12.31.2011

happy new years i'm not dead!

All my usual apologies, plus this one: I changed my twitter name to @sophiacaribou . Why? Well, I wanted my name in it, puns get old (especially when "phi" and "fi" aren't pronounced the same), and -- admit it -- you were expecting "tiger," weren't you.

I've never been one for diaries, but I used to write a super self-conscious, angsty life summary every New Year's Eve. I haven't done it for a while now, but I figure it's been quite the year. So I'm going to resurrect and subject you to an abbreviated bit of tradition. Very abbreviated, because I think for the most part you guys want to hear about two things: tiger mom and college, and how those two fit together. Here's what I have to say about it.

I'll be honest: the reaction to Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother made me question who I was. Before the book came out, I would have described myself as strong, independent, and self-motivated. That confidence, instilled in me by my family, was one reason I supported my mom's decision to publish the book in the first place. I thought people who read the book would take me and Lulu as living proof that kids of tiger parents turn out just fine.

To an extent, I was right. But the key phrase there is "who read the book."

Well, it turns out this is twenty-first century America, where achievement precludes happiness and psychologists hold panels called "Tiger Moms and Childhood Trauma." Have they even read my mom's book? Of course not, they read the Wall Street Journal excerpt and are boycotting the book on principle. Every troll has a constitutional right to trash that Asian witch and her brainwashed daughters in every far-flung corner of the internet. But they would never buy her book, hell no, it's all a moneymaking scheme and if you think you can trick them into funding Chinese supremacy, guess again. (How do I feel about that? Well, I support your lawful right to say whatever you want. I also support my playground right to break your nose if you call my mother names.) At least judge the book by its cover, people! The cover says it's a story of being "humbled by a thirteen year old!"

Ever since I was little, my parents have told me not to care what other people say about you. My dad is especially good at that, which is why he has been kicked out of various establishments for insubordination and chased out of restaurants by angry French chefs. When the book came out and the commentary came in, I wanted so badly to be that type of person. I succeeded halfway: I was able to shake off strangers' opinions of me, but their words threatened to change my opinion of myself.  I started to question Carnegie Hall, my schoolwork, and everything else I was proud of. Was I the one who had achieved my goals and dreams, or had it just been my mom standing over my shoulder the whole time?

That's why my first term at college was so important. I had to prove that I could thrive on my own, the way I always thought I had -- not to convince the world, but to convince myself. And good news: I found out I'm fundamentally the same person at college that I was before. My strengths haven't changed, and neither have my flaws (Will I be furious and depressed if I lose at Ghost? Yes. Have I ever lost a game of Ghost? No.). And that's what I have to thank my parents for: they made me a rock-solid person who can do things on her own.

As this year comes to a close, my confidence is back and it's here to stay. My family is tighter than ever. The tiger controversy has matured from a fight about stuffed animals to a conversation that I am confident will make America stronger, smarter, and more successful.You faithful few who still follow this blog are a big part of that, as is everyone who expressed support through letters, emails, and tweets :]

Have a great New Year's. Here's my mom's take on the same issue, by the way. Expect a Q+A as a retroactive Christmas present.
fondly,
tigercub

77 comments:

  1. Bonne année de Paris où je lis actuellement la traduction française L'Hymne de bataille de la mère tigre (Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother)

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  2. People are too lazy to read a book these days. And a lot of people tend to overreact. And I think that you can use all these (temporary?) attention to your advantage.

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  3. The Wall Street Journal certainly chose to excerpt a section of the book that, upon reading the book, was not indicative of the overall tone or message your mother ultimately made. That said, for as many people as the excerpt inspired to boycott the book, I'm positive it inspired more to read it. For as hard as it was for you to work through how all the opinions changed how you looked at yourself, you have learned an important life lesson earlier than most college-age students have, and I call that a victory.

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  4. You put the punk in spunk! ~wink~

    Seriously, though, I am so glad to see your feeling it at college and have your mo-jo back!

    Pop back on once in awhile and we'll forgive the inconsistent updates...because well, you owe us NOTHING and never feel guilty for having a life!

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  5. Happy New year Sophia! Wishing you and your family all the best for the coming year.

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  6. I thought your mom's book was a completely different creature from that WSJ excerpt and I'm glad I got over my initial aversion to actually read it. She kept me laughing and thinking the entire way through. Both your mother and you seem like brave, intelligent, funny women and the world needs more people like you! Take care, Sophia, and I hope you keep writing -- but like another person above said, you don't owe us anything. :) Happy New Year!

