Author Rayfil Wong teaches kids the secret success is through the power of persistence.
Tiger Mom, move over. What Chinese kids and all kids really need to succeed today, according to Chinese educator, motivational speaker and author Rayfil Wong is a Unicorn Mom.
A Unicorn Mom, according to Wong, gently encourages her children to be creative, persistent and to embrace failures as stepping stones on the way to a successful meaningful life.
“Who is successful in China today? It is not your typical college graduate but self-confident entrepreneurs who seize opportunities and are not afraid to fail,” says Wong.
Wong added that if United States hopes to stimulate the economy the best way will be prepare kids through teaching them self-development traits such as being persistent and overcoming fear of failure.
Wong, a UC Berkeley graduate and former“American Inventor” reality show contestant, has taken a stance against what he views as the extreme parenting techniques presented in Amy Chua’s recent book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom.
Wong credits his own academic and career and success not to having a strict Tiger Mom but to his Chinese mother’s wise emphasis on the importance of people skills.
“My mother was not a Tiger Mom forcing me to practice piano or denying me sleepovers opportunities. Instead, she was the opposite. She made it clear that the secret to success was having great people skills. She encouraged me to develop my people skills with church sleepovers. My mother also helped me host my first garage sale where I sold my used toys for cash when I was ten years old. My mother was a Unicorn Mom. She was able combine teaching discipline with love and encouragement,” he said.
Wong was born in Hong Kong, a city known for hustle and bustle. His dad was a restaurant manager who believed that the stressful environment would not be good for his son so he decided to relocate the family to San Francisco. Wong’s mother was a stay-at-home mom in Hong Kong but in San Francisco, helped the family cope with the higher cost of living there by learning English and taking clerical jobs.
Like American-born Tiger Mom author Chua, many of the Chinese American kids Wong encountered in the U.S. were driven, sometimes to the brink of despair, by very narrow definitions of success.
Wong said, “I remember being a camp counselor for a Chinese American church and the common pattern was that the kids felt stressed and even suicidal from the pressure they were under to over-achieve in school. Their parents expected them to attend Harvard. The kids bought into it and though that getting into Ivy League schools was the only way to validate their self worth.”
“He thought he had failed so he jumped from a 26th floor window,” Wong said. “I knew a paradigm shift was needed.”
This was very different from the message that Wong’s Unicorn Mom was giving him – that failure was not the end but just an opportunity to learn. Wong credits this life lesson with helping him develop a relentless persistence.
Wong returned to his native Hong Kong where he’s now lived for several years. There he became keenly aware that like his mother had taught him, the successful business people were those who shrugged off failures and saw it as an opportunity to try something new.
A fan of self-help guru Tony Robbins since middle school, Wong decided to put his Chinese mother’s teachings into a new interactive self-help book for children called “The Brave Unicorn .”
“I learned from self help books as a kid that we must attack our fears, not run away from them. We simply fear certain things because we have not done them before. In high school, I attacked my fear of public speaking by joining the speech and debate team. This was a life changing breakthrough.”
Wong described how he used to have nightmares and anxiety before speaking in front of public but now he claims that this is his passion.
In 2007, Wong demonstrated his public speaking skills when he was on American Inventor Reality Show pitching his idea the Sober Key, a device to prevent car key access to drunk drivers. He felt comfortable on stage and even did a robo dance and became a viral hit.
Now he is speaking to the public again to take his Unicorn message to children and parents all over the world.
“The Brave Unicorn is a paradigm shift that presents hope to kids to help them realize that failure is not the end but just a learning lesson. If we can prevent even one kid from committing suicide or feeling despair, it will have been well worth doing.”
Wong weaves in elements of traditional tales he learned from his mother, father and grandparents into a tablet app perfect for today. The result?
Wong has received great reviews. “Great characters, great story, great read, great fun!” Matt Fleming, managing editor and books editor – Time Out Hong Kong
“The Brave Unicorn: Conquer Fears and Achieve Goals” is available at Apple itunes Book Store. Visit http://www.thebraveunicorn.com/ for more details. Readers may also become a part of the 7000+ facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheBraveUnicorn
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