New America Media, First Person, Stephen Fong and Yuri Guan
Ed. Note: As any parent can tell you, there’s no single blueprint for guaranteeing a child’s academic success. Indeed, an entire industry has formed around providing parents with strategies for everything from how to make sure their child gets ahead in pre-school to getting into the college of their choice. But for recent high school grads Stephen Fong and Yuri Guan, the recipe for school success starts with some fairly basic ingredients.
The Not-so ‘Tiger Mom’ Approach to School Success
Through most of elementary school I believed myself to be truly stupid. Unaware then that I have dyslexia, all I knew, and all my parents could see, was that I hated anything and everything to do with reading or writing. But instead of trying to force better grades out of me, whether by hiring a tutor or by piling on extra homework, they took a more accommodating approach, which proved even more effective.
When I was in third grade my dad brought me to a live marital arts performance. He knew I was struggling in class and hoped to find other ways to instill confidence in me. I fell in love almost instantly and joined a nearby martial arts school soon after. The daily routine of kicks and punches, I began to think, weren’t that unlike what I did in the classroom, only the mechanics of martial arts seemed to come a lot easier. Around the same time I also began to learn Chinese, which tipped my parents off to my dyslexia. Unlike English, where letters and words often became jumbled on the page, I always got the strokes right when I wrote in Chinese.
These were minor victories, but for me they helped reverse growing insecurities about my own ability to succeed in school.
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