the Tiger Mom talks

I saw Amy Chua, the Tiger Mom, last night at the 92nd Street Y. Actually, I ran into her on my way to the bathroom, before her talk started. I wasn’t positive it was her, but I had a feeling. She was wearing a hot pink dress under a fitted leather jacket. Her hair was perfect. I looked at her and she looked at me, as though she was waiting for me to say something (like “Oh my god, I LOVED your book!” or “It’s women like you who are ruining this country.”), but I didn’t, and we awkwardly squeezed by each other in the narrow hall. The sleeve of her jacket brushed my arm.

Like a lot of people, I didn’t read the book, I read the Wall St Journal excerpt. Like a lot of people, I joined in conversations about parenting styles and whether “eastern” or “western” parenting is better, and how much tiger is too much. Everyone was shocked by her. Everyone was horrified. “This is why kids kill themselves,” people said. “Because there’s so much pressure to succeed.” “Her daughters will have eating disorders,” people said. Everyone was defensive.

In her talk, Amy Chua was funny and a little overeager. She kept starting thoughts and switching over to something else, so that her sentences tumbled together, breaking off and beginning again in crisscrossing excitement. She had so much correcting to do. The book was supposed to be funny. It was supposed to be a confession. She was shocked by the response. She would much rather her children were happy than successful– what parent wouldn’t? And can we not call certain things success? How about we just say “overcoming challenges,” because that’s what makes life fulfilling. The book, she said, was a celebration of rebellion, not conformity. Her youngest daughter rebelled, and she was forced to reexamine the parenting style she’d adopted from her incredibly hardworking, poor immigrant parents. But she did reexamine, and she changed.

The Tiger Mom came off as earnest, humble, and extremely loving. Not at all the way she’s been described. She came off just like most of the parents I know and have known, growing up. She was just trying to figure out what was best for her kids.

If this is the Tiger Mom, then where are the real tiger moms?

 

Chua explained that her parenting is based on a fundamental belief in her children’s abilities. She thinks they really can do anything. She also described herself as “hands-off.” She thinks there is too much “helicopter parenting” happening around these parts. Don’t do your kids’ homework for them. They can handle it. Teach them that they’re smart enough to figure things out on their own.

There wasn’t too much East vs. West in what Amy Chua had to say, but at some point the woman who was interviewing her (who could barely get a word in) said something along the lines of, “But what if your child is not musically inclined? What if they aren’t above average academically? What if that’s not their talent?”

And Chua said that in China, she hasn’t seen this idea, of talent. This idea that your kid has a talent that needs to be discovered doesn’t exist. Everything is about hard work.

I’m not sure I believe that everyone in China would reject the concept of natural talent, but I really like placing the emphasis on work instead.

Seeing the Tiger Mom in person made me angry. Why was this even a thing? Why were we so worked up? Why does everyone think they know what’s best when really everyone is just trying to figure things out?

I think that maybe my mom was a tiger mom, in many ways. She was pretty strict. Laziness wasn’t acceptable. Quitting was a very bad idea. We practiced our instruments every day. She thought we were capable of greatness, and it was clear that we should aspire to do bigger and better things. When we did those things, she was incredibly proud, but that didn’t mean that we got to stop for a second. My mom had a lot of rules. We definitely weren’t allowed to stay out late. Or watch TV. Or see movies with a PG 13 rating or above for the LONGEST time. We didn’t bring “store bought” food into the house. We ate organic and drank water. Our time on the computer was limited.

I also had a ton of freedom. I was in charge of a lot of my education. I chose how to spend a lot of my time. I had to be productive, but I loved to be productive, so it wasn’t an issue.

I didn’t go to school until college. Sometimes I describe my education as “unschooling” because so much of it was up to me. And yet my mom was strict and organized and fond of the phrase, “Because I said no.”

My upbringing sometimes sounds like a contradiction of terms. How can these things go together? Isn’t it either a super chill homeschooling mom or a ferocious high-powered mom who makes her kids take six APs a semester? Isn’t it either a lax western mom or a tough eastern mom? Isn’t it either a homeschooling mom who teaches her kids every single subject, at a blackboard in the living room, just like a school teacher, or an unschooling mom who smiles munificently from her watercolor pad as her children play in the woods all day, every day, discovering themselves without the repressive constraints of normative education? Mean or nice? School or no rules? Strict or loving?

