After 18 years of memorizing math equations while chained to a stake, Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld has escaped the basement cage where "superior Chinese mother" Amy Chua keeps her. Unfortunately, she has Stockholm syndrome. Either that, or her mom isn't that bad.
In a column for the New York Post, Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld says she is not the victim of ritualistic abuse at the hands of the Wall Street Journal's "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior" columnist, but a well-adjusted teenager. The obedient daughter loves her mother and is "glad you and Daddy raised me the way you did."
Dear Tiger Mom,
You've been criticized a lot since you published your memoir, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." One problem is that some people don't get your humor. They think you're serious about all this, and they assume Lulu and I are oppressed by our evil mother. That is so not true. Every other Thursday, you take off our chains and let us play math games in the basement.
But for real, it's not their fault. No outsider can know what our family is really like. They don't hear us cracking up over each other's jokes. They don't see us eating our hamburgers with fried rice. They don't know how much fun we have when the six of us—dogs included—squeeze into one bed and argue about what movies to download from Netflix.
There's one more thing: I think the desire to live a meaningful life is universal. To some people, it's working toward a goal. To others, it's enjoying every minute of every day. So what does it really mean to live life to the fullest? Maybe striving to win a Nobel Prize and going skydiving are just two sides of the same coin. To me, it's not about achievement or self-gratification. It's about knowing that you've pushed yourself, body and mind, to the limits of your own potential. You feel it when you're sprinting, and when the piano piece you've practiced for hours finally comes to life beneath your fingertips. You feel it when you encounter a life-changing idea, and when you do something on your own that you never thought you could. If I died tomorrow, I would die feeling I've lived my whole life at 110 percent.
110 percent? Haul out the iron maiden! Sophia Rubenfeld-Chua made a mistake at math!
Anyway, the "Tiger Mother" hoopla has ultimately played to the Chua-Rubenfeld family's favor: Amy got publicity for her book (which she swears is a memoir, not a parenting guide) and Sophia got a byline in a major newspaper. Even little Lulu Chua-Rubenfeld got a photo credit for taking a Facebook-ish picture of her sister! Just another successful week in the lives of Connecticut's most bestest overachieving family of winners ever. [NYPost, image by Lulu Chua-Rubenfeld via NYPost]