Amy Chua sparked rancorous debate with her Wall Street Journal essay, "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior," an excerpt from her controversial new book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. In the essay, Chua detailed how she achieved superior parenting results by requiring her daughters to earn all As and shun sleepovers — at one point, all but shackling one daughter to the piano bench until she mastered a particularly tricky piece. Critics took issue with Chua's boasts, arguing that such a parenting approach ultimately yields resentful, unhappy, and even suicidal offspring. Now, 18-year-old Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld has come to her mom's defense in an open letter in the New York Post. While having a mother like Amy was "no tea party," Chua-Rubenfeld says she appreciates that her mom always pushed her to reach her full potential. "I'm glad you and Daddy raised me the way you did," she says. Here, an excerpt:
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.
And for that, Tiger Mom, thank you.