What Do You Get When You Cross a Tiger and an Au Pair??

Dear Aimee,

There are so many books out about parenting techniques in other cultures and countries. I would be interested to know your take on who is raising kids right.

Is Parenting Lost in Translation? – Tuttle, OK

Knowing this question was in my email queue, I did some intensive people watching while at the world mecca of family fun, Orlando, Florida. Whether you are standing in line, eating at a restaurant, swimming at the hotel pool, or clamoring for a dry croissant at the continental breakfast buffet, you are surrounded by mothers, fathers, and children from around the world. It was a great opportunity for a little unprofessional and hugely unscientific sociological study on the family.

Many of the points in the books you are referring to are focused on how to bring about excellence and discipline in a child. Great attributes and nothing to be neglected, however you can have a highly successful child with a long tiresome list of achievements, but if they lack compassion for those around them, have you, as a parent, truly succeeded?

Rudeness and lack of regard for our fellow human is alive and well, it knows no borders, and is never lost in translation. When an adult uses obscene language because a child cut the line at the Tea Cups to join his family, when a woman will cut you off at the faucet while you’re holding your daughter up to wash her hands, when a grown man and his wife will stand on the curb to watch a light parade while three little boys behind them struggle to catch a glimpse of Peter Pan, when you have to be disabled in a wheelchair to garnish an ounce of the human decency every person should be allotted, then something somewhere in our human training has gone terribly awry. My teenage boys showed more care for the children and people around them than many of the adults we encountered.

My kids may not have that killer instinct or the competitive heart to do whatever it takes to be first and win. They may not have been raised by a disciplined Chinese tiger mother, or an unemotional French au pair, but I will accept a second place ribbon any day if it means that they tried their best while treading lightly on this Earth and on those around them. Don’t get me wrong, my kids are not perfect. They learn lessons daily about how to be better citizens of the world, but the more I get to know the world the less I am concerned with them fitting in and rising to the top. No, I’m beginning to prefer that they stand out and adopt a new idea of success, one that involves being considerate and helping others rather than just helping themselves. I’m not sure which country gets credit for that type of behavior; I’m afraid that compassion and putting others first just might be out of this world these days.

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6 Comments on “What Do You Get When You Cross a Tiger and an Au Pair??

  1. It will take a lot of mothers and fathers teaching their children and anyone else who looks up to them to act and behave appropriately toward their families and others. One would not treat their own families with the disrespect shown by others…but alas, too many do. Nowadays it’s each person for themselves and too many times we observe parents or adults acting like children who know no better and were not taught to be polite and such. This is the example for their kids to follow? We must as parents, and grandparents even raise up our children, grandchildren as taught by the first Father and by doing so, they will never conform to the world. Aimee i am so proud of you and your family. Your boys are much like my son and grandsons in that they are polite, sentimental, loving, caring, etc., etc. Westin is 19 and my grandsons Alex and Anthony are 15 and 16 and they are a rarity as they act and behave like gentlemen should. It astonishes me how often i see the less appropriate behavior acted out by adults around children. I just want to take each child by the hand and tell them they are loved.

  2. Amen, Aimee, Amen.

    We are an example to our children. I don’t consider myself rude or selfish or lacking empathy, yet I have to wonder, how often have I, or any one of us, slipped up in the heat of the moment, or have become so wrapped up in our own head that we’ve neglected to consider those around us?

    When something is so easy to do unintentionally, how much easier to do with intention?

    Love the new look, btw.

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