It’s not often that a book about parenting will grace the cover of TIME magazine, but the storm of reaction to “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” by Amy Chua, the so-called Tiger Mom’s book is unprecedented.
I found my own reaction, as a “Kosher dad,” to be decidedly mixed. My Jewish background also prizes and values education, but we go about it slightly differently. Do we use the extreme punishments of Tiger Mom such as no play-dates, endless practice of either piano or violin, harsh criticism when a grade less than an “A” is received, and only the allowed social life of a monk? No, we consider those lightweight methods barely worth the effort involved. Our moms pull out all stops with their effective, frankly frightening, and completely terrifying tool. Guilt. Jewish moms are especially adept at employing guilt, as it’s been a centuries-old tradition. Rather than the medieval tortures that Tiger Mom employs, my mom would simply say, “Oy vey, what have I done to deserve this?”