US vs Tiger Mothers, Lion Fathers – UPDATED

Our Sunday Visitor is carrying a piece of mine looking at the controversial question of whether the berating Chinese "Tiger Mother" is truly superior to the doting and timid "you're so special!" Western mode of parenting. I am of two minds on it:In America we have allowed genuine excellence to be sacrificed upon the altar of our children’s self-esteem, and our barely earned praise has become a kind of cheap grace. In our schools, every test gets a star, every assembly gets a “participation cer … [Read more...]

The Audacity of Wonder – UPDATED

Illustration Source)Over at First Things, my Tuesday Column is looking at our mania for credentials and how it closes doors, narrows minds and holds wonder at arms length:He has authored over a dozen books, written a syndicated newspaper column and countless essays and articles covering a broad range of subjects—sports, politics, mobsters, union thugs, cultural touchstones, booze, and blades of grass—all of it written in a smart, literate voice of the casual sophisticate who takes his sub … [Read more...]

Authority is a Fearsome Gift – UPDATED

There may be something to Lisa Mladinich's view that as a nation we have become so suspect of authority that we have lost sight of our responsibility to wield authority (or perhaps, "holy authority") when it comes to our children or our students.It's not just your imagination. The problem of kids who won't behave in class is getting worse. We can take the easy way out and blame parents, claiming they just can't be bothered to discipline their children, but that's like saying a person is sick … [Read more...]

Vaccines & Autism; the Parental Quandary

Some might remember reading Shana Buck's moving piece last month, where she wondered about the conceptual perceptions of her son who is autistic.Last weeks news that the certain "studies" linking autism to vaccines were fraudulent finds Shana pondering what parents are supposed to do, and who they should trust:Something is causing the rise in actual numbers of autistic children, something besides ‘better diagnosis'. What should I, as the mother of one child with autism and another with A … [Read more...]