THESE ARE NOT DICHOTOMIES. I am so sick of people trying to divide everything in the world up into neat categories.

Sometimes my mom drove me crazy, but I knew how much she loved me, all the time. And I loved her.  My mom was brave. She was trying to figure it out. She was trying to find the right balance.

When I’m a mom, I’ll be trying to find the right balance, too. I’m trying to find the right balance right now, with my work, with my friendships, with my happiness/sadness, with being a wife, with life, in general.

We want so, so badly to simplify. You’re either fat or you’re pretty. You’re either a prude or a slut. You have a college degree or you’re stupid. You’re ambitious or you’re a stay-at-home mom. You’re pretty or you’re too old.

ENOUGH ALREADY.

If we can stop, for just a moment, being so defensive, so anxious, so afraid that maybe someone is doing it better, so afraid that someone else’s experience is somehow negating our own, then maybe we can learn something from that someone. Maybe they have something interesting to say. Maybe I shouldn’t have told Marius that he was naturally talented– maybe I should’ve told him that when he works hard, he’ll always get ahead. Maybe I should have told him that hard work is satisfying, no matter where it takes you. Maybe I should have told him that he has what it takes– he doesn’t have to be special. Specialness is beside the point. He just has to be himself, and be willing to challenge himself.

I think that structure is important. And structure requires rules. I think that freedom is important, and freedom requires space. I think that finding a way to integrate both of these things into your life and the lives of your children is an enormous challenge. Everyone handles it a little differently. Some people really mess it up, but I’d guess that most people are trying their best. The Tiger Mom is trying her best, my mom tried her best.

Let’s talk about that for a couple minutes. We might learn something. We might notice that all of this is really just about love and fear.

Seriously.

Isn’t that weird?

Maybe not.

(source)

*  * *

What kind of mom do/did you have? Do you think hard work should be emphasized over talent?

Unroast: Today I love the way my hair looks when its curl comes back (it’s long enough again now)

A version of this piece appears in the Huffington Post here.

35 Comments »

Kate on January 30th 2012 in family, homeschooling, life

35 Responses to “the Tiger Mom talks”

  1. Melanie responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more with this post. Some day I am going to disagree with you, I swear! :)

    I grew up in a family where we could watch a limited amount of television. There were no phones in our rooms, and boys were most certainly not allowed upstairs. I had a midnight curfew in high school and my stepdad was a tiger dad. My mom was more a negative re-enforcement mom, which I would not recommend to anyone. If you did something good, there were crickets. But if you did something bad the wrath of the almighty would rain down on you. Something bad might be getting a C.

    There is no black or white. People need to worry about what works for them, not what other parents (or people in general) are doing. I think if that happened, the world would be a much nicer place.

  2. Kate responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    @Melanie
    And when that day comes, I will try to accept that we can disagree and still care about each other :p

    I like that you mention your stepdad. Dads are not coming into this conversation NEARLY enough. I should’ve thought of that before!

  3. Samantha Angela responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    My mom was a Tiger Mom in a lot of ways too. Emphasis wasn’t only on hard work, but getting results. As a kid she would quiz me before a big test and if I wasn’t getting absolutely everything right I’d have to go back and study more. “You can do better. This isn’t good enough.” She would say.
    If I came home with anything less than perfect on a test, say 95% for example, she would ask me what happened to that 5% rather than congratulate me for the 95% that I got right.

    Nowadays I push myself really hard and I usually don’t quit something that I’ve started. Even when I feel like I’m ‘slacking off’ I know in the back of my head that I’m doing more than most people would be if they claimed they were ‘slacking off’.

    I was sometimes stressed as a kid but I was never even close to suicidal. I was happy and loved.

  4. Marina responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    This is the first thing I’ve read about the Tiger Mom that actually makes me want to read the book.

  5. Kate responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    @Samantha Angela
    I also work hard at things and don’t quit. Sometimes this makes my life more difficult. Often, it’s really rewarding.

    One of the things Amy Chua said was that it’s all about context– kids can tell when their parents really love them. So if your parent is pushing you to try harder, but they’re doing it because they know you’ll feel great once you get there, that’s obviously different than your parent pushing you because they’re a really mean, cruel, uncaring person who wants you to suffer.

