William D. Hedges: Now it's the Tiger Mother binge
Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 10:31 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 10:31 a.m.
Here we go again. Parents in the U.S. like to go on binges. In the 1920s every element of child rearing had to be timed to the second, as in feeding, etc. This was followed by the permissive era. And so on. Currently, we are about to enter the Tiger Mother era. It too will fail.
Boiled to the essence, the Tiger Mother approach means your childhood is spent being hounded to be number one and, when you are an adult, you spend the rest of it doing the hounding. Is it worth it? I don't think so. Why?
From a statistical point of view it is impossible for everyone to be number one. There must be many 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s. So what about them? I will tell you. Most of them will spend the rest of their lives emotionally considering themselves failures. After all, they did not measure up; they failed their parents. Should a society consign the vast majority of its citizens to consider themselves failures? I don't think so.
My wife and I raised two sons. Our basic goals, which we communicated to them were that they grow up (1) to be honest, (2) to choose a job in life they would enjoy, (3) to work hard and do an honest days work, but not be a zealot, (4) to continue to learn through out life. and, above all, (5) to do no harm to others. We thought that to set a goal for them to be better than anyone else was not only a shallow goal, but one that would condemn either them or others to a life of misery.
William D. Hedges,