A Tiger Father’s Quest for Success

Last week I read Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and although I thought Chua left out some very important information, I was inspired to become a Tiger Parent. My son is two, which means it may already be too late to turn him into an achievement. That’s Amy Chua’s fault for not writing her book earlier, but I decided to forge ahead to see what I can accomplish. I was determined to devote every minute of every hour to making my son be exactly what I wanted him to be, no matter what the consequences. Failure was no longer an option.

I started to wonder which path would be best for my son’s road to success. He’s Catholic, so politics was out of the question. But sports, now there’s the perfect opportunity. I thought about how much financial and sexual success Tiger Woods has had. Tiger Woods. Tiger Parent. Coincidence? I think not.

So with the road decided, I needed to pick a sport for him. It needed to be something that we could play all year round – morning, noon, and night. It needed to be a sport that I could force him to play so often that he would come to despise me and that sport, and then use that hate to fuel his success. That’s what Tiger Parent’s need to do to their Tiglets.

I first thought about having him play soccer, but that’s a lazy sport. I mean, Spain is the best country in the world at soccer right now. What do they do, play soccer in between their siestas?

So the first week I tried to teach him real football. But he couldn’t even catch the ball. I’d throw him perfect pass after perfect pass, but they just kept bouncing off his face. After three hours a day for a week, I decided he wasn’t cut out to be a football player. You do not catch footballs with your face. You just don’t do that.

The next week was baseball. Unfortunately, this went the same way football did, except this time I wasn’t throwing balls at him, I was hitting them. I understand using your body to block a ground ball, but I don’t think using your face every time is a good idea. And he wouldn’t even throw it to first. So baseball obviously wasn’t his sport.

The week after that, we played basketball. More balls bouncing off his two-year-old face.

The ball themed sports clearly weren’t working. It was time to go a different route. I got him a pair of boxing gloves and shoes to see if fighting was his sport. Guess what? He was terrible at that too. As a Tiger Father, you know I wasn’t going to half-ass it, but I at least expected my son to know how to block. He wouldn’t even keep his hands up! Did he think I was only going to work the body? We went over the strategy time and time again, but what’s this? Oh, another uppercut to his baby face.

My son may not have been the best with punching or blocking, but if the boxing training taught me one thing, it’s that he can take a hit. So I didn’t want to leave fighting behind just yet. I thought maybe if I let him use his legs, he might show some promise. After all, he just learned to walk less than a year ago, so the motor function of his legs should be fresh in his memory. But – surprise, surprise – I landed kick after kick with not even so much as a counter jab from him. It was pathetic.

I have knife fighting planned for next week. If that goes well, we’ll move on to swords, but I’m really not too optimistic.

Related: Dear Amy Chua, Where’s the Part about Raising Freakishly Fertile Children?


Author: Joe McVeigh

I'm a linguist who researches email marketing. I also teach at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. I write about language and linguistics on my blog, ...And Read All Over, and I write about language and marketing on my other blog, Email and Linguistics.

5 thoughts on “A Tiger Father’s Quest for Success”

  1. DudeYou took it too seriously…. i mean being a tiger dad has lots of advantages but lots of disadvantages as well.you should be strict but please let him choose his career…FOR EXAMPLE : if he wants to become a doctor instead of a sportsperson,please support him…although you should be strict…make sure he always gets an A in biology,maths and other science subjects.make sure he is not bunking classes for movies…make sure he gets into the best medical school.Thus you can have a balance between strictness and leniency….if you are too lenient,then your kid will become a loser but if you are too strict,then it will hinder his creativity and life experiance,plus they hate their parents for the rest of their lives…you dont want that do you??Their are lots of kids in harvard whose parents are Tiger parents.they get As in every subject but lack practicality,they cant think beyond what they learnt at school and home as they have no life adventures….i hope that helps…..Please be a mixture of tiger dad and lenient dad,it will make you the best parent in the world…and tell your freinds too….GOD BLESS

  2. Thanks for the advice, Anonymous. I think medical school is the way to go. I mean, my son's athletic ability just wasn't there – you'd think he'd at least try to catch the ball after getting hit in the head a few times!I'm always looking for the balance in life, so I guess you're right – I should look for it in parenthood too. I don't want to be too lenient and have my son turn out to be a loser, but I don't want to be too strict and have him be an uncreative hater. So I think my new role as a tiger parent is to make him a creative and life experienced person that loves me or a loser that hates me. I'll accept either result.

  3. this post is just sad…. not trying to be a hater but it's just sad…… i hope this whole thing is a joke and was written as funny anecdote… if it's not…. this guys needs to get professional "CHILD CARING" help.Be a Man… A real Man…. …not a boy who can shave.sad…..

  4. It's obviously a joke. Anybody that thinks this could possibly be serious needs to lighten up a little. That being said… Well played, sir. That was an enjoyable read.

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