The Choice

I don't even have children, but I am endlessly fascinated by the dust up that Amy Chua's book has caused. I think this article in The Atlantic does a fine job of pinpointing the fear that caused so many violent reactions to Chua's book. Caitlin Flanagan's last paragraph struck a chord with me.

"She understood early on—as the good mothers are about to learn, when the heartbreaking e-mails and letters from the top colleges go out this month—that life is a series of choices, each with its own rewards and consequences. In a sense, that is the most unpalatable message of her book, the one that has caused all the anguish: it’s an unwelcome reminder (how can we keep forgetting this?) that the world really doesn’t lie before us like a land of dreams. At best—at the very best—it can only offer us choices between two good things, and as we grasp at one, we lose the other forever."

As a dreamer, myself, her line that "the world doesn't lie before us like a land of dreams" made me uncomfortable. Mainly, because, if I didn't think that, I'm not sure I'd be where I am today. But at the same time, I understand completely what she means by choices. To put your heart and soul in one thing, often means they aren't going into something else. But what I've learned is that it all starts with what you think the choices are in the first place.