>All I have to say is, Wow, this article is brilliant.
Of course, Americans probably will not think so. Thank God, the population of the United States is only about 5% of the world’s population, and not any more than that. That would require far too much Kool-Aid to go around, and make it far too easy to brain-wash large populations. We’ve become too soft, in many ways, as it is.
We’ve become a country of coddlers.
After World War Two, the country felt collective guilt about all the harm that had been committed against current and former generations, from a family stand-point. World War I, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and World War II left enormous psychic scars on parents and grandparents. Collectively, they were like, ‘no more,’ and sought to buffer their offspring from the Horrors of Life.
Make things easier for our Western-born children, make them feel better about themselves, they thought. Give them money if they lose their job, give them money if they have babies, give, give, give. Whatever you do, don’t tell them they are stupid, or “garbage,” don’t make them feel different, don’t make them feel bad. Give them guitar lessons, tell them to have fun. Who cares if you don’t go to college, right? Have fun! Be happy! Run! Play!
In the meantime, half-a-world-away Chinese mothers are telling their children, “you’re worthless; you are garbage.” Chinese kids bring home a B on their report card, and their families shun them, and send them out to eat snow for dinner. Not really, but Chinese parents don’t pull punches. Many of my international acquaintances have told me similar stories about growing up. Chinese Moms telling their sons, “you’re fat. How you going to get a wife like that?”
Do their parents really feel those things? No. Why do they say such things? Motivation. Encouragement. Their parents know that the world is a place where success is directly related to education. Make your life better but struggling now, cut no corners.
Does this parenting model damage a child’s self-esteem? Apparently not. When the child realizes that they can, in fact, do what their parents require – not ask, mind you – but require, not only are the parent’s satisfied and that visible satisfaction is part of the child’s reward, but, and more importantly, the child has proven to himself/herself that they were completely competent and capable.
Rather than tell their child, “honey, a C is okay, maybe next time we can do a little better,” as if we are raising a little princess or prince whose disposition is too delicate to handle the real knowledge that a C sucks, and is just another way of saying, “you’re average, you are a nameless face in the crowd,” Chinese mothers sit down with their child and drill math and music into their child’s head, in essence saying, “I will not raise my child to be a nameless face in a crowd. They will know their true power.”
Stories like this are great. Anecdotal stories of cultural differences are challenging. Highlights of cultural differences, such as this story of parenting differences between Eastern and Western cultures, provide insight as to how cultures are different, and go some distance into explaining why.