The image of America’s mothers is a powerful one the world over. From the twinkle in Martha Washington’s eye to the idyllic 1950s masters of domesticity, the United States has long given the women of our fellow nations something to aspire to. Yet, in a surprising show of questionable reportage, the Wall Street Journal believes otherwise. In a recent article entitled, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” Yale University instructor Amy Chua makes the case that communist China’s emphasis on math and piano training is producing a generation of children better equipped for our tumultuous future. Sadly, her ill-advised tirade is rife with factual errors, undisclosed personal biases and gross incomprehensions of human psychology.
The good news is that a heartfelt analysis of the American institution of motherhood proves that Chua’s outrageous claims fall flat in every regard. What the Ivy Tower legal author fails to understand is that faith, namely the Christian faith, has given our children an incredible set of mental tools that the youth of an atheistic dictator state can barely comprehend. Christianity teaches our children to love and aspire, dream and conquer! It is the most wondrous gift an adult can give a young one. You are quite simply passing along the keys to the Pearly Gates, to an afterlife of perfection and God! Even further, the Bible makes our younger generation smarter and happier by training them to deal with complex social problems, from the dangers of illicit lifestyles to the glories of a politically active faith community bonding in condemnation of the worst indulgences of a liberal society run amuck.
On any given day a Chinese child will be denied many things that an American mother would encourage her kids to experience, such as:
- Learning U.S. history firsthand from a military veteran
- Competing in a rough and tumble football game
- Leading a school group in prayer
- Raising money to fight the homeless
- Starting a business (be it a front lawn lemonade stand or a website company)
Chua attempts to argue that the indomitable willpower of the militant Asian mothers, never bending or praising, always picking, picking and picking some more, forces children to strive to great heights. Yet while Chinese mothers employ a straightforward condemnation approach, many American mothers have advanced to a higher level of psychological manipulation, mixing praise with indifference, passive-aggressive meddling with outright bribery. So-called “Jewish Guilt” has come up as a topic of discussion across the internet, but there is a great deal of evidence that Christian Guilt is, in fact, superior. Notwithstanding, both happen to be American institutions that far surpass the most sophisticated inventions of Chinese maternal shame. Our motherly love succeeds because it instills a profound warning that stays with men and women throughout their lives. It is a warning that they can continue to disappoint even into adulthood, even after their own parents are dead, and that the damnation of hell in the afterlife is not implausible considering their grievous faults.
Athletics is another glaring oversight in the Wall Street Journal report. Many Asians are biased against sports and afraid to play them. The article reveals that these mothers actively discourage any sort of male on male physical interaction. Yet in the United States games are understood to be an important part of the socialization of any child, no matter how physically inept. Raw competition out on a field teaches young men to run and jump, to force themselves through a zesty pack of big-legged soccer players. It reveals the joys of victory, the fraternal excitement when you grab that trophy with your mates, laughing and cheering all the way back to the locker room for an intensely hot shower, all those aches in your muscles released down the drain in a supple froth of soap as you stand shoulder to shoulder with the boys you will watch grow into solid, admirable men, men you will look up to, dreaming, hoping, hoping for all the great things that this great nation can achieve!
Even in defeat sports can teach us something. It humbles us and humility is another essential element to being an American. We learn that no matter how much we pray and hope, becoming an NFL quarterback is not guaranteed. We learn that success is a blessing and that sometimes there are those of us that the higher powers have chosen not to bless with big league success for reasons we will never understand. Human beings must always be cognizant that there is something greater than our small day to day lives, namely God our Father. But humility is not something the Chinese know. They want to claim the title of greatest in everything, even though they consistently fail to triumph in sports. How can a people who have no world championship basketball, hockey or football teams truly respect themselves? No matter, those perfect SAT scores give them egos big enough to blot out the sun!
Let’s take the example of mother Sarah Palin. She represents so many of the achievements of our homegrown moms, it’s hard to know where to begin. She is the voice of reason in her household, even setting an example for husband Todd. She has an unconditional love for her children, supporting them through all sorts of gossip column tragedies. She is profoundly inspiring, showing us that a woman can juggle a Down Syndrome child and running for the highest office in the land. Who would ever forsake one of Palin’s home cooked meals? Can you dream of how well she keeps her house and washes her family’s clothes? An inspiration, a leader, a loving human being and a mother: you would be hard pressed to locate any comparable Chinese or communist woman.
Here’s another example: Jonathan was a hearty child of America’s heartland. With a muffin top of hair and a sly grin, he might have made quite a ladies man. With a place on the junior varsity football team, he was certainly learning a thing or two about competition and social strategy. Yet Jonathan had an acne problem and might have gained some weight over the summer. His mother, bitter at Dad’s failure to become a millionaire industrialist and move her to a mansion in New Orleans, took to harassing her son about his looks between her gulps of apple brandy. “Pizza! We’re having pizza face tonight!” she would shout when he appeared with a fresh pimple breakout. Once, when she was severely intoxicated she added a “2” to his football jersey in permanent marker, making it appear as if his number was “276.” When pressed for an explanation, she shouted “Just thought your teammates should know how much you weigh, blubber boy.”
The truth is that this woman had no interest in sports and no interest in pushing her son to achieve anything. She just had a compulsive need to attack and harass. This mixture of cruel wit and familial indifference is certainly an American trait, albeit not the most admirable one. Yet she was a woman, a mother and a patriotic citizen deep inside. In many ways, she embraced a libertarian freedom when expressing herself. She was free to attack anyone loudly, from the neighbors who grew a tree too close to the property line to the corrupt Washington insiders intent on raising the “sin tax.“ Do the Chinese enjoy such freedom? I think not.
Fortunately, this young Jonathan grew up in a Christian household and even though his grim father would laugh at mother’s antics, he still held out the saving grace of spirituality for his son to witness. As the boy grew older, he began to see that Jesus Christ was the answer to his personal problems. It enraged mother but somehow it only pushed him deeper into a life of evangelical faith. With his failures constantly laid out in excruciating detail by a verbose, drunken mother, he suffered from monumental guilt. He knew in some ways she was right, that he would never be a football star or marry a beauty queen. He knew that people laughed at him, that some doubted his intellect.
In life, we cannot always triumph in the areas we desire so Jonathan turned to Jesus’s embrace and found victory there! He found a community that accepted him for who he was, who listened to him and even grew to respect his opinions on matters of society and culture. He found an outlet for the sticky tidal wave of passion he had bottled up inside, typing out his strongest ideas for people to delight in. And yes, he still visits his dear old mother and mother still holds tight to that bottle but during those moments when she berates him he silently thanks her, he thanks her for the bodily assaults and the psychological trauma for it has made him strong! She has forced him to be a giant in his mind who might repeat her crudest insults late at night in the bathroom mirror because they remind him he will outlive her and that there is a place in Heaven for the goodly of this earth. America’s mothers! What would we have become without them?