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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Dear Ann’

More Responses On The Topic Of Chronic Illness and Shidduchim

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

            For the last two weeks I have shared your responses, suggestions and experiences about marrying into a family wherein there is a parent who has a chronic illness. This was prompted by a letter I received from a woman who wrote that her daughter is having difficulty getting dates because her father has Multiple Sclerosis.  Below are more letters from readers who wanted to share their experience and offer help.


 


Dear Ann,


            I read your two articles about shidduchim.  I want to share with you my experiences and I hope I am being helpful.  My middle daughter was diagnosed with a non-hereditary, non-life threatening health problem when she was 10.  When it was her turn to seek a shidduch, we had a difficult time of it.  At first we told people, because we didn’t want her getting hurt.  We soon found out that we couldn’t get her any dates. 

 After consulting our rabbi, he told us to let her go out first and tell after two dates.  Well, she went out with a boy and he even took her to meet his grandmother.  When she told him (about the health concern) that was the last time she saw him.  Reflecting back, I can still remember what her doctor had told her. Her doctor said she needed to marry a very caring young man.  At the age of 26 she still was not married.  The turning point in her life was the last date she had.  It turned out to be miserable.  Her friend told her to go on Saw You at Sinai.  Well, Hashem had rachmanus on her, and on the first try she met her husband.  Today, Boruch Hashem they have two adorable children.  She did not tell him at first.  After several dates she told him about her health concern.  He didn’t mind.  However, his parents didn’t find out until about six months after they were married.  His mother was only upset because he hadn’t confided in her.  As far as my husband’s Parkinson’s, he did not come out to meet the boys until after about four dates.

 

            My daughter found out after they were engaged that the only aunt he has was mildly retarded.  Let me tell you that when my daughter met her, my daughter was able to be extremely caring because of all she had gone through. 

 

            My other daughter got engaged when she was 30.  That was also a nightmare.  She had plenty of dates but just couldn’t find the right caring person.  My husband’s illness did not show that much those years she was dating.  My husband even warned her to get married already, because once his illness shows it would be much harder for her.  She met her husband on Saw You at Sinai.  She went on that web site regularly and had a shadchan who dealt with older singles.  Her shadchan herself had gotten married older.  He himself had a father who died of ALS.  He told my daughter from the start.  He’s totally caring about my husband because of his own experiences.

 

            Well, I hope I helped you a little.  


Name Withheld


 


            I cannot endorse or disapprove of computer dating, as I am just too unfamiliar with it. I know as many people who met their spouses through the Internet and are happily married as I do people who have had a bad experience. As with anything you are unfamiliar with, one must be very careful. Realize that you are being set up with someone you cannot see and someone no one close to you can vouch for. It is also important to remember that each web site is unique. You cannot judge them all by a negative or positive experience on one. Having said that, I think it is important to communicate the ideas that have worked for others and I thank all those that have shared their experience.

 

            It is difficult to know when and how in the dating process to share that you have a sick parent or an illness yourself. It is important to discuss this with your rabbi. There is no one rule for everyone. Da’as Torah is needed and should be adhered to.


 


 Dear Ann,


             Because of chronic illness, we were not able to have children. We chose to have an adopted family. When we were considering adoption, people in my family who knew advised us against it. They felt adopted children would have a hard time with a shidduch. This was many years ago, before there was even talk of a shidduch crisis, or heightened concern about every aspect of a person’s history.

 

            We thought long and hard about what to do. We decided that we had a good home to share with children, which we desperately wanted. We decided to go ahead and adopt despite our families reservations and have bitachon in Hashem to deal with the rest. B”H all our children are happily married for many years already. My ravtold us that because we adopted our children at birth, it was not even necessary to say that they were adopted. The illness information about their parent should wait till after a few dates. My children disagreed and told about both the adoption and illness right away. All their shidduchim went easily. Neither the adoption nor the illness seemed to bother their bashert or our machatonim.

