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‘Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother’: You Hated The Excerpt, Now Read The Book

January 14th, 2011 | 40 comments | Posted by Jen

Three years ago, when Diana and I were kicking around book ideas, there was one that rose to the top for us, one we thought was pure gold. Its working title was: “How to Raise a Child Prodigy.” Although neither of us were prodigies–a fact that filled us both with regret–and neither of us were parents yet, we felt qualified to write the book anyway, because we were products of Hardass Asian Parenting, which was no different, in our minds, from Prodigy Parenting (see: the long, ever-expanding list of Asian prodigies). Plus, we imagined the book as a way to talk about what it’s like to be Asian American without getting heavy, a way to laugh at ourselves, something honest but still tongue-in-cheek. Of course there would be some non-Asians, aspirational parents in particular, who would buy the book for parenting tips and take it seriously…suckas!

Only we never wrote it. We started it as a blog, set to private, but didn’t get beyond a couple of entries. In hindsight, our lack of follow-through shines a light on two rather important details: 1) why we weren’t prodigies in the first place and 2) why we weren’t qualified at all to write the book. During that time, we did manage to bang out a long list of child-rearing ideas, ideas we’d been exposed to personally that we planned to explore in our little parenting guide. A selection of those ideas appears below, from a document dated March 2008:

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