After Muay Thai class this morning, my wonder twin and I went to grab a quick bite to eat at Nan Xiang Xao Long Bao and then the Prince Tea House on Prince street in Flushing. I started telling her about this blog I started and she asked, “what is Panda Mom?”
Last year in the park, my first born and his friends were talking about one kid’s study schedule. He couldn’t stay in the park too long because he had a lot of homework to do, homework from regular school and homework from Saturday school. Saturday school is basically what Fresh Off the Boat referred to as “CLC, Chinese Learning Centers.”
Me: You have a Tiger Mom.
Kid: What are you?
Me: I’m a Panda Mom.
Kid: What’s a Panda mom?
Me: What do pandas do?
Me: A panda lies around all day chewing on bamboo.
Kid: (laughs and starts to understand his friend a little more)
I’m the opposite of a Tiger Mom, or some would say, a really, really lazy Tiger Mom.
I stressed out more over my first born’s black belt test than I’ve ever stressed over any of his school exams, except when he came home with anything below an 80, high 70’s was acceptable depending on the circumstances.
My philosophy on all this study stuff is this: book smart is important but so is everything else, especially the social aspect of society. How many times have we seen really smart Asian kids do all the right “Asian” things only to end up stuck under the bamboo ceiling because they don’t know how to socially navigate the system.
In law school, we would say, “it’s not what you know, but who you know that counts.” And this was true, the people who had connections got a job regardless of their grades or standing. We also said, “those with A’s, became law professors, those with B’s, worked at law firms and those with C’s became rich.” Money and grades don’t always correlate.
[BTW, I am not a law professor nor worked at a big law firm nor am I rich.]
That’s not to say that I don’t want my kids to do well in school. I want them to do their best and not be lazy. I want them to be self motivated and a leader. There’s a small part of me that would love it if my kid went to Harvard, but we already told him that we won’t pay for it if he’s an English major. The main objective here is to make money because that is what you need to live on. You will not be living in my basement and if you do, it will be at market rent.
Right now, my first born is not going to a specialized high school ( a failure by Tiger Mom standards). He is going to a school that emphasizes going to college and obtaining job skills. His major is Humanities and Non-Profit Organizations, where he’ll learn grant writing, social entrepreneurship and obtain the skills of a CEO. I like his Project Management course where he’s learning how to work with people in a group and how to manage a team on a project. He told me I was a bad project manager because I do not define tasks in a clear precise manner. I guess I need to work on defining their chores in a clearer, more precise manner.