Yvonne Thornton

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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

Dr. T’s Midweek Memoir Media Blitz

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

I’m thrilled to tell you that my new memoir, Something to Prove: A Daughter’s Journey to Fulfill a Father’s Legacy, is getting lots of attention from TV, radio, print and online media.

I’ve already taped a couple of shows and will have details for you soon on when and where they will air. But this Wednesday (tomorrow!) is one of my busiest days to date. I’ll be on WNBC TV’s “New York Non-Stop With Chuck Scarborough,” the Tron Thompson Show in Colorado Springs (KCMN), and “AM Ocala Live.”

Hope you’ll tune in. Let me know if there’s something in particular you’d like to know more about when I’m on the air near you.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

Happy Holidays to All – With a Few Tips to Keep the Season Merry

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

You probably already have a hectic life that just got that much more hectic with the added responsibilities of the holidays. We women often feel pressure to do it all, and to make the holiday special for everyone else. But sometimes, we forget ourselves in the process. So, I thought I’d offer a few tips to plan a holiday that you can enjoy as much as your family and guests.

1. DON’T SHOP UNTIL YOU DROP: I know that budgets are tight for many, many people this year. So, resist the urge to splurge. Even if money isn’t an issue, time is. Don’t try to buy everything at once. Shop in the way that makes the most sense for you, whether that means strolling the mall or surfing the web.

2. LEAVE THE HAUTE CUISINE TO THE FOOD NETWORK GROUPIES: Having company over? Prepare what you can a day or two before, and keep it simple. Forget Mastering the Art of French Cooking this season. Your guests are there to see you, not the Iron Chef champion, so set things up in a way that lets you enjoy the celebration, too.

3: COUNTER THE CALL OF THE BUFFET TABLE: No matter how hard we try to stick to our eating plans, the holidays make it difficult. Fill up your plate with veggies and salad, and leave just a small space for the too-good-to-resist high calorie treats. Balance the inevitable extra calories with an extra walk around the neighborhood after meals. You’ll feel better, and you won’t have to hide the bathroom scale.

4: MAKE YOUR OWN SEASON MERRY AND BRIGHT: Be good to yourself this season. Check the local listings for gatherings that might be fun, or for church choir concerts. Go to a holiday movie. Re-connect on the phone or online with friends and family who have moved away. One of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself is to help those less fortunate. Donate to a food pantry. Visit a senior citizens home. Offer to take a shelter dog for a walk.

I know how tough it is for women to follow this simple advice (hey, I’m a woman, too), but I also know we’ll feel better if we do. So, I’ll try if you will.

Meanwhile, please stop by if you’re in the New York tri-state area for my book launch party at Barnes & Noble in West Nyack this evening for my new memoir, Something To Prove: A Daughter’s Journey to Fulfill A Father’s Legacy. Details are here.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

Ta-Dah! Please Check Out My Gorgeous New Website

Friday, October 29th, 2010

In preparation for the launch of my new memoir, Something To Prove, my website, DoctorThornton.com, was given a complete makeover. I have to say, I’m thrilled with the results, and hope you’ll like it too.

Here, you can find TV and radio interviews I’ve done with “Good Morning America,” “C-Span,” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”  Find out where I’ll be appearing to talk about and sign copies of Something to Prove.  You can even hear a performance of The Thornton Sisters, the all-girl family band (that’s me on the alto saxophone) that helped my sisters and me pay for college, medical school and beyond. The song, “Watch Your Step” was written by my older sister, Jeanette.  My younger sister, Linda, was lead vocalist (she is now a prosthodontic oral surgeon; back then, she was our drummer) and I am the soprano in the background vocals.

Browse through my photo gallery and then drop me a note on the Doctor Thornton contact page. I’m always happy to hear from you.

Please check back often as I expect to have plenty of new events to tell you about, right before Something to Prove’s publication and then, on an ongoing basis. And, of course, I’ll keep you updated here on the blog, as well.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

I’m a Cover Girl!

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

I’m delighted to say that Color magazine is running a lengthy profile about me that mentions The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, and gives a taste of my new memoir, Something To Prove, in this month’s issue. The magazine’s cover also features a photograph of me in my surgical scrubs – you just can’t get better coverage than that.

But what I like best is the article, written by Bridgit Brown. Ms. Brown reviewed an advance copy of Something to Prove, and later interviewed me, and I’m happy to report that her story got to the essence of what I am trying to share.

Please check it out – and let me know what you think.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

For my father, Donald Thornton, on Father’s Day

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Dear Daddy,

You know how much I relied on your guidance as I was growing up. But I wonder what you’d think if you knew that, even now, more than 26 years after we lost you to a stroke on a snowy February day, your wisdom still guides me.

I know you regretted dropping out of school as a young man and, although you seemed content to work 16 hours a day, it must have hurt not to have the opportunity to better yourself.

I know you wanted better for us, your children.

We may have grumbled when we were kids because you demanded so much. You insisted we get the highest grades in our classes. An A wasn’t good enough for you. You expected every grade to be an A+. We had to reach so high that nobody could yank us back down.

People laughed when you told them your five girls were going to grow up to be doctors. Impossible, they said.

And yet, as the first African-American woman to be board-certified in maternal-fetal medicine (high-risk obstetrics), I’m living proof that your dreams weren’t impossible after all.

Your dreams and your demands for us to do our best are the reasons why, among your five daughters, two are now physicians, one, an oral surgeon and another grew up to be a lawyer.

But I owe you for more than my career in medicine, Daddy. There isn’t a problem that I come across in life where I don’t ask myself, what would Daddy do? There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you. There will never be a time when I will stop missing you.

Even though, I know, you’re very much with me. Even now. Happy Father’s Day.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH