Since Saturday, the most popular article at the Wall Street Journal has been Amy Chua’s essay on why Chinese mothers are superior.
First of all, I should point out how highly politically incorrect it would be for a white woman to write about how white mothers are superior, but we’ll let that slide for now.
The article contains some very bad parenting advice:
Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:
• attend a sleepover
• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• watch TV or play computer games
• choose their own extracurricular activities
• get any grade less than an A
• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
• play any instrument other than the piano or violin
• not play the piano or violin.
Amy Chu details a parenting style obsessed with acing tests and playing the violin while eschewing normal American activities like sports, school plays, and even playing with friends or having them sleepover.
Let me explain why this is horrible parenting advice.
American society doesn’t value violin or piano playing. When elite colleges select applicants, they value sports-playing far more highly than all other extra-curricular activities. And when they do look at other extracurricular activities, group activities such as being in a school play are more highly valued than solitary activities such as playing the piano, because the group activities are believed to be more indicative of leadership potential.
The Chinese parenting style will no doubt produce workers who are good value creators, and their corporate employers will love them, and they will be paid far less money than the value they create, the excess value being transferred to white people who got into better colleges because their curricula vitae had more leadership and sports activities, and with those more prestigious educational credentials they got into higher paying value transference career tracks like investment banking and upper level management, and now enjoy the value created by those Chinese cubicle employees who are doing the real work and the real value creation.
Also, those sleepovers and playdates are extremely important for learning the social skills needed to get ahead in corporate America where schmoozing is more important for getting promoted than creating real value.
First, I've noticed that Western parents are extremely anxious about their children's self-esteem. They worry about how their children will feel if they fail at something, and they constantly try to reassure their children about how good they are notwithstanding a mediocre performance on a test or at a recital.
Americans parents understand that self-esteem is more important than actual results, because if you are convinced that you are great, you will fool most people, and therefore receive more credit for your work and be more likely to be promoted. Self-esteem is important for value transference activities, which are the highest paying activities. Especially for sales; sales requires super-high self-esteem. The low self-esteem Chinese will make great low-paid value-creating engineers and the whites with high self esteem will make more money selling the stuff that the Chinese engineers design.