Monday, March 7, 2011

Suburbs of Our Discontent

Tiger-Mommying is Hard Work!

"Let thy mother rather feel thy pride than fear
Thy dangerous stoutness, for I mock at death
With as big heart as thou. Do as thou list.
Thy valiantness was mine, thou sucked’st it from me."
--Volumnia to her son, Coriolanus (3.2.125-29)

There are a number of moments in Shakespeare's tragedy Coriolanus when the original Tiger Mom, Coriolanus' mom, Volumnia, pushes her son to be better, faster, stronger, and more violent.

It probably goes without saying that our present-day Tiger Mom, Yale professor Amy Chua, bothers many of us because she's a mirror held up to nature (as Hamlet might say): a reflection of a tiny, ugly part of ourselves that we'd rather not see.

I had a good look in that mirror this weekend when my husband called from my son's ice hockey tournament to tell me that our little warrior had just been lying face-down on the ice and weeping in the middle of the game. Everyone had rushed out to the ice--my God, is he injured?!--only to discover that no, he's just fine. Just a little emotional breakdown, that's all.

Normally, I tell people that I'm worried about his safety, that he's allowed to do hockey as long as he's having fun and being a good sport, etc. etc. But, you know, it's those little Tiger Mommy flare-ups that make me face the other truths too: Go! Fight! Score! Win!

1 comment:

  1. At the first soccer game of the season last fall (team age: 7 & under), our goalie burst into tears when the other team scored its third goal. It was the kids' first game ever with goalies. Our goalie kept forgetting he was allowed to use his hands as well as his feet to block the ball. As he sank into a limp puddle in the goalie box, the coach walked over to the sidelines to apologize to the parents for his son's poor sportsmanship. Yes. The coach's son was crying while goal tending. It happens. At least you know your kid is human and not one of those awful sports robot children raised by scary hyper sidelines parents.