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Two American authors have been on my mind lately. The first is, of course, cover personality Amy Chua. When I first read her phenomenal bestseller Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, I’d felt both relieved and queasy. Relieved because I could identify with the parenting techniques the Chinese-American ‘tiger mom’ used with her daughters – my own mother had used them with me.
On the other hand, I was queasy because I felt like a ‘cow mom’ myself: I was too laid-back, I gave my girls too much freedom, never took them to piano lessons – would they amount to nothing?
But as Amy herself found, no two children can be alike, and parents have to continuously adapt. Her daughters have grown up into successes, and she’s now off defining new terms for global readers to mull and debate over, like ‘political tribes’ (p.26).
The other author I’ve been recommending to everyone and their aunt is Mark Manson, whose book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck moved me deeply. It says adversity is good, and we need not seek positive experiences all the time.
“Growth is an endlessly iterative process. When we learn something new, we don’t go from ‘wrong’ to ‘right’. Rather, we go from wrong to slightly less wrong,” he writes. “We are always in the process of approaching truth and perfection without actually ever reaching truth or perfection.”
Our fallibility is our strength; it pushes us towards growth, says Mark. Accepting that we are ‘losers’ lets us shed unnecessary trappings, and instead do our real life’s work – cow moms included.