April 6th, 2015
Jennie · Staff Recommendations
April is National Poetry Month. One of my favorite poems is Robert Frost’s “Devotion”.
The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to ocean –
Holding the curve of one position,
Counting an endless repetition.
Parenting often comes to my mind when reciting the poem. Many parents devote at least eighteen years of their life to raising children. Each day of the eighteen years is not a simple repetition of another. Child rearing practices and styles are not the same across cultures.
All parents want the best for their children. But different cultures have very different ideas about the best way to bring up children. In Denmark, children are often left outside to get fresh air while parents dine and shop nearby; however, a Danish mother along with her American husband were arrested for doing so in New York City. The incident set off an international debate about child care traditions and customs.
Amy Chua, a Chinese American with a Jewish husband, wrote a controversial memoir on parenting her daughters with opposite temperaments in two cultures. Her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, broadened and intensified the discussion on raising children in the increasingly globalized environment.
Some people argue that the Danish or the Chinese way of child rearing is better than the American approach. Others disagree completely. Parents often ask practical questions including how the French teach their kids to love healthy food, whether to allow a child to co-sleep with his/her parents like the Swedish do, and how Asians excel in school. The answers to these and many other questions on global parenting can be found in the following fascinating, eye-opening, and insightful books: