Grand Daughter of the Revolution

Beijing, China

I couldn’t help but remember the TIME article on hyper-parenting, when I arrived in Beijing to meet with a man whose father had been arrested in China during the Cultural Revolution. “It was 1968, and he just happened to belong to the wrong party. He ended up spending 3 years in jail. I had no one to look out for me, and so I had to survive by living on the streets.”

Two decades later this man would earn a PhD in economics and go on to a spectacularly successful career in international investments. “I think that having to survive for those 3 years on my own, that’s really what made me. I learned how the world works. And I learned how to get along with all kinds of people”

When he talked about his own daughter’s childhood, (“She has her horse back riding and tennis lessons today.”) he fairly glowed.

“Do you ever worry that, by giving your daughter everything she could possibly want, you might be depriving her of the very ‘resiliency-making experiences’ that were so vital to your own success?”

“No. Not at all. I just want her to be happy.”

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