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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
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Asking For A Fight

Schmutter-110813

This week we deal with Chanukah presents and the kids who probably don’t deserve them:

Dear Mordechai,

My kids fight all the time.  How do I prevent this?

The Ref

Dear Ref,

You can’t.  Kids will always fight.  Until you die.  Then they’ll fight over your stuff.  The only way to stop that is to not actually have any stuff worth fighting over.

“I don’t want his stuff.  You take it!”

Sibling rivalry is nothing new.  Every parsha in Sefer Bereishis has sibling rivalry – there’s Kayin and Hevel, Shem and Cham, Avraham and Lot, Yishmael and Yitzchok, Lavan and Rivka, Yaakov and Eisav, and Leah and Rachel, followed by four parshios about Yosef and his brothers.  So nothing you say or do will ever end this.  Just be happy they’re not selling each other.

Kids will fight about everything.  An experienced parent knows that even if you stop every argument your kids are having, they’re just going to come up with dumber things to argue about.  It’s called picking their battles.  Every morning, when I bring my kids to school, they fight about who’s going to get out of the car first when I pull up in front of the building.  They don’t even like school.  They just want to be first.

Mind you, the car has more than one door.  They can get out on different sides.  But they both want to get out on the same side because no one wants to be the one to close the door.  If they get out of opposite doors, they both have to close them.

A lot of parents would say, “So get a minivan with doors that close by themselves.”  That’s the answer: Spend thousands of dollars so that instead of arguing about this, our kids can find something else to argue about.  It’s like when kids argue about who has to wash the dishes, so you get a dishwasher, and then they argue about who has to empty the dishwasher.  Never mind that emptying the dishwasher is basically equivalent to the job they both WANTED before, when the person who didn’t wash the dishes had to put them away.  And dry them.

The annoying thing is that every morning, I have to wait for the kids to drag themselves out of the house and get into the car.  But when we get to school they’re in such a rush to leave the car first that they spend time arguing and get out of the car much later than they otherwise would.

So to end the fight, I said that whoever gets out of the house first gets to get out of the car first.  Makes sense, right?

So now they argue about who got out of the house first.  I have no idea who got out of the house first, because now they beat me out of the house.  I come into the living room, and they’re gone, out in the front yard, and neither of them has made their lunches, because they each wanted to get out first.  They’re willing to starve all day, just so they won’t have to close a car door.

 

Dear Mordechai,

I normally buy Chanukah presents on Black Friday, but apparently this year, for some reason, Black Friday is on Chanukah.  What do I do?

Shopping

Dear Shopping,

Stall.

I don’t know.  What did the Maccabees do in this situation?  Now we know why it took them a few days to get oil.  But then they got it cheaper, so there.

But I know what you mean.  Black Friday not coming out before Chanukah seems to go against everything the Jewish religion stands for.  Be thankful this will never happen again, firstly because Chanukah will never be this early again – the Jewish calendar in general keeps shifting later and later – but also because Black Friday is getting earlier and earlier and earlier in the year.  Apparently it’s called “Black Friday” because that day, stores are in the black.  This is the one day they pull a profit.  So you’ll excuse them if they want to get to that day earlier and earlier.  But my point is that by the time Chanukah comes out this early again, Black Friday will have made it all the way around the calendar backwards.

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This week we deal with questions from people who, one way or another, are on their own. And as usual, we don’t really help them.

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