Amy Chua ousted the timid Rabbit and made 2011 the Year of the Tiger. Her book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, a memoir about how she raised fabulously successful children through strict parenting, became a global phenomenon. Parents everywhere fiercely debated the pros and cons of Chua’s extreme methods, but love her or hate her, all agreed that Chua is formidable.
Well Pshaw, Amy Chua. You Tiger Moms may know how to turn little kids into scholastic giants and musical prodigies, but how about picking on someone closer to your own size? January 23 is the Chinese New Year and the beginning of the Year of the Dragon – my year. Come stand by me, a Dragon Mom, and see what a real challenge looks like.
What Is a Dragon Mom?
Dragons were the exclusive symbol of China’s emperors for very good reason. According to the Chinese zodiac, Dragon people are passionate, fearless, bold and confident they can change the world. Imagine these crusading personality traits combined with parenting instincts.
There is a quiet revolution happening in our country. In the past, men were the main breadwinners and drivers of technology. Now it is women, inside and outside the home, who are leading usage in both wireless technology and social media networks. Our priorities are different, and we’re also taking to the streets to be heard.
Moms are facing down government officials over school funding, toting picket signs for fair working conditions, leading stroller brigades for marriage rights, and turning to blogs, Twitter and Facebook to advocate for issues like healthcare for all. We gave birth to the 99%, and a quick and dirty Google search on "moms at Occupy Wall Street" will turn up blogs such as this one by mothers who took their children to the rallies.
THESE ARE THE DRAGON MOMS!
Dragon Moms share a vision: A country where our kids -- and everyone’s kids -- are healthy, safe, and living the American promise of opportunity and a level playing field towards a bright future. We are willing to fight for it, and businesses, politicians and media ignore us at their peril.
Excellence, Duty, and Accountability
Dragon Moms may do our share of math drills, late-night homework checks, and incessant nagging about music practice, but not in the pursuit of glory for the sake of glory (to be the most admired, the most awarded, the “best”). Two things motivate us: high standards and a sense of responsibility to make a difference.
Dragon Moms expect everyone, not just our children, to perform, and we are sorely disappointed when people or institutions don’t or won’t do their jobs to the best of their ability. What kind of teacher or school administrator are you if you fail to educate our children and put their interests first? How dare you public servants, charged to act in our interest, actively subvert the regulations and standards this country needs to check polluters and protect consumers from corporate greed?
And nothing bothers us more than when we, ourselves, fail to successfully juggle families and jobs because of outdated labor laws and practices. Hey, lawmakers who continue to drag your feet on issues like Fair Pay and Paid Sick Leave? You are not on my side.
Dragon Moms combine an avid interest in the world with a sense of duty to make things better that stems directly from our maternal instincts. Dragon Moms pursue excellence in order to make a positive impact in our communities and on the world -- to be part of the solution to problems like poverty and injustice. We aim to leave a better world and a brighter future for our kids than what we've got, and we’ll hold accountable anyone or anything that gets in the way of that purpose just as we hold ourselves accountable.
Why 2012 Is the Year of the Dragon Mom
Dragon Moms don’t sit out elections. That's another trend we are driving: Women are more likely than men to vote, and in 2012, Dragon Moms are poised to explode as a constituency.
No new jobs bill? More attacks on Medicaid, unemployment insurance and other elements of the social safety net our families rely on? Further degrading of our public education system? Continued discounting of our increasingly desperate concerns about environmental threats to our kids? These are just a few issues on an extensive list of items that will tip millions of women across the country, transforming them into fire-breathing Dragon Moms.
The last straw for me was realizing Congress’s readiness to trade away something as basic to human life as clean air.
When Dragon Moms fully realize that 2012 is both a general election year AND a Dragon Year, it could be like throwing gasoline onto a bonfire. Famous dragons include Joan of Arc, Susan B. Anthony and Florence Nightingale, names that foreshadow our role in the coming months. Ambitious, unafraid of challenges, and doing everything on a grand scale, Dragon people are driven by a sense of destiny. Let me say that again: Dragon people are driven by a sense of destiny.
In 2012, political candidates who don’t heed Dragon Moms had better watch out, because we are going to be extra-motivated by the certainty that sweeping change is within our grasp.