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  7. YOU'RE ALIVE! YAY!
    Just wondering, have you ever mixed up "your, you're" or "there, their, they're" before?

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  8. Did you get my letter? It's been months :(

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  9. Good post! I just wish you would post more often. What was your favorite Christmas present you received? What is your major? Do you still have a boyfriend?

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  10. By the way I did read the book and thought it was a very interesting and fun book to read. People get too uptight about what other people do.

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  11. What an insightful New Year's reflection. And YAY FOR THE Q&A!!!! What classes are you taking this coming semester? Are you still taking Arabic? I hope you are! :)

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  12. haters gonna hate. screw them, you're awesome. happy new year!

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  13. Hi Sophia,

    Happy New Year!
    Obviously, most of us don't have super-famous parents, or were scrutinized by the media. I think the hardest thing about the whole book was it was sort of a challenge to parents. Most parents aren't as devoted, driven, and strong as your mom. Clearly, she's excelled in her work and raising smart kids. The WSJ article made people feel like they were being challenged at the core of what is most important to them - the way they raise their children. Of course, if you read the book, you would see otherwise. Most people who actually READ the book can see 1) the sarcasm 2) how your mom talks about how Tiger parenting only kind of works and 3) how much she loves you guys.
    My heart goes out to you for having to go through this. I hope you stay strong, remember that you have huge fans, and have a good time at Harvard! Whether or not you decide to keep blogging, have a great time in college.

    Best of luck!!!

    Rory

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  14. Yay Sohpia!
    Your first semester has been important for you in terms of finding yourself. I enjoyed your mum's book, and didn't think much of people who made judgements on the book before reading it. Have a great new years!

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  15. Happy New year Sophia! and to your whole family. You are a wonderful well raised young lady. so don't take any crap from anybody, you have the right to brake their noses, regards to tiger Mom.
    Oleg

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  16. This post is probably the best explanation for why I follow ur blog! Did you get any crazy weird letters? I'm dying to know. :)
    Happy New Years Eve slash New Years!!!

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  17. Hey Sophia!
    Looks like you're leading quite the fulfilling life, thanks to both your mother's & your own unyielding tenacity. Admittedly, after reading that excerpt from the WSJ, I thought to myself, "That woman is crazy! Her poor kids!" I'm glad I decided to give the book a chance. I really liked your article in the Washington Post defending your mother. Both you and your mother have very articulately defended your values and methods.
    I hope you have a great time at Harvard... you deserve all the success you will achieve and more!
    xx

    Can't wait for your Q&A!
    a) What was the hardest part of high school for you? Favorite/least favorite years?
    b) How did your "tiger mom" react to your first boyfriend? When were you first allowed to date?

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  18. A poem for you:
    The cold weather continues
    Even the moon is cold
    At night she hides in the clouds
    Keeping the rain for herself
    As she walks past the stars

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  19. I'm glad you were able to realize all of that, Sophia. I hope that 2012 will be even better for you!

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  20. "It's nice to be important. It's more important to be nice." The Rock's mother.

    "It's most important to be #1" Tiger mom (I know it's not a quote)

    "Money can't buy you love"

    Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    Etc.

    Take your pick.

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  21. Hey Sophia:) A quuestion for your promised Q&A that I am sure you will post...maybe in a month or two :P

    I was just wondering, have you gotten your drivers license yet? If so, when did you get it, and if not, are you planning on getting one?

    thankyou!

    by the way, I am loving your blog! and your tweets haha

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  22. Great to see you update your blog! Have a Happy New Year!
    Are you saving yourself for marriage? Was you-know-what a significant topic in your family growing up?
    I know it's a bit personal (and creeperish) for a random stranger (and a fan of you and your family) to be asking such a question, but hey, curiosity killed the cat, and I wouldn't mind so much being killed by the epic tiger cub :-)

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  23. Happy New Year from the West Coast !
    Glad to hear that you survived the first term of college :P Really..I don't think your faith in yourself and in your parents will crumble just because of a few harsh criticism on your mom's memento.

    But I am shocked to learn that your opinion of yourself was changed when strangers learned about your life. It's your life! Whenever you set your mind to accomplish something, the thrill and joy in the process is something that nobody can question or challenge. I am a bit disappointed that your heart was not as unwavering as I thought it would be. Nonetheless, your confidence is back and I'm happy that you braved through whatever hurdles at Havhavd.

    Enjoy your holidays and happy new year !

