David Brooks weighed in on the Chua controversy in his New York Times column today, titled “Amy Chua Is a Wimp.”
In the column, he argues that Amy Chua, the Yale Law School professor who recently published her new book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” did not actually teach her children the necessary skills to excel. Chua is “coddling her children,” Brooks said, protecting them from activities that are intellectually rigorous, such as navigating social groups at a sleepover. He writes:
Practicing a piece of music for four hours requires focused attention, but it is nowhere near as cognitively demanding as a sleepover with 14-year-old girls. Managing status rivalries, negotiating group dynamics, understanding social norms, navigating the distinction between self and group — these and other social tests impose cognitive demands that blow away any intense tutoring session or a class at Yale.
He added that groups succeed not when their average IQ is high, but rather when individual members are good at reading the emotions of others in the group.