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Tiger Mother, Meet Yvonne Thornton, Lioness Mom (or, the Media Blitz Continues)

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Linda Villarosa, a reporter for The Root (part of the Washington Post family), an online magazine that focuses on black perspectives, recently interviewed me about Something To Prove: A Daughter’s Journey to Fulfill a Father’s Legacy. I’ve been interviewed by more media than I can name, at this point, and each reporter has wanted to discuss slightly different aspects of my new memoir. Ms. Villarosa was most interested in contrasting Something To Prove with another memoir that recently came out, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, a widely publicized book about an Asian mom who pushes her kids to excel.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

In her book, Chua, a Yale Law professor, discusses her struggle to raise brilliant, accomplished children — straight-A students and musical prodigies — using the lessons of her super-strict Chinese immigrant parents.

But another mom, also the author of a memoir that landed in bookstores about the same time as Chua’s, has already done it. She, too, was raised by super-strict, old-world parents, and she brought up her kids the same way. This mom, however, is black, and she prefers to be called a lioness.

“Parents don’t have high-enough expectations; they give up on their kids,” says Dr. Yvonne S. Thornton, 63, author of the new book Something to Prove: A Daughter’s Journey to Fulfill a Father’s Legacy. “No, I’m not a Tiger Mom; I’m a lioness. I growl when I need to growl, and set the bar high.”

The article went on to point to some of the issues I raised in Something to Prove about juggling motherhood and a career.

A few days earlier, I was again on NPR, this time chatting with Michel Martin on TELL ME MORE. We focused mostly on my father’s wisdom, which inspired me in so many ways, from my career decisions to the way I raised my own family. (And there’s not a day that goes by that Donald Thornton, AKA Daddy, doesn’t still guide my decisions). You can hear the interview and read the transcript, here.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH