Dear Tiger Mom,
I have straight A’s but they are low A’s and not high-90s A’s. My Tiger Mom is always harping on about this. It’s driving me crazy. I want to scream, “Be satisfied already!” or “Shut up!” Obviously that’s not going to happen. Can you tell me how I can help her understand that straight A’s are already pretty fricking excellent?
I understand your Tiger Mom’s angle with crystal clarity. Perhaps it would be better for your sanity if I tried to explain her point of view to you and clarify your muddled thinking. Straight A’s are good. At least, they are worthy of a gold star and perhaps a pat on the back from the House Cat Moms. Real Tiger Moms demand excellence and perfection. If you get 95 percent, we want 99 percent. If you get 99 percent, we will need to know where the hell that last point went. When you finally achieve 100 percent, inquiries will be made as to whether you’ve made any progress on your SAT practice tests, because Canadian schools are good but Tiger Moms want their Tiger Cubs to get into Harvard so we can ask when you are going to create the next network of social people and where is your Nobel Prize for physics—even if you major in sociology, although heaven forbid you actually complete an arts degree.
Our reasons for demanding your excellence are simple. Other people have favourite sports teams, but Tiger Moms always root for their Tiger Cubs. At the weekly mah-jong games and the monthly potlucks, we like to compare our kids’ academic prowess and stats to those of our friendly competitiors, and everyone likes to be on a winning team. For Tiger Moms, our children are also a better socio-economic guarantee than the CPP or Canadian health care. When you are educated and rich, there will be plenty of opportunity and time to buy us a nice house, “pimp” our cars, and help with the adult diapers. Finally, Tiger Moms want to prepare their children for the trials and tribulations of the real world. As adults, we have to face demanding bosses, overly critical peers, boring and repetitive chores, and a changing global economy that threatens to undercut even white-collar jobs. If you can answer and survive the whims, storms, and rages of a Tiger Mom, then the world can be your oyster, or any type of sushi you prefer.