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  24. happy 2012 and a belated hanukkah/christmas wish to you!

    i hope your second semester in college will continue to provide deeper insight about yourself :)

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  25. hello sophia! happy new year from singapore! wishing you all the best! is your boyfriend david in harvard too? do blog about your dating experiences if you don't mind, i would love to hear from you about that!

    "Very abbreviated, because I think for the most part you guys want to hear about two things: tiger mom and college, and how those two fit together."

    and sophia, i love you for who you are. your spunk, humour and vivacity. i read your blog to hear updates about YOUR life, and not about tiger mom. not that we aren't interested in it or anything, but it certainly isn't the main reason for being here. so...do blog about yourself more (if you have the time, of course). even if its something totally random like...your favourite type of food, i would still read it and love it

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  26. Happy new year Sophia! Send my best wishes to your family (especially Lulu, since she's my age. I feel like I could RELATE... but not really. At all.) Is Age of Mythology a computer game or a board game or something? If it's a board game that requires intense math skills then I totally understand why your mother would let you play it, but if it's a computer game, a) how did you find time in your schedule to even play, and b) how did you sneak it past your mother? :)

    I hope you have a great year!

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  27. Oh, and as a continuation of my previous comment...
    have you thought about giving Lulu a guest post? NOT THAT I DON'T ABSOLUTELY ADORE YOUR BLOG POSTS BECAUSE I DO but it would be nice to get to know the mysterious and rebellious photographer lurking behind the images of this blog... hi there Lulu. :)

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  28. Sophia, Happy New Year!

    I'd like to share a Chinese poem with you: 两岸猿声啼不住,轻舟已过万重山。

    The direct translation is that "while apes cry incessantly from bank to bank, my skiff has passed a myriad mountains row after row."

    Don't slow down your sailing due to haters' noise.

    Could you share your thoughts on private school v. public school?

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  29. Great stuff. The majority of Americans are angry opinionated trolls. Unfortunately with the Internet you get to see their ignorance on a regular basis. Don't listen to the pill-popping mothers with their spoiled kids. Instead, keep learning and enjoying school - it goes fast :)

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  30. looks like college has been great for you! I think you're a really confident and brave person, being so cool about your mom publishing a book about your family. I would have freaked out!( I have a tendency to get into... weird situations, my sister is the calm one). your abilities and accomplishments will always be your own, even counting all the amazing people who helped you get there, and you know it! love your blog xxx!

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  31. As a fellow tiger cub, I read the journal piece and was able to relate to it . I read the book later on, and found it to be both hilarious and thought provoking. I made my parents read it , and we had some really meaningful conversations for weeks afterwards, it helped us understand each other so much better, we all thank your mom very much! I absolutely love your blog , keep writing about your life! you are my inspiration!

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  32. Sophia,
    I absolutely LOVE your posts. I check in almost every day and am very disappointed when I don't see a new one. I am not writing this comment to make you feel bad for not posting more often (although I wish you did, but I know you are SO, SO busy, so no one blames you), I just think you're posts are amazing! You just sound like the most interesting/coolest person in the world!
    I decided this year that I was going to write a reflection letter ever New Year and really like the idea, but mine aren't depressing like the ones you said you used to write. It has also been quite a year for me, too, even though I'm only 15.
    I've been following your blog from the beginning since I did a current event analysis when your mom's book came out. I never judged it but never read the book. I plan on reading it now, for sure.
    Do people ever send "hate comments" here on your blog?
    Did you ever feel too sheltered growing up under the thumb of a tiger mom?
    Keep posting, please! We love your posts!

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  33. First of all, congratulations on all your success. You have a lot to be proud of and you should feel no obligation to defend your success.

    I recently read your mother's book and have highly recommended it to a lot of friends. I would say 50% of critics are in denial and the other 50% are merely envious---and most are both. It hurts their pride to think they might be somewhat responsible for their children's shortcomings. You might be more educated...but their daughter is better at gossip!

    The main criticism of pushing kids so much is that they might not become socially intelligent or even emotionally intelligent. You are living proof that theory has no basis.

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  34. You are an inspiration! I seriously believe that you are my role model. Do you have any good tips for College or High School?

    - #1 fan :)

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  35. You are absolutely right that there was a huge difference in the WSJ article and the book itself. I actually blogged a little bit about that the other day. Reading your mom's book really made me think twice about some of my parenting decisions. I was (and still am) very "Western" in my parenting, but your mom's points about why she parented the way she did really stuck with me. I'm making changes, slowly, but surely.
    http://houseofestrogen.typepad.com/house_of_estrogen/2011/12/channeling-my-inner-tiger-mother
    The blog post is rather tongue-and-cheek, but in all seriousness, I have kept your mom's book in the back of my head and definitely made changes because of it.

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  36. Hi Sophia! I have been suer fan of your blog since the beggining, and have a question that I would really like you to answer. How is your sister reacting to all of thins?? You do a fantastic job of expressing yourself, and I just really hope Lulu is ok during this public time in your life.

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  37. Strong,, independent & self-motivated? Not as long as you present yourself as daughter of the tiger mom...

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  38. haaaay sophia it's yo pp23 neighbor raytay and i like your tweets and blog posts and especially the dress you're wearing in that picture. see ya soooon :))

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  39. Hi Sophia! Having read the excerpt in WSJ and having heard of all the hoopla about your mother's book, I wasn't outraged - but rather shocked that the way in which you and your sister were raised was what it took to be la creme de la creme. Last month, I read your mother's book, and I thought it was hilarious. I've been raised in a less rigid, more free way, and in spite of the fact that I'm successful, I feel as though I would have been happier if I had more structure growing up.

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  40. sophia, you are the coolest! my questions--what activities were you involved in during high school? what do you want to do after college?

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  41. Happy new year Sophia, and I'm glad that you're alive :D
    Ok, I think you have a lot to be proud of, I wish my mum had been more like a tiger mother.
    Hater are just stupid persons who are jealous of you.
    I love your blog!

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  42. Hi Sophia, I enjoyed your blog post. I have read the book (I am a mom of a 15 year old and a 12 year old.) I completely agree that anyone who claims to know that "Hymn" is about is completely off base if they have not read the book. My coworker is of Filipino descent and her daughter just started kindergarten - she is always fretting about her "Tiger Mom" ways and I am ALWAYS telling her to read the book before using the term! I really enjoyed this opportunity to hear from you directly. Have a fantastic year!!!!

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  43. Hi Sophia! I would love to hear you speak in Chinese! Could you post a video of you speaking Chinese, please? :D

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  44. I have a question! How long have you been with your boyfriend, and does he go to Harvard too? If not, how do you make it work with him?

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  45. hey!! Would you mind posting answers to some of the questions we asked in comments to your previous post (the one with the Black Swan costume) as well in your Q&A? Would really appreciate it!

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  46. FYI, I wrote an article on my school newspaper justifying the one and only tiger mom! Respect.

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  47. I was trying to go to tiger direct.com, but Safari took me to your blog instead. 10 minutes later, I'm smiling at the end of your entry and writing a comment... I almost forgot about it!

    It's still amazing I'm friends with people like you, even if my Facebook blew off the faceoftheearth (for self-discipline reasons, ironically)... the last time I read a blog/instant message/forum post/tradestation triage with perfect grammar, let alone superb writing, was... well, when I helped my brother with college applications!

    Whatever...I'll stop trying to make clever writing. I hope this year will be your best yet, tomorrow will be the most peaceful yet, and that you're staying healthy, safe (don't take that the wrong way), and enjoying life in the best community of all time. And I'll try to remember to come back here later without adding your page as a bookmark, -Spence

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  48. Just wondering (I forget whether your mom mentioned it in the book or not)... Can you read and write Chinese, or can you only speak it?

    Thanks :D

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  49. I had read the "tiger" book a few weeks before break, and during a Christmas party I was able to convince some members of my family that you were, in fact, your own person and not a victim. Now there are 4 more people in the world who support you for who you are! :)

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  50. Which dorm are you in at Harvard?

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  51. Hey Sophia!
    I'm so glad you wrote another entry,I literally check your blog everyday!(except vacations of course...)
    Anyway, I'm your biggest fan and I really want to know the pros and cons of your high school life in Sophia-edition :)
    I really want to be like you and succeed in my life :D
    BTW, how do you survive high school?
    -your biggest fan, Chloe-

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  52. You're a really good writer. Have you ever thought about writing books like your parents? Same for Lulu, does she think about that? I remember reading in the book, near the end, that she wanted to spend more time on writing and improv. Happy New Year!

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  53. "And good news: I found out I'm the exact same person at college that I was before."
    I'm glad that your confidence is back, but I actually find it a bit perplexing at the same time that you seem to think that it's such a good thing that you are the exact same person at college that you were in high school... I feel that college is a time to explore different sides of yourself and discover new passions, strengths, and weaknesses, not stagnantly stay the EXACT same person you were in the past.

