Are you a ‘Tiger Worker’?

TIME MagAdvance Stereotype Alert!

A mom I recently met on a play date asked me if I was a “Tiger Mom” for she (rather apologetically) believed that most Asians were. She was of course referring to Amy Chu’s famous portraits of Asian parenting style in her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. I had read the book and so was able to give her an honest answer – I was somewhere in the middle – maybe a Horse Mom – stubborn and flexible at the same time, but yes definitely leaning towards “efforts” in the “efforts vs innate ability” argument.

I bring this topic up today as I believe that Asian parenting style (the stereotypical portrait that Amy draws) has similarities in their working styles (stretching the stereotype here) too. And so if you’re looking for inspiration from other work cultures today, this summary of Amy’s might give you some interesting cues:

“Unlike your typical Western over-scheduling soccer mom, the Chinese mother believes that:

(1) schoolwork always comes first;

(2) an A-minus is a bad grade;

(3) your children must be two years ahead of their classmates in math; (4) you must never compliment your children in public;

(5) if your child ever disagrees with a teacher or coach, you must always take the side of the teacher or coach;

(6) the only activities your children should be permitted to do are those in which they can eventually win a medal; and

(7) that medal must be gold.

Final take away – “Chinese parents–like many other Asian parents–are more likely to emphasize effort over innate talent. Experiments show that people learn more when they believe that effort, not innate intelligence, is the key to achievement. And other research suggests that Westerners are more likely to assume that a child fails because he lacks innate ability”.

So much for clichés!



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