At the end of a grim and brutal month, Rosie learned to read. Not because we forced her to drill and practice and repeat, not because we dragged her kicking and screaming, or denied her food, or kept her from the using the bathroom, but because she forced herself. She climbed the mountain alone, motivated not by fear or shame of dishonoring her parents but by her passionate desire to read. She did it herself, without us, and it is no exaggeration to say that we were and remain stunned with pride. What’s more, she came out of the experience with a sense of herself as a powerful, tenacious person, one who is so proud of having succeeded despite her dyslexia”””like Alexander Graham Bell, Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein,” as she likes to say””that during her school’s “Care Week,” on her own initiative, she gave presentations to her classmates and to groups of other students about living with dyslexia.
I have a feeling that had one of Amy Chua’s daughters suffered from a learning disability like Rosie’s, Ms. Chua would have channeled her admirable perseverance into finding a solution that worked for her child. She would have been just as dogged and determined, but in an entirely different way. Roaring like a tiger turns some children into pianists who debut at Carnegie Hall but only crushes others. Coddling gives some the excuse to fail and others the chance to succeed. Amy Chua and I both understand that our job as mothers is to be the type of tigress that each of our different cubs needs.