The notion of encouraging kids to push past easy doesn't bother me. Nor do I think we harm them by requiring them to do things they don't feel like doing. But I do maintain that parents should motivate their kids to stretch a little.
This storyline is no longer about a Chinese-American mother and her parenting style. This narrative has exposed a raw nerve about the current zeitgeist of parenting and how best to raise our children in 21st-century America.
Neither too involved nor too uninterested parents have any interest at all in the inner life of their children -- their hopes, desires, dreams. And without nourishing those aspects, we starve them of everything from imagination to hope.