Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In Defense of the Guilty, Ambivalent, Preoccupied Western Mom

Author Ayelet Waldman with a hilarious response to Chua in the WSJ:

Here are some of the things that my four children of a Jewish mother were always allowed to do:

• Quit the piano and the violin, especially if their defeatist attitude coincided with a recital, thus saving me from the torture of listening to other people's precious children soldier through hackneyed pieces of the juvenile repertoire, plink after ever more unbearable plonk.

• Sleep over at their friends' houses, especially on New Year's Eve or our anniversary, thus saving us the cost of a babysitter.

• Play on the computer and surf the Internet, so long as they paid for their Neopet Usuki dolls and World of Warcraft abomination cleavers out of their own allowances.

• Participate in any extracurricular activity they wanted, so long as I was never required to drive farther than 10 minutes to get them there, or to sit on a field in a folding chair in anything but the balmiest weather for any longer than 60 minutes.

• Quit said extracurricular activities, especially if their quitting coincided with league finals that might have demanded participation on my part exceeding the requirements stated above.

In the days since this newspaper published Amy Chua's simultaneously entertaining and infuriating excerpt from her new book, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," my two elder children, 16 and 13, have devoted a remarkable amount of time to raging against the essay and crafting compelling and bombastic rebuttals to be delivered to Ms. Chua herself, should they ever encounter her.


In Defense of the Guilty, Ambivalent, Preoccupied Western Mom

Ayelet Waldman on the virtues of letting kids quit, have sleepovers and find their own way.



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