A few years ago the book by Amy Chua “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom” came out. And caused great debate – because to most of us westerners that way of raising children seemed abusive to say the least. I have recently thought a great deal about this book (even thought I haven’t read it, only the excerpts which have been published in mainstream media). First of all because I stumbled upon this radio-blog by Stefan Molyneux ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ – Aggressive Parenting and the Cult of Excellence . Secondly because there has been intense debate in Danish media about the future of the school system. This includes a TV-show where Danish school children compete against Chinese ditto and fail in every discipline, including the more creative ones – which we have told ourselves we excel at… I haven’t seen the TV show, but I have seen the comments on how embarrassing it is to the Danish school system yada yada yada. Last but not least I have discussed the tendency with some friends about what seems to be a trend in the European educational system, to expand the obligatory schooling. In Denmark – which I know best – the Educational Duty has recently been expanded with one year, the kindergartens now have obligatory educational plans, and teenagers are now required to have an education plan from 16-18 if their parents want to receive child benefits (some of which used to be a tax deduction). Children not in kindergarten are exposed to obligatory language testing, and if they fail, they will be pressured into attending kindergarten at least 3 days per week (you can choose to do language stimulation at home, but most parents don’t know that and are not informed about this option), some politicians are considering making kindergarten obligatory. In Spain and France they are considering expanding compulsory schooling to 3-18 years, where it is now 6-16 years. All of this because our children need to be able to compete in “today’s global society”.
So – as I see it, Amy Chua is just a caricature of everything that is wrong with our society today. Deep down, most parents in the west genuinely agree with her basic premise: That our children should be able compete with these Chinese children. Because that is what we need right? To be able to keep growing our GDP, and if we don’t grow our GDP – we loose the competition (and then you may start to ask yourself why it is, that we have to keep this GDP pr. capita growing for ever….)
Well, my kids are not future GDP. Their lives are not measured in GDP pr. capita. Their worth is not measured in net tax-income to any state. Neither is my worth by the way – I am not wasted because I stay at home to take care of the education of my children. I will not sit idle a accept that we as peoples of Europe are turned into cattle for some bureaucrats in Brussels, and I will not accept that my children are sold to the first bankster who comes along.
My children belong to themselves and nobody else. And the politicians may have sold their future tax-production to some banker somewhere – but don’t go counting on me to turn them in to good little worker bees, because I will not do it. I will teach them that they are enough, that they are special, like we all are – and that their happiness is far more important than anything else anybody might tell them.
And that is the reason we unschool 🙂