    (Not that it’s even totally this simple, but I agree that context is SO important)

  6. Kate responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    @Marina
    Maybe we should both read it! :-)

  7. Sarah Rooftops responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    This was such an interesting read. I don’t know the background story (maybe Tiger Mom wasn’t a thing in the UK?) but I’ve seen similar responses to snippets from other parenting books; we can be so quick to judge anything which doesn’t seem to match up with our own experiences and I loved your emphasis on all parents really just trying to figure it out as they go along.

  8. evadestruktion responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    On the subject of talent, this reminds me of a blog I read the other day about whether or not “talent” actually exists http://stelladuffy.wordpress.com/2009/06/01/i-dont-believe-in-talent/

  9. poet responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    I read about a study that says children feel more confident and challenge themselves with harder intellectual tasks (and maybe even perform better? I don’t exactly remember that part) if one suggests to them that good intellectual performances they’ve shown in the past was due to their diligence or work ethics than if one suggests to them that it was due to their talent – because working hard is something they feel they can control, whereas talent is unchangeable and difficult to gauge (in fact, the easier things are for you, the more difficult!). I know that this was my feeling as the perpetual “smart girl” in high school – I kept waiting for the grade level, or the task, that would finally be “too much” for my talent (which never happened up to now). I’m sorry I can’t link to the study, I bookmarked it somewhere but I can’t find it right now! I also found that the “Tiger Mom” excerpt that went through the press was pretty harsh out of context, but I’m willing to believe that the book as a whole gives a much more balanced message…

  10. Elena responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    I totally agree that hard work and, I would say, curiosity are the best tools for achieving anything in this life. I don’t remember my mum being a tiger mum, she was more about explaining. She talked to me for hours since I was small, she always explained everything, why it was better to do one thing or another. She told stories of real people she knew and how they got where they are. She always though organization and structure were important and she did not only provide them for us, but also taught us how to build it up ourselves.

    And I think that is precisely the role of parents, that’s parenting: teaching your children how to build up a life, whether it is in the academic field or just running the house (cleaning, cooking, etc); showing them that every activity in your life has its moment, that you should work and be productive an creative, that it feels good, etc. : )

    I hope if I ever become a mum I can do that!!

  11. Kate responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    @evadestruktion
    Thanks for sharing! I like the idea that if no one is talented, we’re all special. But actually, I don’t think it has to be no talent or tons of talent- just like I don’t like those other dichotomies. Dichotomies are fun because they make everything an argument, and people like to argue. But how about there’s talent, but hard work is just as important, if not more so?

  12. Kate responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    @poet
    I’ve read about this stuff, too! Really, really interesting. I believe it. I’ve seen people who are very, very good at something be terrified of failing.

    Also, I agree about the excerpt! It was very harsh.

  13. San D responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    Over the years I have met my share of “Tiger Moms and Dads”, and I have met my share of their cubs. Some cubs survive quite well, and others came back years after graduating to find me and say “whew, I am finally able to do what I want” (as compared to what their parents pushed them to do). For example, a young man who was accepted into Brown University for premed (his parents’ dream) is now teaching physics in a private school, and knits on weekends, two things that I am sure gave his parents a slight heart attack. I once had a kid do a self portrait. In the painting his hands were prominent and he was taking a test. His writing hand had 6 fingers. I asked him why. He said “since I am Vietnamese it is expected of me that I will score higher and be better, but I am only average, so I need more fingers to do the job that is expected of me”. I used to worry when I saw stressed kids doing their parents’ dreams, when there was no joy or passion in the learning, when the curiousity was for other things on the “not approved list”.(ie. knitting for example). I also have an ex student who is a children’s book illustrator and professional storyteller/teacher. His father and I had to have a serious conversation at college choosing time. He wanted his son to become a doctor or at the very least a medical illustrator. I told him his son would die. To this day his father, when I see him, thanks me for the conversation because he sees how happy his son is and how fullfilled his OWN dreams make him.

  14. Kate responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    @San D
    I’m glad you brought this up. I think pushing your kids and pushing them in a very specific direction are different. Pushing them to be a doctor and only a doctor? Hmm…Sounds like it might be dangerous. Pushing them to pursue storytelling to the next level when they love it but are too shy or too inexperienced to try? That might be awesome. Maybe
    “pushing” is just a bad word, though. I’m not sure.

    As a teacher, would you say you had to “push” kids? How would you describe the way you motivated and challenged students?

