was an exciting musical genre that C. C. Liu terms “new music. With no direct ties to traditional Chinese music, “new music” reflects the compositional techniques and musical idioms of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European styles. Liu traces the genesis and development of “new music” throughout the twentieth century, deftly examining the social and political forces that shaped “new music” and its uses by political activists and the government. http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-962-996-360-6/a-critical-history-of-new-music-in-china
    ___________________

    Brahmstedt’s China travels bring recognition: TTU [Tennessee Technical University] trumpet professor “Outstanding foreigner.” http://www.tntech.edu/pressreleases/brahmstedts-china-travels-bring-recognition-ttu-trumpet-professor-qoutstanding-foreignerq/
    ___________________

    Music Education in China: A look at primary school music education in China reveals numerous recent developments in general music, band and string programs, and private lessons. Music Educators Journal May 1997 83:28-52, doi:10.2307/3399021. Full Text (PDF)
    ___________________

    Howard Brahmstedt and Patricia Brahmstedt: Music education in China. Music Educators Journal 83(6):28-30, 52. May 1997.
    ___________________

    Joseph Kahn and Daniel J. Wakin: Classical music looks toward China with hope. The New York Time, 3 April 2007. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/03/arts/music/03class1.htm?pagewanted=all
    ___________________

    Ho Wai-Ching: A comparative study of music education in Shanghai and Taipei: Westernization and nationalization. A Journal of Comparative and International Education 34:2, 2004.
    ___________________

    Yuri Ishii and Mari Shiobara: Teachers’ role in the transition and transmission of culture. Journal of Education for Teaching 34(4):245-9, November 2008.
    There are some common trends, which indicate that certain values are now shared among music education policies of many Asian countries. These are an emphasis on the purpose of education as the development of children’s total human quality rather than mere transmission of skills and knowledge by rote learning, the encouragement of a learner-centered approach, the introduction of authentic assessment, the integration of existing subjects, and the assertion of cultural specificity.
    ___________________

    Chee-Hoo Lim: An historical perspective on the Chinese Americans in American music education. Research in Music Education May 2009 vol. 27 no. 2 27-37.
    ___________________

    Howard Brahmstedt: Trumpet playing in China. P. 29. International Trumpet Guild Journal, February 1993.
    ___________________

    Richard Curt Kraus: Pianos and politics in China. Middle-class ambitions and the struggle over Western music. Oxford University Press. New York, 1989.
    ___________________

    From Shanghai Conservatory to Temple University
    Yiyue Zhang holds both Bachelors and Masters in Music Education from Shanghai Conservatory of Music in China. Currently, she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Music Education at Temple University. Ms. Zhang is from a family of music. She first learned Chinese classic dance from her father at the age of 3. She then started to learn accordion at the age of 5 and piano at the age of 6. During the close to 20 years of piano training and education, she has also been learning saxophone, cello, vocal music and percussion instrument of Chinese ethnic nationalities. In addition to piano solo, Ms. Zhang has rich experiences as a piano accompanist for vocal and chorus performances. When she served as the accompanist for the female choir of Shanghai Conservatory in 2006, they participated in the Fourth World Chorus Competition and won the gold medal for female choir, silver medal for contemporary music and another silver medal for theological music. Before came the United States, Ms. Zhang taught general music at Shanghai Hongqiao Middle School and Shanghai North Fujian Rd. Primary School as her internship in 2006. From 2006 to 2008, she taught piano and music class in Shanghai Tong-de-meng Kindergarten while held Chinese Teacher Qualification Certificate. Ms. Zhang is currently the piano accompanist of Chinese Musical Voices located at Cherry Hill, NJ as well as the assistant conductor of Guanghua Chorus located at Blue Bell, PA. While holding Early Childhood Music Master Certification (Level 1) from The Gordon Institute for Music Learning, she is also actively engaged in the educational and cultural activities with the networks of local Chinese schools in the Philadelphia area. http://www.temple.edu/boyer/music/programs/musiced/MusicEducationGraduateAssistants.htm
    ___________________

    Li Ying-ling: Essential study on the function of children’s music education.
    Music education is beneficial in the comprehensive development of children’s healthy personality, helpful to enlighten the children’s creative thinking, helpful to educate the regulation senses of children, helpful to develop the children’s language and good emotion. It has certain social effect and realistic meaning for the growth of children. Every teacher should pay attention to the functional character of children music education, consciously meet the demands for music education of the children nowadays, strengthen the socialization function of music education, promote socialization proceeding of children. Music Department of Kunming University. Journal of Kunming University 2:2009.
    ___________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

    There is a recurring theme without solid core that continues to recycle on the question of Amy Chua and her style as a mother. J.G. (unfortunately anonymous, as are most of the endorsements of Professor Chua) has written

    I think it’s easy to take cheap shots at Chua, but it’s hard to argue that the average American child needs less discipline, less direction or less respect for others.

    It might seem amusing to mock her (her “cushy job” and “hottie husband”), but harder to actually consider the points being made in a non-defensive way, without trying to paint yourself as the “cool mom” who prefers three martini playdates?

    p.s. It seems ironic that an Asian-American female who went to Williams (fulfilling a fantasy of Chinese parents everywhere) would paint her parents as laissez-faire and herself as moderately motivated.
    Posted by: J.G. | January 18, 2011 at 02:31 PM http://thecareerist.typepad.com/thecareerist/2011/01/chinese-moms.html

    I, for one, have no interest whatsoever in her “cushy job” and “hottie husband.” Nor do I have any objection to her having become a millionaire from the sales of her book and that she will be well on her way to becoming a multimillionare once the planned translations of it into thirteen of the world’s languages have been completed. My uncompromising objections to Professor Chua are two-fold: her abuses of young children pursued to further her own narcissistic urgencies and her deep commitment of abuse of the art of music – of which she seemingly has no knowledge whatsoever – for reasons having nothing to do with that art. My shots at her are far from what J.G. calls “cheap shots.” They do in fact go to the heart of the problems with her that remain my chief concerns.

    J.G. and most of his fellow travelers in their tepid defenses of Professor Chua continue to focus on her inherited emphasis of the sorry state of public education in The United States. What else is new?

    As with most of the ringing endorsements of Amy Chua, those from J.G. are clearly from a mind not wholly engaged. He has written ” it’s hard to argue that the average American child needs less discipline, less direction or less respect for others. In his tangled syntax I’m quite sure he means – at least I’m hoping he means – it’s hard to argue that the average American child does not need more discipline, more direction or more respect for others.

    J.G. has written further, “p.s. It seems ironic that an Asian-American female who went to Williams (fulfilling a fantasy of Chinese parents everywhere) . . . “ Again, but this time TWO thoughts from nowhere! What has Williams College to do with Amy Chua (Harvard, A.B. ’84)? And since when has Williams even been on the “fantasy” palate “of Chinese parents everywhere?”

    Professor Chua usually receives the quality of defense she deserves.
    _______________________

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.

    André. I am so very glad, and relieved, to read your posts. You say:

    “Why is the art of music required to endure the ill-informed antics of such inartistic imbeciles as Amy Chua? Her lust for fame as an old-fashioned stage mother of either a famous violinist (yet another mechanical Sarah Chang?) or a famous pianist (yet another mechanical Lang Lang?) shines through what she perceives as devotion to the cultivation of the cultural sensitivities of her two unfortunate daughters.”

    “My uncompromising objections to Professor Chua are two-fold: her abuses of young children pursued to further her own narcissistic urgencies and her deep commitment of abuse of the art of music – of which she seemingly has no knowledge whatsoever – for reasons having nothing to do with that art”

    I am delighted that the word “ABUSE” is said out loud and clear.

    “That’s it perfectly stated in Tigerese: Either / Or; not both. Amy Chua is a chameleonic con artist. PT. Barnum certainly was right, one “. . . born every minute!”

    There you have the narcissist in a nutshell. Abusive, overbearing, self-deceiving, maybe even edging towards insane.

    Hermes

    In my opinion, for a parent to try to force a child to achieve the PARENT’s goals is disrespectful of the child’s dignity as a human being. A child is not a possession or a slave. She is a person separate from the parent; and she is entitled to freely develop, as she grows up, her own, the CHILD’s, values, ambitions and goals. If you are ambitious, don’t push another person to do what YOU want done, do it yourself, if you can. Our children are not our puppets to be bullied in the service of OUR ambitions. If a child develops an ambition to achieve something, she will be internally driven to do it without being hounded by us. We can expose her to the richness of the world’s possibilities so that she has the opportunity to find what, to HER, is worth doing. Then help her, respectfully, to form and achieve HER OWN goals, not her parents’.

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