There has been too much talking about the "Tiger Mom" article / book / culture difference, etc, that I didn't even care to blog about it. I only found out today that Andrew has blogged about it as well. His argument about whether you feel special about yourself made me think. So here is my two cents.
The story of the rabbit and the turtle (you can find so many versions online) can essentially summarize the main message of the education I have received not only from my parents but also my teachers. Rabbit represents someone who has a lot of talents and turtle someone who doesn't. The conclusion is two-fold. One, if you don't work hard, your talents are wasted. Second, even for someone with limited talent, working hard has a high reward. Just imagine what hard work will do to someone with a little more taltent (you!).
The guideline is then simple: work hard, harder and the hardest, no matter what.
Implicitly, it also means that you are responsible for your own "success". If you "fail", it only means that you didn't work hard enough (you can't be as slow as a turtle, right?).
However, I think a subtle message that didn't get discussed a lot was turtle's attitude in the story. Turtle was focused on trying his best but not winning (at least in some version of the story). I am sure he enjoyed the race even though he was not at all "goog at it." To me, this is the more important lesson of the story: "work hard and enjoy!"