asphodellium

Posts Tagged ‘chinese

My under-ten piano students are great fun, but there’s always pressure from their parents to “make them fear me.” As if there won’t be satisfactory progress unless I somehow scare them into practicing.

Seriously. They could fire me for not being mean enough.

Is it a Chinese thing to confuse fear and respect? I’ll admit that it’s taken me some time to settle into a reasonable level of expectation for my students and tutees. (My default tendency in general is to expect too much from myself and too little from others.)

It’s my role to show my piano students what and how to practice. I’m not sure forcing them to practice is my business. Of course the understanding is that they will. If they do, they’ll progress quickly. If they don’t, they’ll progress slowly or not at all.

And if the desire to practice is entirely absent, maybe they shouldn’t be coerced into piano lessons in the first place? Obviously I’m thinking as a parent now, not a teacher. I guess what I’m wondering is, when do I push my child, and when do I lay off? Is there a difference between directing my children’s interests and allowing their interests to emerge naturally? How do I navigate that space?

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Traditional Chinese medicine has a whole whackload of random beliefs about pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care.

Okay, maybe “random” is unfair. I can trace most of it to the belief that pregnancy is a “hot” condition, whereas at birth all the “heat” leaves with the baby, so the postpartum period is a “cold” condition. All the superstitions are meant to address that imbalance.

Ultimately everything traces back to the philosophy of yin and yang. I don’t believe in yin and yang, so does that mean I summarily reject all of traditional Chinese medicine?

I would, actually. Except this stuff is deeply engrained, passed down from generation to generation. Every east Asian I know abides by it to some degree or another. My mother-in-law is Taiwanese and quite traditional. She was wary of me eating ice cream during my period, and she’ll probably want me not to leave the house for a month after munchkin is born. My own mother is, I would say, more conservative than traditional, but even she’s dropped some tidbits on me. In past weeks I’ve received all kinds of unsolicited advice, including:

  • “Don’t wear heels.”
  • “Don’t wear flip flops.”
  • “Don’t wear jeans.”
  • “Don’t walk too quickly.”
  • “Careful when you squat or bend over.”
  • “Don’t jump!”
  • “Don’t have sex in the first trimester.”
  • “Don’t have cold drinks.”

I know everyone means well, so I honestly don’t mind too much. Mostly I just do the polite (albeit insincere) smile-and-nod. Besides, once I put on ten or twenty pounds I doubt I’ll want to wear heels!

But haven’t women been giving birth for thousands of years? I find it hard to believe that babies – or pregnant women – are that fragile.

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