No burning stuffed animals

Asa’s on the couch watching Sesame Street right now.  He’s got a bit of a cough, so I’m sure he needs the rest.  Right?  Surely he needs to watch Dennis Quaid doing the twist with a flock of sheep.  Amy Chua, author of the new book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother would not approve of my TV-sitter this morning.  Here’s a list of things her two daughters weren’t allowed to do growing up:

– attend a sleepover
– have a playdate
– be in a school play
– complain about not being in a school play
– watch TV or play computer games
– choose their own extracurricular activities
– get any grade less than an A
– not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama
– play any instrument other than the piano or violin
– not play the piano or violin.

The daughters are highly accomplished, of course. And Ms. Chua is a professor at Yale.  Sorry, Asa; I’m already setting you up for failure, boy.  But the dancing sheep are hysterical, aren’t they?

I do want to read the book eventually because of this excerpt:

“Chinese parents can do things that would seem unimaginable — even legally actionable — to Westerners. Chinese mothers can say to their daughters, “Hey fatty — lose some weight.” By contrast, Western parents have to tiptoe around the issue, talking in terms of “health” and never ever mentioning the f-word, and their kids still end up in therapy for eating disorders and negative self-image. … Western parents are concerned about their children’s psyches. Chinese parents aren’t. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently.”

It’s an interesting notion: assuming strength, not fragility.  No worries though, I promise not to be convinced to threaten to burn Asa’s stuffed animals if he doesn’t practice the piano four hours a day.

It’s Freetails tonight at 6:30.  Join us if you’re in San Antonio.  (We’re very easy to pick out.) Many stories will be told.  You do not have to be a runner to come; You just need a sense of humor and a high tolerance for listening to running talk.

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10 Responses to No burning stuffed animals

  1. Whoa. I’m sure there’s no one true way to do parenting, so it’s really interesting to see such a completely different book come out–culture is fascinating and strange and wonderful and bizarre.

  2. Jason says:

    Liza, your blog is great! I have been checking in since PBville this past summer. Good job there, and all your other running accomplishments (and parenting accomplishments). I am truly entertained. Thanks for pointing out the oddities of life.

  3. Olga says:

    In my culture it is, too, ok to say “stop eating like a pig or you’ll end up looking like one”, as well as push your kids into extra curriculum (and threaten them to take their toys away if the grades fall below certain point). Sadly, I live here and can’t make my son to comply with either sport I’d like him to do or friends I’d like him to choose (or even tell him he better find a job for the summer months, because I am petrified leaving him home alone, and there are no camps for a 15 year old). I do like a TV and computer babysitter though, once I had allowed it to happen:)

  4. Eric Purpus says:

    This was the first time I’d heard of Tiger Mothers and it was great fuel for some conversation between my wife and I as we were on our way to the airport with our 2 year old for a trip to Hawaii (so I could run HURT).

    Then last night, my wife started reading me this story and I thought I’d share. Love your take on running/parenting/life in this blog. Always makes me smile.

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/01/20/lac.su.tiger.mother.scars/index.html?hpt=C2

    • lizahoward says:

      Thanks for the link Eric. And how was HURT?!

      • Eric Purpus says:

        Brutal, beautiful, fun, social.. hard to put into words.

        The trails are really as-advertised. Slippery, muddy, rooty, rocky, steep. After the first loop I was really not sure I was keen having to do 4 more. As time went on though, I managed to just accept it.

        Hands down though, what makes the race (and what makes me want to come back next year) is the “Aloha” spirit. Everyone from the RDs to the volunteers to the other racers were SO nice. Ultimately it was really fun seeing the same runners over and over on the course because you could encourage each other.

        If you’re looking for very technical trails and a strong sense of comradery, it’s a great one!

      • lizahoward says:

        Sounds really great. My sister and her husband live on Oahu, so maybe they’ll let me stay a little longer after Christmas next year.

      • lizahoward says:

        And congratulations!!

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