 

            I realize times have changed but I wonder if our total emunah in Hashem, to deal positively with our children and take care of them, helped in how relatively easily their shidduchim went. I do understand the fear and pain a parent feels when children have a hard time in anything, especially something as important in their life as their children’s future.  All I can say to these families is have bitachon. Hashem will only do what is in our best interest.


Name Withheld


 


 


If anyone reading this knows of organizations or shadchanim who deal with making matches for children where parental illness exists, I would so appreciate hearing from you. If you want to contact the woman who wrote the original letter, I can forward your information to her.


 


You can reach me at annnovick@hotmail.com.

More Responses On The Topic Of Chronic Illness And Shidduchim

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

These letters are in response to a letter written by a woman whose daughter is having difficulty getting dates because her father has a chronic illness. She also pointed out that there is an assumption that life in their home is depressing because of the illness. These responses deal with both issues, but how they contradict the myth of depression is particularly interesting.


 


Dear Ms. Novick,

 

I read the letter addressing the issue of shidduchim in a family with a disability and I would like to share my own experience as a disabled mother . . . but my life as a disabled person didn’t start as a mother, it starts as a very disabled child who contracted polio at the age of 2.

 

I grew up in a very happy environment. I learned at an early age that people resent unhappiness, not disability. My father and mother created a home with laughter, optimism, and acceptance, and above all with the knowledge that the Hashem is our Ruler and we have to accept our share in life. Ivdu es Hashem b’simcha, that was my father’s, z”l, motto until the end. My house was always the center of gathering. My parents, my brother, and I always had friends around, and so, my own home continues to be the gathering place. On Shabbosim, people drop by to visit, not because of chesed toward a disabled person, but because my house is fun. I love to tell stories and jokes of things that I’ve seen, experienced or read. My friends visit or call me to schmooze, some of them to uplift their own spirits; like my father, I love to make people laugh. 

 

With regard to shidduchim, I believe it is a difficult parsha for everyone, k’krias Yam Suf. People today have become increasingly judgmental, but I don’t believe that attributing the lack of potential shidduchim to a parent that is handicapped is correct. People find their zivug through their own merit and hishtadlus, and we parents have to give chizuk and stand behind our children with emunah, conviction, and a positive attitude.

 

As you wisely mentioned, depression can be, and should be treated because just like laughter and joyousness, depression can be catchy, and one member of the family can create an environment that affects the entire family.

 

As I mentioned before, I have four children, all of them sociable with wonderful personalities. Two of them are, B”H, married, and I don’t believe my disability hindered their shidduchim in any way. I have two more daughters and IY”H, and I hope when their time comes for shidduchim they are will be appreciated for all their middos and for who they are.


Betsy Greenspon


 


Dear Ann,

 

I’m a nurse. I’ve seen terrible illness in couples with no history of illness in their family and no illness where the family history is full of problems. When are we going to realize we are just not in control of these things? There’s more to a successful marriage than the fear of one partner inheriting an illness. It’s how you cope with what G-d gives you that is important. It’s loving and respecting each other.  These things make a marriage and family no matter what happens.


M.P.


 


Dear Ann,

 

Being the daughter of a handicapped mother my whole life, I’m proud to say that it has been a privilege more than a burden. My mother, although wheelchair-bound for many years has taught my siblings and me such important lessons in life. The first and most important being to serve G-d with joy. My mother has been handicapped for her whole life and struggled in so many ways to be like any other regular person. She has always had a beautiful smile on her face. She is an inspiration to my husband, my children and me.

 

My mother became ill as a child and never gave up hope. She got herself through all the years of schooling, although at times alone and in hospital beds; through, surgeries and therapies she managed to get a degree as a language specialist. She got married at 23 and had several children, all healthy B”H.

 

When I was dating, it never crossed my mind that it would be an issue for me not to find my zivug (intended). I am so proud of who my mother is and what she’s taught me. She is my strength and hero.

