Monday, March 7, 2011

"Tiger Mother" vs. No Mother: Nobody Wins

Debate rages over the type of parent that a mother should be.  Amy Chua recently released a book called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (which I have not read, so do not endorse), in which she discusses her experience as a "Tiger Mother", or a strict parent in the manner of her Chinese heritage.  Ms. Chua is fervent in her belief that Chinese parenting is superior to Western parenting; that the standards of Chinese mothers influence their children to be exemplary in their conduct and achievements.  On the other hand, another type of parenting is being lauded:  Absent parenting.  Rahna Reiko Rizzuto writes that an epiphany ten years ago led her to end her twenty year marriage and to not pursue full custody of her two sons.  Ms. Rizzuto feels that her relationship with her children has improved through her leaving them.  Wow.  Ms. Rizzuto is a writing teacher at a college in Vermont.  Ms. Chua is a professor at Yale Law School and an author of several books.  In other words, both women are influencing the lives of young people.  On top of which, they are being paid by parents of all stripes to do so.

Neither woman seems concerned about the spiritual development of her children. For Ms. Chua, success is being good at what you do.  Her children are being "raised Jewish", though I am not sure how she defines this.  As for Ms. Rizzuto, she doesn't mention this aspect of her children's lives.  She's busy being enlightened about not wanting to parent her boys. 

Proverbs 22:6 says:  "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."  Verse 4 of this same passage says, "Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life."  Throughout Scripture, parents are commanded to teach our children about God and His precepts.  Deuteronomy 6-7 says:  "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." It's pretty hard to talk with a child about the precepts of Scripture on a regular basis when you are either absent from his life or when you are pushing her to practice violin for three hours a day. 

In the same article posted on yahoo which features Ms. Rizzuto, another absent mother is introduced.  Her name is Talyaa Liera, and she discusses moving 3, 000 miles away from her children in order to allow them to "reach their full potential."  Ms. Liera is a 'spiritual advisor' for a group known as Polaris Rising.  When I visited the site for Polaris Rising, I discovered that Ms. Liera is a medium for the occult.  She dispenses her so-called spiritual advice through the means known as 'channeling.'  Channeling is the New Age term for allowing a spirit to physically enter one's body and to allow that spirit to speak.  Polaris Rising is a collective of people who are following the spiritual entity known as "Michael", who claims to have wisdom that will benefit mankind.  The website states that "Michael" is "comprised of 1,000 souls who have crossed over" and that it guides people into more joyful living, and has done so since Egyptian times.  One of the core teachings of this "Michael" is "all choices are equally valid".  What a load of baloney.  Is the choice to torture and murder another person equally valid to the choice of Mother Teresa to devote her life to ministry to the poor in India?  NO!  Of course it's not!  I can see, however, that if you want to justify your desire to abandon your children, then the only way to do so is to follow a demonic teaching which tells you that all the choices you make are valid.  Just to be clear, valid means well grounded or logical. One may call a choice valid; indeed, but the consequences of that choice make all the difference and have long lasting effects in the lives of others around us.

It seems to me that parenting is about sacrifice.  It is about teaching your child that their life has purpose and meaning, and that life is not about pouring all of your effort and energy into yourself for the sake of pleasing only yourself.  It is about bringing glory to the Creator of the Universe, who is interested in our lives and invested in them so much that He sent His Son to die for us.  God's Word has a lot to say about parenting.  God tells us to teach a child and not exasperate him (Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:21).  He also admonishes us to work hard at everything that we do, with all of our hearts, as though we are working for the Lord (Colossians 3:23).  To me, I am to work at being a mother, just as though the Lord is my supervisor (because He is!). 

For what it's worth, I think that all three of these ladies have missed the point of mothering:  To love our children as ourselves.  The world may debate which type of mother is best, but I will look to God's Word as my guide in this department. 

Many blessings,


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