The media has been abuzz in recent weeks about Yale Professor of Law Amy Chua’s new book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. The book makes several claims that the world has received as outrageous, extraordinary, and even shocking.
The book has encountered a somewhat different reception in Princeton, New Jersey, however, as many there find the book tells them something they already knew: even Yale professors want their children to go to Princeton.
The book goes into great detail about the advantages and practices of a “tiger mother,” a reference to the nickname given to mothers of Princeton undergraduates. In her efforts to prepare her children for the academic environment of Princeton University, Chua instituted numerous rules in her household. Some of these included:
- The banning of the color crimson.
- No uttering of the words “Yale,” “Harvard,” or “Penn,” unless followed by the words “wish they were Princeton,” or, in the case of Penn, the word “State.”
- Yearlong Halloween decorations.
- Mandatory trips to see Siegfried and Roy.
- No pleasure reading, except for biographies of Woodrow Wilson, Albert Einstein, or works by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
- No grades less than A, unless they complained vehemently about grade deflation after receiving said grades.
Although many of these policies may seem harsh, Chua points out she is not alone in her single-minded desire to see her children achieve admission to Princeton. In the book she notes that in a study of 48 Chinese mothers, most believed their children were capable of being “the best students and [gaining admission to Princeton University as a result].”
Often overlooked in light of the controversy her book has generated has been the tremendous success of Chua in rearing her children. Her children have both enjoyed immense academic success, and they appear destined for Princeton in the near future. One particularly proud moment, as Chua relates in the book, was when her elder daughter first heard the term “rush” and asked her if it was similar to bickering. “That,” recounts Chua, “was the day I knew I was a true Tiger Mother.”