Christine O wrote:
You know how the Asian kids especially the Chinese ones are always at the top of the class and then statistically over represented in business and the professions? Well a Chinese mother, marrried to a westerner has revealed some secrets of their success. No playdates, no TV, no computer games, and hours of music practise, is just part of it.
Of course her advice cuts right across the well established PC practises currently demonstrated in our schools and child care facilities, which is to treat children like delicate little hot house flowers. . . .
I dunno, Christine. If this woman limits her children’s social contact with other children, and requires them instead to engage in “hours of music practice”, that’s pretty much the definition of hothousing, isn’t it? She sounds to me as if she’s forcing them like asparagus under glass, to be honest.
The attitude betrayed in the article appals me. What is the reason for this single-minded focus on academic success, regardless of the child’s aptitudes, talents or abilities? So that the child can get a high-paying, high-status job? The author of this article seems to have bought hook, line and sinker into a shallow materialist worldview. If there is any evidence that material wealth and high social status is a good indicator of happiness, wholeness or the ability to form strong loving relationships, now would be a really good time to point to it.
And what price is paid for this? Kids should be taught that it is not acceptable not to be the no. 1 student in any subject (except, for some reason, gym and drama), so that 29 out of 30 kids in the class are to be taught that they can never meet their parents expectations? Kids are taught that they must play piano and violin (and, bizarrely, no other instrument – what’s that about?) and practice it for up to three hours a day, regardless of whether they actually have any talent? Children seem to be required to excel in an apparently ramdom assemblage of activities, and forbidden to engage in others, and I can’t see that this serves any purpose except to undermine the children, teach them that their own wishes, tastes and talents are of no importance, and provide their parents with an opportunity for bullying them.
For my daughter, I want the things that matter in life, like health, happiness, love, friendship and emotional integrity. If she has those as an adult, then I the question of whether she works as a brain surgeon or a beautician is really of very secondary importance.