We've had lots of people ask our opinions about the article on Chinese parenting.
This excerpt has stirred much angst here in the States. I don't know if I have it in me to dissect this article and do a full comparison of Chinese and American mothering. There's too much back ground that would need to be given on both sides. Honestly, it could fill up an entire blog.
I've widdled down the premise to two things that have to be decided when you embark on parenting.
1. What is my definition of 'LOVE'?
John Piper puts it beautifully by saying this:
The love of God is not God's making much of us, but God's saving us from self-centeredness so that we can enjoy making much of him forever. And our love to others is not our making much of them, but helping them to find satisfaction in making much of God. True love aims at satisfying people in the glory of God. Any love that terminates on man is eventually destructive. It does not lead people to the only lasting joy, namely, God. Love must be God-centered, or it is not true love; it leaves people without their final hope of joy.
As an American parent, our default setting is to love our children by making them happy. As a Chinese parent, they love their children by making sure they don't get sick and study hard. They love their children by assuring that they will have opportunities in the future.
We need to ask a few questions as we decide how we want to love our children:
a. What does it mean to express love to them?
b. What does it mean to receive love back from them?
c. Practically in my day, what does love look like as I parent them?
2. When I envision my child at 18, what do I want him or her to look like?
At all the homeschool conferences I go to, they encourage us to do a little self-reflection. We make a list of about 10 things that we want for our kids by the time they turn 18.
For example, we want our kids:
a. To love serving others.
b. Be able to share the gospel clearly with others
c. To love have a curiosity that spurs on their love for learning
d. Have a global awareness.
e. Understand how to put together a logical argument
These are just a few of ours. But, if my goal for my children was to have them be the top mathematician in their school, then I would start at 5 and drill in math facts. By 12, they would be doing algebra and spend many hours a day working out problems. This is where the Chinese parents flourish. They see the end goal and they discipline their children to achieve that goal. Whether you agree with it or not, it is commendable that they stay the course. When their children whine and complain at not liking math, the Chinese parents don't waiver. Some might see this abusive, but Chinese parents see it as very, very loving. See? It all depends on how you define love and what you wish to see your children grow up to become.
In my opinion, the wisdom in the article comes when we step back and question our assumptions. Let us not be parents who just survive until the kids turn 18. Set vision. Stay the course. And pray like there's no tomorrow.