  15. Kathleen responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    I loved this book… As a teacher and a parent. I teach suzuki style violin, and middle school orchestra. Too many times I hear parents say that their child is dropping out of orchestra because “they just don’t have the talent” (i dont have this problem with suzuki kids, just middle school kids). I haven’t had a truely talented student yet- just kids who work hard. When I do run across the rare kid with some natural talent, they all too often quit when their talent ends and they have to work at it. The kids that are the “best” are just hard workers! I love parents who think their kid can do anything with the right encouragement… It’s a great way to show kids how much you love them.

  16. katilda responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    ooh have you heard of the woman who wrote the “opposite of a tiger mother”? i blogged about her — i linked to an article about her in the piece i wrote: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katie-hawkes/when-mothers-quit_b_832452.html

  17. Beauzeaux responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    Talent, shmalent.
    Anyone can be reasonably good at anything. Virtually every job in the world can be learned from scratch in three months.

    If I put in 10,000 hours of practice (see “Outliers”) I’d be a very good pianist. The person with talent will be better than I — but he/she will still have to put in the 10,000 hours of practice. Talent is NOT enough.

    It’s like the old joke: “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” “Practice, man, practice.”

  18. San D responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    @Kate
    The best motivator is self motivation. My way of teaching was for each student to realize their potential and to set their goals to go beyond that. They saw how I believed they could do it, and I acted as a facilitator to make sure their goals met the destination. They would hear me say 1,000 times a day “don’t do it for me, I already know how to do it”. All of their decisions were based on the assignment at hand, the feedback from their peers (on going and “taught how to” by me), their self evaluation (on going and “taught how to” by me), and their curiousity and passion. As the facilitator to their learning, I helped with guiding them to the facts and skills they needed to reach their goal. Not to get mired in the minutia but my students always “declared their intent”, and would stand up to tell the class that, and we all helped them make their goals along the way with peer critiques.

  19. Deanna responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    I wish in many ways my mom had been a tiger mom. She had low expectations cor me and my sister and was uncomfortable admitting that we may be good at something. When I wanted to study dance she said I’d probably be bad at it. When I got into an Ivy league school she said they couldn’t afford it. When my daughter got into a very good college my mom critiqued me for spending so much. I love my mom dearly and all in all she was a good mom, but I leaned how not to be from her. It’s a competitive world out there and you need to be prepared. Hard work, practice, leaning new skills….all are important for success.

  20. Anne responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    The Tiger Mom stuff has been bringing up a lot of strong feelings for me. My partner had a traditional Chinese upbringing and it was definitely not good for his pysche- as an adult he has terrible self esteem and we have relationship problems because he can never be satisfied with himself unless he is perfect- and who is perfect all the time? I think he is an awesome guy and he’s had a lot of accomplishments, but I have never heard anything but criticism about him from his family (as a bonus, they criticize me too, which is fun).
    I totally agree with pushing kids, setting up rules, and making them do their own schoolwork, but if done properly it doesn’t have to come at a cost of the child’s self esteem. Children need to understand that they cannot always expect perfection from themselves or from others, and it is okay to fail sometimes.

  21. Lynellekw responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    My mother pushed me very hard in some areas, and hardly at all in others. When I got a B in English, there was disappointment and parent-teacher meetings. When I got an E in Maths, there was a shoulder-shrug. The following year we moved to a different school & I repeated the year (I’d been put ahead a year as a youngster due to superior reading skills). My Maths improved, but my mother fretted that she should have made the school put me in English classes with the next year up. I took piano lessons, tennis lessons, was coached at home in singing. We were allowed one hour of computer games each, on the weekends only. No TV on school days. We were rarely left with baby-sitters. I spent the weekends climbing trees, rolling down sand-dunes, or making things (mostly a mess, if I’m honest). We went fishing and snorkeling and swimming. My mum was the same sort of mix of Tiger & laid-back – but what was clear was that she expected me to be good at the things I had an affinity for.

  22. craftosaurus responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    1. I agree, dichotomies are unhelpful. Almost everything is a continuum.

    2. If I’m ever a parent, I intend to praise hard work over natural ability, because the former will be useful in almost every endeavor.

    3. Unrelated to the above: I totally had an “unroast” moment yesterday. Seriously. And I thought of your blog. You’re doing good work here.

  23. Spelling responded on 30 Jan 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    Thank you for your lecture about how people should shut up and stop categorizing everything. Refreshing.

    I think we do need to push our kids harder. Not to the point where it’s unhealthy, obviously, but to the point where they’re doing their best, and help them see that they don’t have to be as good as…. or get the perfect score. If they try, they can and will succeed!

    (Not to dis any teachers out there, but I think this is a problem with the public education system today… a one-size-fits-all education doesn’t help anyone, and here-do-this-totally-unchallenging-worksheet doesn’t do anything.)

    Also, coming from a person who was homeschooled: Homeschooling moms are the best!

  24. Kate responded on 31 Jan 2012 at 12:50 am #

    @Anne
    Agreed. I think failure is incredibly important. When you’re not allowed to fail, you’re always so scared. I think kids should learn that they should fail all the time– because they should be focusing on doing better/ learning more, rather than failing less. I think sometimes it’s hard to strike that balance. Sometimes I’m terrified of failure. But ultimately, I know that my parents will love me no matter what. And that is really, really important.

    Anyway, I’m sorry that your husband struggles with this, and that you also have to deal with it. I wish there was some easy solution. I wish his parents would realize that they need to be more caring!

  25. Kate responded on 31 Jan 2012 at 12:51 am #

    @craftosaurus
    Thank you!! Hooray for unroast moments!

  26. Claire Allison responded on 31 Jan 2012 at 1:32 am #

    My mother was the working parent and my father the stay at home in my childhood. It was a bit weird, since we were the only people like that, and it definetly made her more hands-off. I think though, what people sometimes forget or overlook, is that once an adult’s work situation changes, her relationship to her children can and will change too. That is good and normal. Now that she’s retired she bakes, cooks and spends a lot of time trying to see to our emotional needs, despite me being far away and my sister out of the house. Her parenting hasn’t stopped just because we’re 26 and 29- and strangely I think it’s morphed into a more conventional motherhood, that really, she wouldn’t have been happy to do when we were tots. Don’t get me wrong, she still baked and cooked and did a lot of mom things when we were little and she was working, but she wasn’t the primary caregiver. She didn’t want to spend her thirties and forties consumed in motherhood, and she never would have been happy with that as her sole identity. I worry that when someone commits to primary caregiving there’s this ridiculous assumption that it should be their only identity- and that more than tiger moming is a scary notion. Now that we don’t need a primary caregiver, as adults, there’s more room for us to just focus on caring in a reciprocal way. Like you said, Kate, it’s not a dichotomy, and I think it’s good to focus on teaching children to care for their parents as well as parents caring for them, in a responsible age-appropriate way. You don’t do the dishes because the kitchen is messy- you do them cause mom or dad had a hard day at work and they need a break.

    My dad on the other hand works now, and he gets taken care of in a way that he didn’t have when we were growing up and she was at work. In a lot of ways we all have to sort of help take care of him a bit more since he was so focused on us in our youth. It’s not like it’s payback, but it is important for me, and my relationship with him, to be more about being adults who like similar things and can be candid and open, then to be father-daughter like. Thus we curse at each other a lot, and when mom insists he hug me at the airport it is so very, very strange.

  27. Tiptoe responded on 31 Jan 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Great blog!!

    This book has been on my reading list for awhile, especially after the original Wall St. post came out about it. I followed it for quite awhile and gathered the same thinking you did when you saw her in person. I really think a lot of it depends on the child and their personality.

    For me, the whole expectations issue of parents has been hard. I’m Asian but was adopted. My mother was not a tiger mom in the least, but my father was with expectations. It didn’t help in that I was already a perfectionist and worked really hard. But many times, I never felt like my hard work really paid off as I always knew kids who hardly studied for something and then aced the test where I got a B. I began to become a bit disillusioned at the hard work concept though I still am by nature.

    As for my father, he always wanted to instill in me that I could do anything I wanted, but truly, it was me who realized I really couldn’t. It took a long time for him to realize that I was not going to med school, that I had a fear of taking a GRE test, and that my life path would not match the one he had dreamed of for me. So instead, what did I become if it was not a doctor, psychiatrist, lawyer, judge, etc.? I became a professional dog trainer. It is certainly not the money making profession a doctor would be (I sill love medicine in general but do not want to go back to school for it), but I am happy (will be moreso when my business truly gets going–only off the ground for 3 months). And in the end, he couldn’t be happier for me, though he still occasionally throws in the “so have you finished those med school applications yet?” I see it as a joke now but it took me a long time to get to that point.

  28. Tiptoe responded on 31 Jan 2012 at 10:36 am #

    I should also add that later I did develop low self-esteem, depression, eating disorder, etc. I don’t blame my parents in the least, but I do know with my probable genetics (unknown) and the environment I lived in, played a role. That took me years to get past that, feel like
    I was in actual recovery, etc.

    Eventually, all kids have to be able to stand on their two feet. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way of parenting, but like I said above, taking into account a child’s personality I think is significant. I believe in structure, rules, trying to be your best, etc., I think in my work with dogs, I’ve learned quite a lot about the positive reinforcement model of training. This isn’t only for animals but relates to humans as well. It’s something we don’t do enough of in general. I was a bit odd in that I was lavished with R+, but in the end, I just never believed it, because I didn’t really believe in myself enough. But the majority of the time, I think it is the former. Anyway, just going off on a tangent now.

  29. melissa responded on 31 Jan 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    ooh I also don’t believe in “natural talent”. To suggest so is to undermine all of the work that a person does for their craft. I remember in high school when I just happened to be better at drawing than other kids (doesn’t mean “great”, though lol), I used to get a lot of whiny comments about how they wish they could do it and that it wasn’t fair they weren’t able to.

    Not fair?

    Not fair that I’d done all of the assignments they’d skipped, paid attention in class, practiced endlessly outside of class and did all of my homework?

    People look at skills and assume they can’t do it because they’re thirty and they haven’t magically been able to do it yet so it must not be something they were “meant” to do. What hogwash. I honestly find it kind of offensive when people think I was just gifted with it.

    Like how it would be offensive if I landed an awesome job and someone said to me “oh, that isn’t fair, they probably hired you because you’re an easy lay” or something. Pretty much the same thing.

    Anyway, I can’t really comment on my upbringing or anything… but I thought the tiger mom book was written as a satire? And just that no one got it? And that people are raging about nothing?

  30. dustwindbun responded on 31 Jan 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    Ugh, I cringe to think of any parent putting their child through what I put myself through as a child. Somehow (even though it wasn’t true) I convinced myself that my parents required me to be perfect, like the tiger mother stereotype.
    I suppose it didn’t help that that 95%/5% thing someone mentioned above, I had other students do that to me. (Had a dude once tell me that clearly he was smarter than me because he got right the one question i missed on a test – and he’d failed otherwise. Kids are dicks.)
    My main issue with the “hard work is more important than talent” thing is that for me, when I failed at something, that meant I wasn’t good enough, that I was worthless, because if it were just hard work, shouldn’t anyone be able to do it? what was wrong with me? if it was just talent, well then i couldn’t be blamed for not having it. it didn’t make me as worthless to have failed without talent then.
    I guess it comes down to, you have to be extra careful with kids with mental-health issues; I didn’t find out what was wrong with me (ADHD/depression/obsessive) until I’d beaten myself up so much mentally that I eventually started hallucinating from the neurochemical strain and almost got diagnosed schizophrenic.
    argh, got carried away making it all about me. but yes, if your kid be crazy, there’s really no way to be the right kind of parent (my parents are great). you just have to adapt to your specific child.

    so glad I’m not having kids. I would break them.

  31. Eat the Damn Cake » how important is romance? responded on 31 Jan 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    [...] But neither of us is very romantic. Love is easy. Romance seems harder. Or am I doing that dichotomy thing I said was a bad idea in the last post? [...]

  32. Mandy responded on 31 Jan 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    I discovered, when I was in my thirties, that it’s the people who are not naturally talented at something, but work really hard at it until they “get” it who are my heros.
    Like the very stiff, not terribly coordinated lady, who started martial arts training in her fifties. At first, she could barely crouch low enough to do a forward roll. It was painful to watch. But she was determined, and kept working at it until she earned her black belt. I’m in awe of her.

  33. Kate responded on 31 Jan 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    @Mandy
    I’m in awe of her, too! I feel lazy.

  34. Jiminy responded on 01 Feb 2012 at 10:31 am #

    I hope there will be many of you in the world in which my kids are growing up. People who see the shades and give others credit for trying.

  35. Eat the Damn Cake » I want a ceasefire in the mommy wars responded on 11 May 2012 at 11:58 am #

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