I don't think we're done hearing about Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. (Click to hear about it on NPR.) At least I know I'm not done thinking about Tiger Mothers. Last week, most of the buzz focused on Amy Chua's methods for forcing success, but then I found this article that gets personal. Did you know that Chinese kids, in addition to making superior music at young ages, are also kicking our collective booties at math? I was pretty certain they were kicking mind, but my kids too? It kind of makes you wonder. I'm not sure if I should make the kids stand on hot coals and recite algebraic formulas while practicing Bach concertos on their violins, or if I should just let them take the day off to roller skate and eat hot fudge sundaes. What is best? Again, it's probably somewhere right down the middle. (Minus the hot coals, of course.) In my self-evaluation I've learned a few things.
Here is how I'm like a Tiger Mother.
My kids practice their violin for one hour on school days and sometimes more if they are getting ready for a performance. They also practice piano 1/2 hour daily.
School work is a firmly mandated affair. Even though I homeschool, I am demanding and regimented about schoolwork.
There are no sleepovers with friends.
I sometimes yell. I'd rather use a pleasant euphemism like "raise my voice," but the truth is I sometimes yell.
Here is how I am not like a Tiger Mother.
I accompany them on the piano while they play their violin. I tell them what a good job they are doing, not to tease them into greater heights of achievement, but mostly because I honestly believe they are doing very good work. I teach them piano and for the most part I am doing a very mediocre job.
Sometimes we take trips on schooldays. Sometimes we bring our homework on airplanes and sometimes we don't. I don't worry about it when we travel. Sometimes when we have family visiting from out of town, we only do a half day of school.
We have sleepover with cousins.
I don't yell very often, but even once is too much. But here's what make me very Western: I feel terrible afterwards. Do Tiger Mothers experience guilt? Because I sure do. Doggone it kids, make sure you listen the first time.
How are you like and unlike a Tiger Mother? Leave me a confessional comment. I won't judge.
All of this Chinese mothering has made me very hungry for Chinese food. Do you think there has been a run on Chinese take-out with all of this Chinese mothering buzz? I bet. Here's a recipe that introduces big Asian flavors to Western convenience: Slow Cooker Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Chicken is slow simmered in the crockpot in ginger, garlic, and soy until it is fall-apart tender. The chicken is then spooned into crisp lettuce leaves with brown rice, carrots, cilantro and chili garlic sauce. It's cheap and easy and delicious and my family loves it for dinner. At least this Western mother is getting one thing right.Slow Cooker Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Estimated Cost: $6.00 for 4 servings
1 pound boneless chicken
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce (Available in Asian Foods section)
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
lettuce leaves (I like red leaf)
cooked brown rice
thinly sliced carrots or radishes
sliced green onions
Place chicken, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce, and ginger in the crock pot. Cook chicken on high for 3-4 hours or on low for six hours. Shred with a fork and serve in lettuce leaves with rice, carrots, cilantro, onions and chili garlic sauce.