Assume with me that the goal of every good parent is to raise children to be smart, well-rounded, and who will discover and fulfill their greatest potential. most parents will agree with that statement, but when we begin to talk about how to accomplish that, the consensus generally stops. what type of parenting is most effective in achieving this goal? consider a set of articles that appeared recently in back to back weekend editions of the Wall Street Journal.
It started with an excerpt from Amy Chua’s new book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother where she describes Chinese mothers as being superior in their tactics of raising children to get straight A’s, and play the violin or piano. she didn’t allow her two daughters to attend sleepovers, watch TV or play computer games, be in school plays, choose their own extracurricular activity, not be the top student in class, and not play the piano or violin. Though she had clashes of wills with them, they learned to meet her high expectations, and her oldest teenager played the piano at Carnegie Hall. Amy’s perspective is summed up this way. Western parents try to respect their children’s individuality, encouraging them to pursue their true passions, supporting their choices, and providing positive reinforcement and a nurturing environment. by contrast, the Chinese believe that the best way to protect their children is by preparing them for the future, letting them see what they’re capable of, and arming them with skills, work habits and inner confidence that no one can ever take away.
As you can imagine, there was a firestorm of responses from readers. Ayalet Waldman provided a rebuttal the following week by saying that her four children of a Jewish mother were allowed to sleep over at friends houses, participate in and quit any extracurricular activity, play on the computer and surf the internet, and not play a musical instrument. she recounts a learning challenge that one of her daughters faced. Ayalet’s constant tutoring and practice drills only succeeded in making her daughter miserable, until they found a specialized training program and enrolled her in it. It was a grueling program for a second grader, but her daughter persevered to complete it and overcame her issue, not because of her parent’s pressure, but because she loved books and wanted to read. Ultimately Ayalet said Amy Chua and I both understand that our job as mothers is to be the type of tigress that each of our different cubs needs.
Leaders have a challenge similar to the mothers in these articles. their goal is to develop individuals into high functioning teams, leveraging their specific skills to accomplish organizational objectives. they need to identify emerging talent and develop them to take on greater responsibility becoming the leaders of tomorrow. There are probably millions of books on how to be a great leader, with an equal number of different perspectives. What’s the right approach? The answer is a combination of the organization’s culture, the leader’s personality and talents, and the individual employee’s traits and skills. And the basis of this is every good leader’s gut instinct on what’s right for their team; what works for the moment; and what motivates the group.
As a leader, are you as attentive to developing your team as you are to raising your children? Or are you as focused on motivating your children as you are on getting results out of your team? Proverbs 22:6 directs us to train our children in the way they should go, so that when they’re grown, they won’t depart from it. so be attentive as a leader to train your team based on their needs; whether your style is to be a tiger mother, to coddle them, or hopefully something in between. Ensure that they develop to their highest potential.
Copyright 2011 Priscilla Archangel, Ph.D.
Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior, by Amy Chua, Wall Street Journal, January 8-9, 2011, page C1
In Defense of the Guilty, Ambivalent, Preoccupied Western Mom, by Ayalet Waldman, Wall Street Journal, January 15-16, 2011, page C1.
Gus Chan, the Plain DealerMary Doria Russell in her writing studio in Lyndhurst, with her dachsund, Annie.
Like meteor-struck dinosaurs, the big-box store die-off accelerated through the local book ecology. a bankrupt Borders closed stores and let employees go in Solon, Strongsville, Medina, Mentor, Cuyahoga Falls, Canton, Beachwood, Westlake and Tower City in Cleveland.
But two local novelists — Mary Doria Russell in Lyndhurst and Paula McLain in Cleveland Heights — had career-making years. Russell inked a lucrative deal to bring her latest title, “Doc,” to HBO; and McLain saw “The Paris Wife,” her book channeling the first spouse of Ernest Hemingway, soar atop the New York Times best-seller list for most of 2011.
Here, in chronological order, are 10 newsworthy moments from the literary year.
1. Fighting “False Justice.” Former Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, who oversaw 35,000 active criminal and civil legal cases, left office in 2007 and made common cause with the Innocence Project, which champions people unjustly convicted. With his wife, Nancy, Petro wrote “False Justice,” a straightforward and unadorned book published in January. the Petros cover eight myths that they say regularly put the wrong people behind bars. an important contribution, from a former prosecutor, to societal skepticism about criminal justice.
2. the tiger’s roar. With “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” Yale Law School professor Amy Chua wrote the first “talker” of the year. In it, she excoriated Western child-rearing techniques and promoted the “Chinese way.” This meant that Chua’s two daughters never accepted a play-date or a sleepover invitation; never indulged in TV and computer games; and never earned anything less than an a, except in gym and drama, two classes Chua considered meaningless. the book cleverly capitalized on U.S. fears that the current century will belong to the Chinese.
3. the good wife. In February, Paula McLain became synonymous with best-sellerdom via “The Paris Wife,” her high-concept re-imagining of “A Moveable Feast” from the point of view of Hadley Richardson, Ernest Hemingway’s wife of five years. McLain knew she had crossed a threshold when an international airport customs agent recognized her from the dust jacket. “The whole thing blew my mind a long time ago,” said McLain, whose novel went back for 26 printings (and counting).
4. Cold tea. the author of the inspirational “Three Cups of Tea” found himself the subject of a damning “60 Minutes” expose. Greg Mortenson appears to have fabricated parts of his famous memoir, beginning with the opening anecdote. and his charity, the Central Asia Institute, seemed not to have built all the schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan that it claimed. This was a feel-good story that turned rancid for more than 4 million readers and donors, including President Barack Obama.
5. the right prescription. In may, Random House published Mary Doria Russell’s historical novel “Doc,” which rested on its author’s painstaking research into the life of dentist Doc Holliday, not his notoriety from the shootout at the OK Corral. It scored raves in the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor and the Plain Dealer — Russell’s best reviews since “The Sparrow.” Even sweeter, Ron Howard was signed in June to direct an HBO treatment of the book.
6. Books with batteries. Consolidating its power, Amazon announced in July that it was selling more e-books than all other formats combined. (Experts estimate that two-thirds of e-book sales are through Amazon.) But a broader figure, tabulated through October by the Association of American Publishers, showed that e-book sales had slipped since April, putting them behind hardcover trade and paperback books, and children’s hardcover books. However mixed the industry picture, analysts expect a holiday surge of downloaded books to launch the new year.
7. a mysterious triumph. Marjory Mogg, intrepid Euclid librarian and mystery lover, scored a coup by luring the next Bouchercon World Mystery Convention to downtown Cleveland, Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 4-7. big names — such as John Connolly, Mary Higgins Clark, Elizabeth George and Robin Cook — will headline the four-day extravaganza, which Mogg said took her four years of campaigning to bring here. Participants can register at bouchercon2012.com.
8. the envelope, please. the 76th Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, honoring the best books pertaining to race, singled out two particularly strong nonfiction titles: Isabel Wilkerson’s “The Warmth of Other Suns,” about the great Migration; and “Atlas of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.” the atlas represents a breakthrough in digital scholarship, into which professors David Eltis and David Richardson poured 20 years of labor. Lifetime Achievement winner John Edgar Wideman capped the gala night, reading aloud from a shivery good draft of his novel in the voice of Emmett Till’s father.
9. Losing the Lit. under financial pressure, The Lit came to an end. the only nonprofit organization in the region dedicated to the literary arts turned out its lights, after 37 years, in November. Struggling with a $25,000 debt, the board voted to turn over its collection of books to the Cuyahoga County Public Library, which agreed to continue some of the Lit’s programming. Originally called the Poets and Writers League of Greater Cleveland, the organization threw itself an Irish wake at the Barking Spider Tavern in October as a final fundraiser.
10. the “Lamb” that roared. Bonnie Nadzam, 33, who grew up partly in Cleveland Heights and partly in suburban Chicago, won the best first-novel prize from New York’s Center for Fiction, formerly the Mercantile Library. Nadzam’s book “Lamb,” which tells of a middle-aged Chicago businessman who takes an interest in an awkward 11-year-old girl, was limned with dread and is an expert look into self-delusion. It asked a lot of its readers and was roundly praised by the judges, who included the 2010 winner, Karl Marlantes.