web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



My Kid – My Hashkafot

        Every August thousands of children ages 17-19  leave the only home they have known, the community they grew up in, the neighborhood they are familiar with – even the country of their birth, and fly thousands of miles to a new and relatively strange environment where they will remain for a year. They are off to Eretz Yisrael for Shanah Alef.

 

         I call them “children” because they have yet to attain the emotional and spiritual maturity that will earn them the label of “young adults.” It is with this outcome in mind that their families – often with great pride, trepidation and mesirat nefesh – both financial and emotional send them far away to yeshivot and seminaries for a year, hoping that their sons and daughters will return as sensible and competent young men and women, ready and able to take on the new milestones and responsibilities of young adulthood – college, careers and marriage.

 

          Far away from home, their rabbeim and mechanchot become their surrogate parents, mentors and counselors. It is a sobering responsibility that they take on – for their young charges are impressionable and easily influenced.

 

         And herein lies a huge problem that has caused strained relationships, much heartache, aggravation, stress, anger, and sometimes, irreparable damage,  between parent and child.

 

         For while the rabbeim and mechanchot may truly have their students’ best interests at heart – the students are not their sons and daughter and they are not their parents – and some have overstepped these boundaries and ignored the hashkafot and goals of their students’ parents and replaced them with their own.

 

         As a result many young people are returning home to North America from their year in Israel, refusing to follow the path their parents expected them to follow. Boys who were headed to college and post-graduate school to become professionals are insisting they learn full-time – with the expectation of years of support when they marry. They want to go back for Shanah Bet, Gimmel and Daled

 

         The girls, for the most part, do go to college as planned, but refuse to date any boy who is plans to work -  “earners”  - for they will only marry “learners,”  whom they hope to support, or co-support with the help of their parents/in-laws.

 

         I have several friends who have told me that the children who returned home do not resemble the ones they sent away. Many have been unduly influenced by their teachers to adopt hashkafot that are way to the “right” of their parents. The teachers, no doubt, have done so with the best of intentions, truly believing that college or working in a secular occupation – as opposed to learning full-time, or at the very least being Klei Kodesh – i.e.  a sofer, is not in the child’s best interest. (Nor is being married to a boy who does not learn full-time.)

 

         If this is what the parents hoped for, when they sent their child to yeshiva/seminary in Israel, then kol ha’kavod to these rebbeim and mechanchot. But if this is a lifestyle that the parents did not envision for the child, if they sent their son to grow in Torah, midot and menschlichkeit so that would know how to learn during their free time – then the teachers have wrongly usurped parental authority and in doing so, have grievously undermined many a family’s shalom bayit. 

 

         I heard a horror story how a rebbi once called a parent and chastised her for refusing to accommodate her son’s request to postpone college and allow him to stay for Shanah Bet. The rebbi went so far as to tell her that she was being selfish and controlling. Instead of supporting this woman’s wishes for her child – and encouraging kibbud av v’em, he caused a rift between the two and feelings of resentment and bitterness that took time to heal. While I feel this was an extreme incident, there are many other similar, albeit, less blatant, cases of teachers or school administrations crossing the line and taking it upon themselves to decide what is best for their students.

 

         It is incumbent on them to respect and uphold the parents’ goals for their child. Even when the child comes to his/her own conclusions of what he/she wants to do, the teacher should support the parents’ position. After all, obeying/respecting one’s parents is the foundation of Yiddishkeit and Torah values.

 

     Beside, how well do the teachers know their students? They may think they do – but can they truly ascertain the mental/emotional composition of a teenager in a few short months, who is one of many in the school? Do they really have accurate insight as to the student’s true mettle?

 

         For as much as a full-time learning lifestyle is very commendable – not every one is cut out to be a learner or the wife of one – no matter how much a teacher or parent – as the case may be – wants him/her to be. Just like not everyone can be a portrait painter or a nuclear physicist – no matter how hard they try, no matter how many years they practice and study – not every bachur is wired to be a learner. Nor is every girl suited for a materialistically-modest lifestyle, one in which there is much sacrifice. Not every girl has the mental and emotional fortitude of Rochel, the wife of Rabbi Akiva. It is one thing to romanticize that lifestyle – it is other to actually live it.

 

         Putting stripes on a horse does not turn it into a zebra.

 

         It is a great disservice to undermine the goals of parents, to an impressionable student, and steer him/her down a path he /she is totally unsuited for. One that, down the road, they may deeply regret.

 

         As a rule, conscientious parents know what is best for their children The teachers’ mandate is to become the “long arm” of their students’ parents – it is not to mold them into their version of what they think they should be – no matter how pure their motives.

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 “My Kid – My Hashkafot

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jan Morgan, owner of the Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range.
Arkansas Shooting Range Declares Itself Muslim-Free Zone’
Latest Sections Stories
Israeli winery

“You want to know what this wine looked like, which wine King David drank, white or red…. We can see if it’s red or white, strong or weak.”

Mindy-092614-Choc-Roll

I should be pursuing plateaus of pure and holy, but I’m busy delving and developing palatable palates instead.

Schonfeld-logo1

Brown argues that this wholehearted living must extend into our parenting.

If we truly honor the other participants in a conversation, we can support, empathize with, and even celebrate their feelings.

I witnessed the true strength of Am Yisrael during those few days.

She writes intuitively, freely, and only afterwards understands the meaning of what she has written.

“I knew it was a great idea, a win-win situation for everyone,” said Burstein.

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

“I would really love my mother-in-law …if she weren’t my mother-in-law.”

For each weekly reading, Rabbi Grysman begins with a synopsis of the Torah portion, followed by a focus on a major issue.

It’s Rosh Hashanah. A new year. Time for a fresh start. Time for a new slate. Time for change.

Governor Rick Scott visited North Miami Beach/Aventura on the morning of Wednesday, September 17.

While the cost per student is higher than mainstream schools, Metzuyan Academy ESE is a priceless educational opportunity for children with special needs in South Florida.

Challah-pa-looza helped get the community ready and excited about the upcoming Jewish New Year.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-092614-Books

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

Kupfer-080114

Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.

Where once divorce in heimische communities was relatively uncommon, nowadays every family has a son, daughter, sibling cousin who is divorced – sometimes twice or even three times!

Many go about the business of living frum, observant lives, but they are only going through the motions.

Lately I have been hearing quiet grumblings from people who admit that they regret not encouraging their sons to get a post-high school education after a year or two of learning.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/my-kid-my-hashkafot/2007/08/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: