web analytics
December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Midwinter Break


Dear Rabbi Horowitz:

We have an upper-middle-class family. Baruch Hashem, we both work and are able to make ends meet, pay full tuition for our children’s educations, and have some money left at the end of the month to save for our children’s future educational needs and our retirement.

We find ourselves faced with an increasingly challenging experience each year when midwinter break comes around. Some of our children’s friends go on expensive vacations with their families, and our kids are asking us to send them on similar trips. Our children are respectful whenever they discuss this with us, but there is a clear sense that they feel “left out” because they don’t go to the exotic location like some of their friends.

We keep going back and forth on this issue. Should we just “go with the flow,” or instead stick to our guns and say that we just don’t feel the need to spend so much money on a vacation that lasts a few days.

Respectfully,

Aviva and Yosef

Dear Aviva and Yosef:

Having raised our children on a mechanech’s salary, I can certainly identify with your dilemma of raising your children on a lower standard of living than some or many of their classmates. Stepping back a bit, the overall matter of “Keeping up with the Cohens” is something that many adults have a hard time dealing with. With that in mind, I give you a great deal of credit for not taking the expedient route of charging an expensive vacation on your credit card(s) and caving to communal pressure. If all adults built their homes, purchased their automobiles, and planned their simchahs that way, we would have less stress in our lives.

Therefore keep in mind that there are profound lessons for your children to learn from this experience, and significant opportunities for your family to bond during the mid-winter break. Here are some suggestions:

1) Be honest with your children. Sit down with them as a group and explain things to them just as you described them to me. Many parents never discuss finances with their children, and then complain when their teenage children think that money “grows on trees.” The more you acquaint them with budgeting and making appropriate choices with the finite amount of money at hand, the better prepared they will be to mange their own household finances in the future.

2) Give them choices of less expensive things to do during their midwinter break. In fact it may be a good idea to give your children an overall figure of what you can afford to spend on the midwinter break, and let them have a voice on how to spend it. There are lots of inexpensive things you can do together as a family (i.e. ice-skating, snow-tubing) that are less expensive than skiing or taking trips that require you to spend money on airfare and hotels. Most of what children appreciate and cherish as fond memories of vacation time is your “quality time” with them. Try to set things up so that you can give them your undivided attention during the time you spend together on mid-winter break.

3) In the broadest sense, I suggest that it is a good idea to teach your children about the value of money and the importance of budgeting. Open custodial savings accounts with them and encourage them to put some of their birthday, Chanukah and Purim gifts there. Perhaps offer them a “matching gift” incentive where you give them, say, 50 cents for every dollar that they bank and leave in the account for a year. This will ingrain in them good habits of thrift and responsibility. It will also allow them to better understand your line of reasoning when you refuse their request for financial reasons.

4) Finally, always keep in mind that the golden path of moderation is the preferred one. Worded differently, I would say that when we veer too far to the right or left of the shvil ha’zahav, things tend to backfire. So don’t go overboard in your refusal to “keep up with the Cohens.” Remember that you can pick and choose with whom you wish to associate, while your children – like it or not – spend 8-12 hours daily with their class peers.

About the Author: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam and founder and director of Agudath Israel's Project Y.E.S.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Midwinter Break”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Brandeis University junior Khadijah Lynch who tweeted she has "no sympathy" for slain NYPD officers, shown here on "Wake Up With Tayla Andre, "Dec. 24, 2014.
A War of Words (Some More Accurate Than Others) at Brandeis
Latest Sections Stories
Collecting-History-logo

An incredible child protégé and a world chess champion, Boris Spassky (1937- ), best known for his “Match of the Century” loss in Reykjavík to Fischer, will always be inexorably tied to the latter.

book-super-secret-diary

Who hasn’t experienced how hard it can be to fit in?

In our times, most of us when we pray, our minds are on something else-it is hard to focus all the time.

The participants discussed the rich Jewish-Hungarian heritage, including that two-thirds of the fourteen Hungarian Nobel Prize winners have Jewish origin.

Today’s smiles are in the merit of my friend and I made a conscious effort to smile throughout the day.

When someone with a fixed mindset has a negative interaction with a friend or loved one, he or she immediately projects that rejection onto him or herself saying: “I’m unlovable.”

How many potential shidduchim are not coming about because we, the mothers, are not allowing them to go through?

Is the Torah offering nechama by subtly hinting that death brings reunion with loved ones who preceded you?

She approached Holofernes and, with a sword concealed under her robe, severed his head.

Here are examples of games that need to be played by more than one person and an added bonus: they’re all Shabbos-friendly.

The incident was completely unforeseeable. The only term to describe the set of circumstances surrounding it is “freak occurrence.”

The first Chabad Center in Broward County, Chabad of South Broward, now runs nearly fifty programs and agencies. T

More Articles from Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
jewish psyciatrist

Those of us familiar with the do’s and don’ts of accepted practice in the mental health profession saw similar blaring warning lights in our minds, as should have occurred when the facts were made public regarding the accusations against Nehemia Weberman. This case may very well be our community’s most important abuse trial during our lifetimes. It is imperative that we have a huge turnout in support of the victim, a courageous young lady who, may she be gezunt andge’bentched, is determined to see this through to the end so others won’t suffer like she did.

Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

In part the altered lives victims of abuse and molestation live are a result of the abuse itself. But it is in part also because of the unfortunate negative reaction to the victims by their own community.

These lines are written in loving memory of our dear father, Reb Shlomo Zev ben Reb Baruch Yehudah Nutovic, a”h, whose first yahrzeit is 7 Menachem Av. May the positive lessons learned from this essay be a zechus for his neshamah.

All responsible leaders in our community have roundly condemned the recent violence in Beit Shemesh and Meah Shearim.

A surefire way to gauge the generation in which a person was raised is to have him or her fill in the following sentence: Where were you when ?”

Baby Boomers would ask, “When President Kennedy was shot?” Thirtysomethings would respond, “When the space shuttle exploded?” Today’s teenagers would reply, “On 9/11?”

One week ago on my website I announced my intention to attend the next court appearance of a man who was arrested last year and is now standing trial on 10 felony charges of child abuse.

Dear Rabbi Horowitz:

We were taken aback when our 18-year-old son just called us from Eretz Yisrael (we live in Europe) and told us that he was coming home and wants to immediately go to work. He said that he is wasting his time in yeshiva, and just can’t take it anymore. He said that he will “run away from home” if we don’t allow him to go to work.

Digital images of the profoundly disturbing computer-smashing ceremony conducted by Rabbi Aaron Feinhandler have been viewed by countless thousands of Jews worldwide over the past few weeks.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/midwinter-break-2/2009/01/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: