I haven't read Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom. Just the excerpt in the Wall Street Journal. But I got to thinking, what kind of parents did I have? My mom was pretty much out of the picture, so what kind of dad did I have? He certainly was not a Tiger Father.
My dad did not sit with me and drill me on math. He did not make me practice the piano or the violin. I never had to learn tennis. I don't think he even owns a tennis racket. He never asked me if I did my homework, or even if I had homework. I had no curfew. I consistently came home well past midnight on Fridays. I never had any lessons. I could do whatever I wanted to on the weekends. I watched TV, Korean dramas, and played video games. I was in the school musical.
Even though I didn't have a Tiger Dad, I think my life is turning out fine. I'm not on any short list to get the Nobel Prize, perform at Carnegie Hall, or on my way to find the cure to cancer, but I have a post baccalaureate degree from a good school and an enjoyable job that pays the mortgage with enough leftover for my jewelry making obsession.
I'm not sure what made me realize that academic success was important. Was it my dad's expectation? Competition with my sister? Expectation from the Korean community? Pressure from my mom via letters to go to Ha-ba-du and become a brilliant inventor? Awesome teachers who saw my potential? Just going with the flow of my high school crowd? I guess each of these things played a part.
Now that my kids are getting older, what kind of a mom do I want to be? I don't want to go to the Tiger Mom extreme... nor do I want to be as detached as my dad was. I want my kids to know that they can succeed with effort and I want them to do what gives them a sense of purpose and meaning.
I'm sure I'll be winging a lot of this as I go along.
What kind of parents did you have and how did/does it impact your parenting style?