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  54. and no, I don't mean start playing the drums, which inevitably leads to drugs, or run buck naked into the ocean... le sigh.

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  55. dear anonymous @8:48, 8:54:

    you're totally right, and you'll notice my edit in the post. i actually addressed this issue in my grad speech, criticizing the idea that changing is somehow not being true to yourself. obviously i've changed in a lot of ways since i left home. what i meant to say is that i have have a sense of self that isn't tied to my family. thanks for reading :)

    sophia

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  56. Hey Sophia!!!
    We would LOVE to hear about life in general or whatever is on your mind at the moment, not necessarily just college and tiger mom! Also, you are a GREAT writer, but it's not like you're submitting these blog entries to English class or anything, so plz don't feel pressured to always have perfect grammar, perfect sentence structure, etc. and don't listen to trolls who feel like they have the right to criticize you on here. I hope you'll love everything about spring semester and keep your blog updates coming! :)

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  57. Sophia,

    I am sure you hear this a lot but you write REALLY well. I loved your mom's writing and I think you have a similar tone, humorous but focused, that you should really develop. I really wish you would write about the Zeitgeist more. Try it out in college, mess up a few times (don't go nuts over it), and by the time you are in your mid-20s you will be New Yorker material.

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  58. I hate trolls. They suck. Especially the ones on this blog, because you're a teenage girl who never really asked to be in the spotlight in the first place.

    That said, I thought I'd dredge up this quote from one of your earlier blog posts, which I have had in mind on the occasions when I've left comments on here: "I’m totally interested in your respectful thoughts and criticisms. So by all means, keep being honest – just leave the racial/sexist slurs out of it."

    While I have a lot of respect for you, Sophia, there are still (relatively few) times when I don't agree with everything you say, or just want to (non-combatively) challenge one of your assertions to see if you'll clarify it. If you've changed your mind from the above quote, please let us know; you have the right to at least ask that the comments on your blog be confined to flattery and positive questions (no sarcasm or snark intended in the last sentence. like actually, you can let us know.) But it felt like you started this blog to have a pseudo dialogue with people aware of your mom's book, and when I have dialogues even with my best friends, I sometimes respectfully challenge their ideas.

    There is a difference between insensitive, bitter trolls and people who have thoughtfully read your mom's book, media critiques of it, and your blog, but still may not be 100% on board with the Chubenfeld lifestyle. I'm sure you recognize this. But you also mentioned that you, like your father, don't take criticism well, and so maybe you'd rather not see it on here. Obviously, all criticisms (differences of opinions or challenges) should be phrased politely and respectfully. Many people that disagree with you have trouble doing this, but should those that can manage it still have their noses broken?

    I believe in playground rules, and maybe you've been through enough that you've earned the right to be broadly dismissive and undiscerningly defensive. Truly, that could be a legitimate argument, at least for a blog. But I'm just bringing this up to remind you-- and just as much so other readers on this blog-- that flattery is fairly cheap. Personally, I think that conversation amongst equals creates more genuine respect. (I'm sorry that sentence sounds pretentious.) Afterall, you're a nineteen-year-old woman who took on the responsibility of starting this blog. As a nineteen-year-old woman myself, I feel confident that you are responsible enough to handle the consequences that stem from it.

    Basically, I don't at all want to talk down to you or twist your words, but I just wanted to remind/ask everyone involved not to be so reflexively dismissive or snarky when faced with opinions that don't instantly, 100% match up with their own.

    As always, thanks for the post, and I look forward to the Q&A! If you ever decide to retire the blog, just let us know via twitter.

    P.S. can i have your clothes?

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  59. It's both disturbing and incredibly telling to see the 1 leader and many followers mentality at work amongst America's youth as seen through this blog. Gooey/syrupy, desperately breathless adulation over a peer is just weird. At a mere 19 you can interject that protective armour and stamp my comment as a troll. Yet ask yourself if cutesy cliche's, illusions of grandeur, and fawning all over yourself might be the voice of a normal, awkward teenager and not a confident young lady. While you're an exceptional girl in the eyes of your parents; a Harvard diploma is what it is, a degree from an Ivy institution of highter learning. You won't be the first to get one, and you certainly won't be the last.

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  60. Kudos, Sophia, and a rather belated happy new year!

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  61. To the Anonymous commenter above: what is so self-adulating about this blogger? I find her self-depracating and humbled, and possessing a strong inner-poise and inner-confidence all at once. Is that really so wrong? The readers of this blog are largely fans of her writing style, and many are able to connect with her personal story. Just let it be and move on.

