Amy Chua’s article “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” in the Wall Street Journal has erupted a firestorm of dialogue about cultural parenting strategies. In her article, Chua makes the argument that the tough, no-nonsense parenting of Chinese parents is far superior to the laissez-faire, self-esteem focus of American parents.
Chua admits to generalizing Eastern and Western parenting styles to prove her point. The point at which I disagree with Chua is not these generalizations, but the assumptions she has about success. How do we define success for our children? Chua seems to define success as A’s in school and confidence. What happens when our children don’t succeed in school? Is our love for our children conditional on their success in school?
Confidence is a good thing but is it the ultimate trait we want to see in our children? As a follower of Christ, my hope is that my daughters will find their confidence in God, not in their own abilities. I don’t want them to give into the Disney lie that they can achieve anything they believe. I do want them to understand that their gifts and abilities are God given and all the glory goes to God.
I want my daughters to experience grace from my wife and me. The same grace that God shows us. His love isn’t based on what I do or my success. He loves me because I am his child. God loves me even when I willfully go against his desires. His love is unconditional.
So I don’t want to follow the Chinese paradigm for parenting or the American version. I want to pursue parenting my children as God the Father loves me.