web analytics
November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Expectations

(Names and situation changed)


 


While I’m on the subject of expectations…

 

         The last two weeks of articles told Bob’s story; how he developed a clearer vision of what his family needed from him. He saw his adult family emulating the example he had set for them (by his intense community involvement and workaholic behavior) when they were children. Though as children they resented their always-busy father, as adults they emulated his behavior without seeing that their children were feeling the same resentment they had felt when they were the same age.

 

         As a young man, Bob was sure that his behavior as provider was correct. He had little understanding of men who put their family ahead of their work or the needs of their community.  As a grandfather, Bob was sure his new insights were correct and had little patience for fathers who put their family last, after job and community.

 

         Whatever we feel is correct at the time is what drives our behavior and controls how we relate to others. We are, of course, right. Other people’s ways of dealing with family, work and community are, of course, wrong. And so when others treat us in a manner in which we would not treat them, we take it personally. We are hurt and upset, and can’t understand how they could behave this way to us. But in truth, it is not personal or meant to be hurtful. They are merely doing what they feel is right for them in the situation.

 

         When Abe lost his job as the synagogue rabbi without cause or justification, it affected his entire family and split the community. Since it was just after the High Holidays, finding another position for that year was almost impossible as most rabbinic positions are filled by September. Abe’s synagogue was the only one in their town, and so merely attending the services was torturous for Abe, his wife and their children. Going to children’s clubs were equally uncomfortable.

 

         It pained both Abe and his wife to see their son, Eli, stop attending the clubs he loved going to so much and distance himself from former friends. They began to get really desperate, as Eli seemed to isolate himself more and more. And so they accepted one of the many offers of support they received from neighbors and friends – the “anything you need, just ask” offers. Eli would go to the clubs only if his friend Josh went with him.

 

         And so they asked Josh’s dad, Jack, to include Eli when he walked his son to clubs. This worked well for a while, and Eli’s parents felt relieved to see their son returning to normal activities. Then, Abe got a call from Jack. He said that he was sorry but Eli couldn’t accompany him and Josh to clubs anymore. Nothing had happened, but this was the only “alone time” he had with Josh, and he felt it was important to them. If Eli shared it, it just wasn’t a special father-and-son time.

 

         Abe was beyond devastated. He would never have done this to someone else’s child, especially when the child was as alone and hurt as Eli. Abe would have been the first one there to offer help, whatever it entailed. In the same situation, he would have put his “alone time” with his son aside for the needs of the other boy. What happened to “anything you need, just ask?” As Eli’s isolation increased, Abe’s pain multiplied, and his anger toward Jack grew.

 

         Meanwhile, Josh’s dad felt he had done the right thing. He felt terrible about Eli. He liked him, and hated to see him go through such a rough time. But the walks to clubs were the only “alone time” he had with his son. He had a large family and a time- consuming job, and those walks to clubs were their only time to bond with each other. He just didn’t want to give it up.

 

         Looking at this situation as outsiders, some of us will side with Abe while others will feel that Josh’s dad did the right thing. I’d like to suggest that neither did right nor wrong. Each just acted in the manner he felt was right for his family at the time. As a rabbi, Abe had always put his community first. He felt it was the right thing for everyone to do. To him, it was a simple case of right and wrong. He was right and Jack had been wrong.

 

         Jack, on the other hand, always felt it was right to put the needs of his family ahead of the needs of others. He acted in a manner true to his beliefs. It wasn’t personal. He felt badly by excluding Eli. But the right thing was to put his son’s needs first.

 

         We often get hurt by the behavior of others toward us – and especially toward our children – when it doesn’t match what we believe is right and how we would act in the same situation. Yet aren’t both parties doing the same thing by acting in a manner that they feel is right, based on their priorities at the time? No hurt is intended. The solution is to not be offended by someone who is doing exactly what we are doing. They just see their priorities differently. Don’t take the behavior personally.

 

         You can reach me at annnovick@hotmail.com.

About the Author:


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 “Expectations”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The flag of ISIS
ISIS Stones to Death Two Gay Men
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

This core idea of memory is very difficult to fully comprehend; however, it is essential.

Respler-112114

Sometimes the most powerful countermove one can make when a person is screaming is to calmly say that her behavior is not helpful and then continue interacting with the rest of the family while ignoring the enraged person.

LBJ-112114

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall divide within you.”

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

There were many French Jews who jumped at the chance to shed their ancient identity and assimilate.

As Rabbi Shemtov stood on the stage and looked out at the attendees, he told them that “Rather than take photos with your cellphones, take a mental photo and keep this Shabbat in your mind and take it with you throughout your life.”

Yeshiva v’Kollel Bais Moshe Chaim will be holding a grand celebration on the occasion of the institution’s 40th anniversary on Sunday evening, December 7. Alumni, students, friends and faculty of the yeshiva, also known as Talmudic University of Florida, will celebrate the achievement and vision of its founders and the spiritual guidance of its educational […]

The yeshiva night accommodates all levels of Jewish education.

Recently, Fort Lauderdale has been the focus of international news, and it has not been about the wonderful weather.

Rabbi Sacks held the position of chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth for 22 years until September 2013.

The event included a dvar Torah by student Pesach Bixon, an overview of courses, information about student life and a student panel that answered frequently asked questions from a student perspective.

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

“Grandpa,” I wondered, as the swing began to slow down, “why are there numbers on your arm?”

So the real question is, “How can we, as hosts, make sure our guest beds are comfortable?” Because your guests will never say anything.

More Articles from Ann Novick

When one is blind one learns to use Braille to read. When one cannot walk, a wheelchair gives mobility. Sign language allows a mute person to speak and ocular implants assist in hearing when one is deaf. These are all compensatory strategies that help a person function despite his disability. But compensatory strategies are not just for physical problems. Understanding our psychological weaknesses and setting up our lives to ensure that we are not tempted to repeat our past mistakes, is as necessary as any aid to the disabled.

Well spouses have often discovered that their friends and relatives, despite their closeness to the situation, often don’t realize the tremendous emotional impact living with chronic illness has on the family. With the best intentions, suggestions, ideas and criticism are offered, based on the non-experience of those with healthy families. Even when the good intentioned get a taste of the difficulties, it is sometimes not enough for them to then identify and understand what the family of the chronically ill must face on a constant basis.

Over the past two weeks I have shared letters from a therapist and a well spouse. Both of the letters gave personal insights into the process of losing hope, how we react when that happens and some ways of coping when test scores, diagnosis and just simple repetitive behavior indicate that change for the better is impossible.

Dear Ann,

I’ve read your last few articles on psycho-neurological testing (Oct.8-22) with interest. As a therapist who has counseled couples dealing with chronic illness, I’d like to give you another perspective.

Dear Ann,

Your articles on the Neuro-Psychological Testing were right on (October 8-22). My husband underwent testing twice and your articles explained it things exactly the way they were. Besides the test, we also tried therapy.

Very often when we can’t face our big hurts or big loses we focus on the little ones. We can discuss those. We can cry over the small loses, be angry at the smaller hurts even though it may look trite and sound ridiculous to others.

Over the last two weeks we have been discussing one way in which well spouses can determine whether behavior displayed by their ill partners is caused by their illness or is a way they have chosen to act. We have focused on Psycho-Neurological testing, what it can tell us, as well as its pros and cons.

Last week I discussed a question that haunts many well spouses: not knowing if the difficult and often inappropriate behavior frequently displayed by their partners are caused by the disease and therefore not-controllable, or if the behavior is a choice the spouse makes and can therefore be changed. This doubt can be the source of much frustration and many marital disagreements. One way of alleviating this doubt is by having a psycho- neurological work up done. But that path is not so simple.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/expectations/2008/01/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: