May 20

Way back in the begin­ning of my foray into copy­edit­ing, a writer named Bathsheba Smithen was referred to me. As we worked together on her first book, Who Cares What You Think … So What You Think?, I was tick­led to dis­cover how much we had in com­mon — despite much of her life and work tak­ing place in inner-city, poverty-challenged neigh­bor­hoods, and mine in Mid­west­ern com­mu­ni­tiess, some prac­ti­cally rural; despite the fact that she is black and I am white; despite the fact that she is in her 20s and I am in my 40s. Turns out, we have lots in com­mon! — not least, that we are both mar­ried and each have a child we have adopted as our own and a younger child we gave birth to; that we both hold Master’s degrees; that we both lean on our Chris­t­ian faith, even amid chal­lenges and doubts. Please take a cou­ple min­utes to meet Sheba for yourself:

I went on to help Sheba with more of her writ­ing: Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 22

(So sorry for the lack of ital­ics or under­lin­ing or quo­ta­tion marks for the book title above. The blog­ging soft­ware doesn’t allow styles in the title field, and quo­ta­tion marks totally mess up the whole thing. Grr!)

This is a longer-than-usual post, but since it is a book review, I didn’t want to split it into two or more parts. I hope you will enjoy my reflec­tions and per­haps be moved to read the book your­self. Please let me know what you think in a com­ment below.

I just fin­ished read­ing Bat­tle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua (Pen­guin, 2011). It stirred up quite a con­tro­versy upon its release, so I requested it from our local library to see what all the hub­bub was about.

Chua, the American-born daugh­ter of Chi­nese immi­grants, writes of how and why she val­ues the Chi­nese tra­di­tion of parental author­ity and the belief that – in my words, not hers – father and mother really do know best. She uses the terms “Chi­nese par­ent­ing” and “West­ern par­ent­ing” some­what loosely, explain­ing that, of course, nei­ther all Chi­nese par­ents nor all West­ern par­ents see eye to eye. In fact, she acknowl­edges, some actual Chi­nese par­ents have adopted pat­terns of leniency with their kids, while some U.S. par­ents with­out an ounce of Chi­nese blood fall more in line with Chi­nese par­ent­ing than with the style more com­mon in the United States.

Chua shares that as a child, she was not allowed to do such things as the fol­low­ing; nor did she allow her own two daugh­ters, Sophia and Louisa (“Lulu”) to do them:

  • Attend a sleepover;
  • Have a playdate;
  • Choose their own extracur­ric­u­lar activities;
  • Get any­thing less than straight As;
  • Play any instru­ment other than piano or violin;
  • Not play piano or violin.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 26

Like me, my sis­ter, Shan­non Hyland-Tassava, is a writer. Actu­ally, she does more orig­i­nal writ­ing at the present, while I am pas­sion­ate about help­ing oth­ers’ writ­ing shine. I’ve writ­ten a few pieces here and there — the Fore­word in a forth­com­ing book, a few arti­cles for the web-zine 10,000 Cou­ples, and some of the monthly con­tent of a sub­scrip­tion pub­li­ca­tion for church newslet­ter cre­ators — but Shan­non now has two essays pub­lished in antholo­gies related to wom­an­hood and moth­er­hood. I invite you to check them out!

The first essay, “The Mommy Wars Killed Our Friend­ship…,” Read the rest of this entry »

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