 

My children adore my parents and have even learned to be sensitive to my mother’s needs. We were just visiting them for Pesach and I was so touched to see my 6-year-old daughter jump up from playing and run to push my mother to the room she was struggling to get herself to. My 2 ½-year-old just happened to pop out of the house elevator all proud that he managed to run it himself (just like Bubby) and my 10-year-old son said going to visit Bubby and Zaidy is like going to Gan Eden.


Yonit Wenick


 


You can reach me at annnovick@hotmail.com 

Thoughts On Shidduchim From The Families Of The Chronically Ill: – Responses

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Last week I shared a letter from a concerned well spouse whose daughter is having problems getting dates because of her husband’s illness (Multiple Sclerosis). She indicated that there is an assumption that her house is depressed because of the illness. I asked for comments and suggestions from those who have experience with this situation. Below are responses that every shadchan and parent without experience with chronic illness should read.


 


Dear Ann,


I just wanted to share some thoughts on living with illness and the far reaching consequences or as I see it, benefits especially when it relates to children of a parent with a chronic illness.

 

            Many years ago, when I was holding by the shidduchim phase of my life, I was a successful bachur, who learned in the finest yeshivos. I came from a wonderful, healthy family. Needless to say, I had a long list of girls to choose from. One particular girl stood out of the crowd, (ok, she was extremely beautiful and intelligent) except that her father had MS and had been a paraplegic for almost her entire life. His disability caused the family a myriad of inconveniences.  For example, his having to sleep in a separate bedroom, needing a special van, ramps in the house – plain and simple he just wasn’t what I had in mind for a shver (father-in-law).   

 

These details were particularly disturbing to me, as I worried about genetics, and at that point in my life it really bothered me just because it wasn’t normal in my world.  More importantly, how would it look at the chassanah with a wheelchair going down the aisle?  What would people say about us?

 

            My rosh yeshiva really helped me envision the hidden beauty, chinuch, and rare middos that grew from my wife’s (now of 11 years) upbringing. He told me she had seen and experienced firsthand, the unconditional devotion, unending care, and superhuman emotional strength, which were the utter necessities of coping and living with a paralyzed spouse. This devotion and chesed were embodied by her mother and had been successfully inculcated in this girl’s very being.

 

            Coincidentally, (or not so, as Hashem has his ways) as a very newly married couple, we went through a prolonged and extremely devastating situation (that had nothing to do with illness) which tested the limits of our sanity and ultimately our future together.  For a time our viability as a couple was highly doubtful.  In fact, some of my “friends” encouraged her to ask for a divorce. Baruch Hashem she never considered their suggestions.

 

            I can only imagine where I or our growing family, ka”h, would be now if I had just married “a normal girl with a normal family “

 

            The intense need to measure up to others, takes away life’s greatest gifts and opportunities. Those missed chances are reserved for the select and special few who have the sense and vision to look beyond outward appearances.

 

Don’t chazal implore us not to “judge a book” or “look at a barrel “?  They are not misleading us. They were making sure that, among other things, the tza’ar anyone experienced, and grew from does not go to waste. Rather it is gifted and passed onward to those that are “zocheh” to see, appreciate and flourish from it.

 

            So to any parent whose child is having difficulty finding a marriage partner because of a sick parent, I say the following: Your children have a gift. It took many years of patience for them to learn from you as a well spouse, and that gift can’t be shared with just anyone. It may take more patience until he or she finds that special person, but Hashem has already made sure you have the virtue of patience. He always supplies the answer before the question is asked. Hatzlocha.

A very lucky husband


 


  


Dear Ann,

 

My son married a girl with a chronically ill mother. When theshidduch was proposed I am proud to say it was never even an issue for us. It didn’t bother us one drop. In fact we have tremendous admiration for her parents.  Clearly her father had to be a very special person to marry a woman who was ill, knowing her condition would only worsen as the years passed.  The sensitivity and lack of selfishness it builds in a person is truly admirable. 

 

That being said, I have to be honest – we did know that the mother did not have a genetic illness. If it was genetic…I don’t know.  But now, there’s genetic testing for some diseases. If the young man or woman does not have the gene there is no chance of it being passed on.

 

However, I think if it had been genetic, we still would have gone through with it, as my daughter-in-law is a great person.  


A mother


 


I would appreciate hearing from shadchanim dealing with this issue.

 

More responses next week.


 


You can reach me at Annnovick@hotmail.com.

Further And Final Comments and Observations on the Topic of Weight

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

I have spent the last few articles discussing what, I have come to believe, are abusive comments made to overweight people in the guise of caring and acceptability. These comments, I believe, are one of the few socially acceptable ways we have of denigrating others without having to cope with the fact that what we are doing is wrong. 


I am not talking here about the helpful words and kind offers like “I’m going for a walk, would you like to join me.” Or “I’m thinking of joining a gym and would love your company. ” Or, “Will you join Weight Watchers with me? I don’t want to go alone.” Those are positive motivational efforts made by a caring person who cares for another and is willing to put her/himself out to help.


What I am talking about are the inappropriate, unsolicited comments of the obvious: the “you-know-you-should-take-off-the-weight” comments that inform the overweight person of a problem that they are already acutely aware of, as if they’ve never noticed.


The last time I brought up the topic of being overweight with a well spouse support group, about a third of the members of the group were overweight.  The members of the group, who were heavy, agreed that these unsolicited comments about their weight were never helpful, always hurtful and usually caused more harm than good.


Despite this, a gentleman in the group insisted he often made these comments, to strangers, friends and family members alike, because he cared.  It did not matter that all the overweight people in the group insisted the comments were counterproductive. It did not matter that those types of comments caused them pain. He still said he would continue to make such comments because he cared and he believed they were helpful, despite the evidence to the contrary right in front of him.


My feeling about this became even stronger when I received this letter:


Dear Ann,


I have been following your articles on the issue of weight. I have never considered myself a hurtful person but I realized I have made these very comments to others. I really began to think seriously about it when I was waiting for my car at the local car wash. The person standing beside me had a weight problem. 


As I was standing there, thinking that she really needed to lose some pounds, for her health, and perhaps I should say something; a man came out of the car wash and joined us to wait for his car. It was quite windy and the smoke from his cigarette was all over us. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind moving away as his smoke was bothering me.


When he did, I wondered why it hadn’t occurred to me to tell him that he needed to stop smoking for his health. I didn’t know either of these people. Why did I feel I could correct one and not the other?  Amazingly, why would I comment to the person whose actions (the weight) has no effect on me and not to the one whose actions (second hand smoke) could kill me. What right do I have to correct anyone?


Though I disagreed with you initially, I am changing my mind. It is very scary for me to think of myself as a bully… but maybe that is exactly what I have been doing when I make these comments.


K.


                                                            * * * * *


I also began to wonder about the bystanders, the people who hear these hurtful comments made and say nothing. Silence lets everyone believe we agree with what is being said. Many of us have been in such a situation and for a variety of reasons stand by quietly, our silence saying we agree with the hurtful comments. 


Perhaps we choose to remain quiet because we do not want to become the focus and have the one making the comment switch his attention to us, or because we want the attack to stop and not be extended by our comments.  Perhaps we remain quiet because we don’t want to be seen as aligned with the person under attack or because we are just feeling uncomfortable by the whole incident and want it to go away.


Perhaps we think that if we say something we will make the victim feel worse or we just don’t know what to say to make the situation better. Or could it be that we actually agree with what is being said and feel that though it may hurt their feelings the comments are really for their own good?


It is up to each of us to examine our motives for our silence. It is up to each of us to consider what we are being told by the recipients of these comments: that they are hurtful and counterproductive. And then it is up to each of us to decide what we will do the when we hear someone being told that they really are the size of a football player and need to take off weight and start eating less. Whom will you align yourself with next time?


