Liz and I have a group of close friends in Wichita. We try to be vulnerable and share life with each other but as kids have come into the picture we have all acknowledged that the most difficult issues to discuss, or criticisms to receive, are in regards to our parenting and kids. It’s hard to talk with another mom about her mothering style and good luck questioning a dad about how hard he is pushing his children. Parenting is tough, comparison and competition are real between parents, and that’s why I so appreciated Amy Chua’s honest and open reflections on parenting in her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
While reading Chua’s reflections it is pretty easy to see that parenting differences don’t necessarily mean one side is right and the other side is wrong. It made me think of the recent Similac Mother ‘Hood video that went viral. The tag line in the video says, “There’s something going down on the playground. Don’t they know that everyone has their own way of parenting? But when it comes down to it, we’re all on the same side.” That video really resonated because I think people can see that differences don’t necessarily mean right or wrong. Most parents will do anything to love their children and give them what’s best and sometimes there’s more then one way to get the same result. Chua also comes to this conclusion herself. Chua said she looked around at the Western families that have fallen apart, and couldn’t believe the Western-style of parenting does a better job creating happiness. She does, however, know many Asian kids who acknowledge that their parents were strict and demanding, but speak of them with loyalty and gratitude. Ultimately, Chua concludes that Western children are no happier than Chinese children.
There’s no doubt that our churches could learn from this same truth. “There’s something going down on the playground. Don’t they know that everyone has their own way of (doing church)? But when it comes down to it, we’re all on the same side.” While it’s difficult to talk with a mom about how she is mothering it’s also difficult to talk with a pastor about how he/she is pastoring. This truth seems easier to see when viewing things cross-culturally but unfortunately this truth gets muddled in my thinking when I look at church differences in my own community. The Western and Chinese cultures are so vastly different that we more easily accept that we have much to learn. Yet, the differences in my own neighborhood churches seem harder to accept and easier to criticize.
While Amy Chua’s book highlighted and compared vastly different approaches to parenting her book really served as a reminder to me that whether there are vastly different approaches or just minor difference in approaches, our differences don’t necessarily mean right or wrong and sometimes there’s more then one way to get the same result.
 “Book Summary: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,”, accessed May 20, 2015,https://powerofmoms.com/books-battle-hymn-of-the-tiger-mother/.