Since deciding to do ‘Lucky Sunday‘ posts I’ve been spending some time thinking about things that make me feel lucky. Well, this week, I’m feeling pretty lucky that my mom is more stubborn than I am. Sounds a bit odd, I know. Let me explain.
My cousin F sent me a link to an article from the Wall Street Journal about Chinese moms. The article, written by a Chinese mom, describes a certain type of Chinese parent. The type who thinks that anything less than 100% is abject failure. The type who doesn’t allow their kids to do much in the way of non-school socialising (ie no sleep overs, no sports teams, no lollygagging around or watching TV). The parenting style she describes makes pageant moms seem about as pushy as a limp noodle. While I did have classmates whose moms were like those described, I hasten to clarify that my mom wasn’t. I was always allowed to sleep over at friends, attend birthday parties, or go away on school trips. I knew about Saturday Night Live (though rarely watched it since I’ve never been a night owl, not because I wasn’t allowed), and watched cartoons, TV after school and in the evenings. I could have been in the school play had I wanted, and I could choose my extra curricular activities (er, except piano. I had to learn the piano). So my mom in most of the particulars was nothing like the Chinese mom described in the article.
But how Amy Chua (the author of the article) describes how she wouldn’t give up on her daughter mastering a skill, how she sat at the piano with her daughter and drilled her over and over and over again until her daughter was able to play a piece, that kind of persistence, determination, and let’s face it, sheer stubborness, that my mom had in spades.
She did this for me with math – I came home one day with a bad score on my math test. I must have been 7 or 8. My mom immediately set up a revision schedule, made flash cards, and drilled me every day after school on my times table. She drilled me until I could recite it backwards in my sleep. Needless to say, my math grades improved dramatically. Knowing the timetable like the back of my hand helped me gain confidence in the subject, and I never had problems in maths class again.
But the heroic nature of her stubborness really shined when it came to Chinese school. Imagine, just about every Saturday between 8 and 13, I threw a tantrum. Tears, hissy fits, all that accompanies a teeny-bopper tantrum, you name I did it. In public, in private, in front of her friends, there was no discrimination. Everywhere was game. I hated going to Chinese school. It cut into my precious Saturday morning doing…. whatever a teeny-bopper does on a Saturday. Cartoons, talking on the phone, staring off into space and mooning after a-ha. Important stuff like that. But did my mom give in? Did she throw in the towel and let me lollygag my Saturday mornings away? Nope. Not once. Not ever. It was non-negotiable. Didn’t matter how much I whined, cried, begged, demanded, threatened, cajoled, nothing moved her. And once I grew out of the tantrums, and particularly when I hit university, boy was I ever thankful that she never gave in. l could speak Chinese and even read and write it. The skill was useful at university. When I traveled. Even when applying for jobs. As a direct result of my mom’s awe inspiring refusal to relent, despite overwhelming evidence that I really wasn’t enjoying Chinese school at all, the skills I learned those teary Saturday mornings helped me win a scholarship year in Beijing after uni – an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. Okay maybe world peace, or having Aaron Hotchner as my boss, but you know you what I mean.
So moral of my story: having/being a stubborn mom can be a Good Thing. And reading that article, let me also throw in too that I feel lucky I got to watch TV. Otherwise I would not have a deep and abiding appreciation for cheesy TV shows like the A-Team, Little House on the Prairie, and Magnum PI. I would not have learned things like ‘Just Say No’ from ABC Afterschool Specials, or the theme songs to such classic shows such as Transformers (more than meets the eye!), Jem, Thundercats & He-man (by the power of Grayskull, I have the power!). Or have such great sound bites as: Yabba-dabba doo! Watchootalkinabout? I pity the fool! committed to memory for eternity. Oh the cultural riches.
And finally, if you’ve read this far into my random wafflings, you deserve a piece of cake! Or a waffle! And you deserve to know who won the Name That Skein Contest. Thank you too to everyone who commented. I loved the suggestions and it was a tough choice! After a lot of hemming and hawing, I finally settled on three names that I felt sang best with the colourways. Without further ado, the winning names are:
Thank you to Carie for ‘JMW’s Rain Wind & Wool’, Linda for ‘Cockatoo Mockatoo’ (I’ve taken a little poetic licence with it, I hope you don’t mind!), and Martine for ‘Ayame’. I’ll pop your skeins out too you in the post this week.