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    1. I agree! I think it's also really cool that Sophia is a rebel/rule-breaker but in a very unique, meaningful way!!!

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  62. you're awesome. screw what other say. half of the people wish they were as talented and intelligent as you and the other half just like to hate on anyone that excels. well you're unique, be proud of it Sophia.

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  63. Hi Sophia! I think you're smart, confident, and hilarious. Don't let anyone change how you feel about yourself and what you've done in life. It is human nature to criticize anyone put in the public eye, in your case, because people feel threatened that their own child rearing is sub-par or because they are jealous of you. Your dad is right - don't let what anyone says bother you. Your poise and accomplishments speak for themselves!

    Sincerely,
    Someone who's been there before!

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  64. I loved your mom's book! when/if you have children someday, will you raise them the same way? What would you change?

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  65. your mom's on yahoo!

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  66. H8R$ guNN@ h8. but as for me, I think you and your mom are fabulous! You should be proud of your accomplishments, because their YOURS, not your mothers. Yes, your mother instilled discipline and drive, but ultimately these achievements are products of YOUR motivation, YOUR dedication, and YOUR will power. Yes, you've become the accomplished and bright young woman we see today because of the way your mother raised you, because of how she taught you that you are capable of so much more, because of how she always believed in your potential. I guess what I'm trying to say is that YOU went after YOUR dreams, which is what your mother always wanted.
    Good luck at Harvard! I'm sure you'll do great!

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  67. I believe America's reaction to the book magnifies their fear of hard work.

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    1. HAHA YES. This is so true.

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  68. this article is sooo funny!
    http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/5/10/yale-new-harvard-shaws/

    but in all seriousness, I can definitely see you as the president/leader of a renowned institution like Harvard in the future. I think this declining nation would benefit greatly from youths like you who seem to already show potential even as a college freshman to become a great thinker and leader.

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  69. you are like my ray of sunshiiiinnnneeee xD

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  70. Hi Sophia,
    It seems like you were exceptional at English, Classics, and Ecology in high school. I know you got A's in all of your other courses as well, but winning awards in particular classes denotes best of the best! I was wondering why you aren't considering majoring in any of those fields? I definitely don't think changing from high school to college is bad (in fact, I encourage it), but I think with regard to subjects, if you were exceptional enough in those areas to not only get A's but also win awards at your top private high school, I don't understand what is keeping you from considering majoring in one of those fields. Is it because your mom has something against being a English, Classics, or Ecology major or double major?

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  71. Hi Sophia

    You are a very lucky girl, with amazing parents, who strive to give you the best in life.
    Good Luck for the future.

    Best Wishes...

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  72. Hi Sophia,
    Will you be writing another very angsty post at the end of your freshman year? I actually love all your posts (to-do, frivolous, insightful), but I must say that I love your non-angsty posts much more (maybe b/c I have very angsty teenage siblings lol)
    Best wishes as always!

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  73. yah i think that Sophia would be a huge asset to government with her leadership, critical/creative thinking, and speaking/writing skills because many systems (including medicine/health care and law/judicial) are broken due to subpar government leadership and these systems need major "fixing"

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  74. Your dad is right about not letting people affect you with what they say, especially about your mother who I think raised you perfectly. This may sound a bit racist, but I think Western parents are not as good as Chinese parents when it comes to raising children. Western parents prefers spoiling their children, giving them freedom, hugs and kisses every time and those kids end up being so dependent and spoiled. They don't have manners and they don't take care of their parents when they get old, which should be the time to pay them back after raising us so well.

    Don't let your confidence down, you made it because you gave your best and you worked hard. Your mom was just there to guide, encourage and motivate you. It was you who made it all work. I think your mom agrees on that. = )

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  75. Just read your mother's book. Being married to an Indian who was raised in a strict academic household, I had always known that the critics of your mother's book were taking things out of context. It was a relief to read the book and to discover that this was, indeed, the case.

    We're raising our half breed daughters who are now 6 and 4 in a very similar way. The "being humbled by a 13 year old" was eye opening, however. Our second daughter is much like LuLu and plays the violin in the Suzuki method. She loves soccer and it will have to be about finding a balance between the two.

    I'm sure I'll find the need to pick up the book again after 5 years as a refresher. It cemented my confidence in our parenting method... as a whitey American I often succumb to the fear that we might be ruining our girls' confidence, but I no longer feel this way thanks to Battle Hymn!

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