We started this year with a very controversial parenting article published by the Wall Street Journal, and authored by Amy Chua, titled “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior“. I am sure that you’ve probably already read it, but if you haven’t I’d invite you to do so. Not because I agree with her parenting philosophy (I don’t!), but because it’s thought-provoking and forces you to think about what you want and don’t want to do as a parent, what your goals and dreams for your children are, and how your parenting decisions affect your children’s lives.
There’s been a myriad of responses to this polemic article around the world. I also thought about writing a long response to it; not only sharing my opinion on the subject, but also bringing up numerous studies that prove that such an extreme, strict and harsh approach to parenting is extremely risky, as it generally doesn’t ‘produce’ happier, more accomplished children (especially when they live in a country like this, with a more progressive culture).
However I stopped and thought about Amy Chua’s children, who don’t deserve to be in the center of this diatribe, witnessing their mom being criticized day in and day out. I also thought about Amy Chua. I am sure she means well, I’m sure she loves her daughters to death; and I’m sure that in her mind she’s doing what’s best for her children. I beg to differ completely with her approach, but I don’t think she’s ill intentioned.
I would only share with Ms. Chua, one of my favorite and recent quotes from Maya Angelou about what love is all about:
“I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates. Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold—that’s ego. Love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says, ‘I love you. I love you if you’re in China. I love you if you’re across town. I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you. I’d like to have your arms around me. I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now, so I love you. Go.'”
All this public dialogue about parenting and numerous conversations with my clients, inspired me to start a new moment, a new project for myself, that I would love to share with you. This project is a journey to become the best parents we can be …
“The Smooth Parenting Project”
My goal is that by the of this year, we will be closer to that vision we had for ourselves as parents; that our journey raising children is a happy, fulfilling, peaceful, positive and smooth one; and that our children grow up to be amazing, happy, exemplary adults. I will share more with you about this project really soon. Until then, I leave you with this…
“My father didn’t tell me how to live, he lived, and let me watch him do it.”
– Clarence Budinton Kelland