“I was uncomfortably aware that my father always sought impossibility […] to discipline the farm and ourselves to a life and order transcending many things, but especially mere whim.” P. 46
Hard order and discipline can be added to one’s life to bring about positive changes to it. This can be implemented into our lives at any given point, be it from our toddler years by our parents, to later into our adult life. And, like any practice, there are those who take it to its most extreme or radical levels. As an example, we’ve all most likely heard about the phrase “tiger moms”, referring to the mothers in this world that enforce very strict, “hyper-disciplined” parenting on their children in order to create a better focus on their academic achievements in their later lives.
This can include severe restrictions on their child’s social lives, diet, and extracurricular activities, instead placing that focus into difficult teaching/tutoring regimens and daily work/chores. This, in these parents’ eyes, would help bolster their child’s work ethic and appreciation for academia. And in a recent article done in TIME, it talks about a specific study done about the effects of that specific style of parenting. The researchers talk about how these methods are implemented as more of a cultural tradition rather than solely for the benefit of the children. And while these methods do garner results in the children’s overall academic achievement, they have also resulted in most of them having self-image and parental relationship problems, more so than that of the White-American families in the study.
Having been raised by my parents (who are south-asian natives that immigrated to the US), I’ve felt the effects of that kind of discipline first-hand, but slightly diluted. All throughout their lives, they came from families that placed a heavy emphasis on their education and future plans. At the same time, however, they didn’t lose sight of their social and extra-curricular lives, understanding that there needed to be a healthy balance of both in order to stay sane.
I felt that this passage really spoke to the amount that this family’s patriarch had cared for the well-being of his family in his own way, and how it may have come across as dysfunction to them. For a while when I was younger, I saw my parents as very controlling and overbearing, seeing as they pushed me harder and harder in my studies while not really allowing me a social life outside of school. As I grew older they became more relaxed about it, of course, but it wasn’t until later that I realized that they had wanted what was best for me, and they were merely using methods previously used by their parents. It was reading about Larry’s systematic and disciplined managing of his family and his farm that truly reminded me of the cycle of cultural upbringing that has always existed in my family.