[T]he best thing they ever did for me was to discourage my perfectionist tendencies – indeed, when I was in elementary school, my dad offered to buy me a present if I got a C.
I think it was my parents’ lack of emphasis on grades that gave me room to foster my own desire for achievements. I developed a strong work ethic of my own accord, instead of doing it to placate my family.
He gave me two invaluable gifts: the space to cultivate my own desire for excellence, and the healthy psyche to pursue it.
Most Asian parents are tough on their kids. I want to, but I can’t. My wife once told me that she was stressed out because our seven-year-old’s reading level is two out of four and our almost-five-year-old doesn’t even want to recognize the alphabet letters. Her dream of her kids becoming doctors seems to be unlikely. I consoled her that as long as they won’t become criminals or end up in jail, I am fine with whatever they want to be. Yes, I am setting the bar that low and I am glad to see that Mr. Chia had done the same and it worked out for his kid.