Author Amy Chua begins her book Day of Empire talking about her immigrant father. This is the anecdote that sticks:

Every evening when my father came home from work, I took off his shoes and brought him his slippers. Our report cards had to be perfect; while our friends were rewarded for B’s, for us getting an A-minus was unthinkable. In eighth grade, I won second place in a history contest and took my family to the awards ceremony. Somebody else had won the Kiwanis prize for best all round student. Afterward, my father said to me: “Never, never disgrace me like that again.”

Chua insists her childhood wasn’t horrible. Instead, she writes, her family gave her “strength and confidence.”

For more tales of the positive results of terrifying pressure check out this account of Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers – and How You Can Too

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