Amy Chua sees things a little bit differently. She not only wrote the WJ piece, but is coming out with a book called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. It turns out that most Chinese kids don’t have genius built into them nor do they want to practice piano three hours a day. In fact, Chinese kids might be just as average as ours. The difference? The parents.
It is also possible that some Chinese kids have ADHD too? I don’t know that we’ll ever know. Chinese parents get away with a lot more than we Western do. They can call their children names when they don’t perofrm, they can scream at them when they don’t get an A, and they can withhold food, Christmas, and even the bathroom until their child nails her piano piece. Whether the child wants to take piano lessons is entirely irrelevant.
While I’m not sure that I’m read to call my son “garbage,” I’m beginning to feel like I might be able to push him a little harder.
I had Ms. Chua in the back of my mind when I sat down to help my son who was struggling with a piano piece.
“It’s too hard,” he whined.
“What? Do you think your teacher should give you songs that you don’t need to practice? Now play these two measures slowly.” He did and botched them.
“Play them slowly five more times.” After five times, he nailed it.
The no-nonsense approached worked with my son, Jacob. He’s totally ADHD. He was falling apart over his English and grammar homework. He forgot his medication this morning but I didn’t care. He was not going to get up off of our office couch until he understood his homework.
He cried and whined and said that grammar was a total waste of his time. I said, “Do you want me to give you the two hour lecture on why you’ll need to know this in life, or do you just want to trust me and get the work done?” We buckled down for the next hour and worked through the assignments.
And wouldn’t you know? At dinner time, we all shared our high and low points of the day. I couldn’t believe it when he said, “I now understand what a verb, an adjective, and a predicate is.”
Jacob later hung out with his younger brother while I drilled him on geography bee and spelling bee words. I’ve never made Jacob do the bees because he’s always told me he didn’t want to. Now I’m wondering if that really matters. I looked at him in the eye and siad, “You are going to prepare for the spelling bee this year, and you are going to learn every single one of these words.” He looked at me and appeared to accept my edict. I was shocked. I think I might even make him take piano lessons.