You can reach me at annnovick@hotmail.com

Overeating And The Well Spouse, A Reaction

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008


Dear Ann,

 

I have been following your articles on being overweight and wanted to tell you my beef (double entendre intended).

 

I am fat. There are other fat people around. There are also skinny people and people of varying sizes both smaller and larger than I. I am trying to be done − I would like to say I am done − with apologizing for my size. No matter how I got here, here I am. Why do I have to apologize for being here?

 

I am not taking anyone else’s space, except occasionally in those miniature seats in some old theatres or on planes looking to fit too many people in too small a space to maximize the number of dollars collected. I drive a Grand Caravan Dodge Van that takes up almost as much space as a 4X4 truck, but the truck hardly ever has to apologize for being so large.

 

I am fat. I don’t eat a ton of food. Often I eat a little less than the next person. Sometimes I even skip a meal and don’t double up on the next one. But whether I eat more or less or exactly the same as others, what I strive to accomplish on a regular basis is not getting any fatter. I try to just stay as I am, and no fatter. In fact, what I try to accomplish more often than not, is to eat my meal, have my snack and get on with my day, or whatever I happen to be doing next.

 

Sometimes that might be going swimming. Sometimes that might be going shopping. Sometimes that might be sitting on the couch and watching TV. And sometimes that might be one of a varied number of activities which women, mothers and grand­mothers have been involved in for many, many years. Do I owe anyone an accounting of my activities because I tip the scale in one direction or another?

 

I don’t have to apologize for wearing corrective glasses and not having 20-20 vision. In fact, when I apply for my driver’s license, an application that demands to have certain knowledge about my ability to see properly, all I have to do is check off a box that says I wear corrective glasses. I don’t have to apologize for enjoying classical music and not liking rap music. When I go to the music store, all I have to do is check the signs and look for the section of the store that houses classical music.

 

I don’t have to apologize for driving a van instead of a car. I don’t have to apologize for playing with my grandchildren and talking to my children. I don’t have to apologize for putting flowers into various vases and distributing and displaying the flowers throughout the house. Or do I?

 

Do I need to justify why I drive a van when my children are all grown up and my grandchildren are being driven around by their parents? Do I need to pretend that I don’t adore those beautiful, adorable little people who were created in God’s image but also share a lot of family characteristics and personality traits? Do I need to shout from the rooftops that my children have grown into wonderful human beings and that their company is a nachas and a pleasure to my soul?

 

Do I have to apologize for having reached a time in my life when my financial priorities and responsibilities allow for the luxury and beauty of decorating my home with freshly cut blooms?

 

I am a fat woman who wears glasses, likes classical music, drives a van, plays with her grandchildren, talks to her children and loves fresh flowers. Get off my case. Get a life. Stop mixing into my business. And for goodness (a word incorporated into the English language from the root word “God”) sake, the comments and the questions and the criticisms and the suggestions and the feedback, unsolicited no doubt, are the worst form of lashon harah.

 

Apparently, you feel it is not even necessary to turn your back on me when you insult me. You simply walk up to me and in my face, you tell me that you do not like what you see, and then you have the ultimate chutzpah to tell me that you are doing it for my own good and out of a concern for my welfare.

 

Well, perhaps you should be looking in the mirror to see what you can see in your own “house.” After all, “charity begins at home,” and if “I am not for myself, who am I?” Get off my case and find your own. There must be something that you can attend to in your own backyard, so please, stay out of mine. And the next time we meet, over the backyard fence or on the front porch stairs, or in the foyer of the condo, perhaps you could smile and say, “good morning” or “good day” or perhaps, “good night,” instead.


Miriam


 


You can address this issue or any other by contacting me at annnovick@hotmail.com.

Overeating And The Well Spouse (Part One)

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

 “You have such a pretty face. If only you could do something about your weight.” Is a comment very familiar to most overweight women. It is usually made by well meaning friends and relatives who seem to think that all the person needs in order to deal with their weight problem is their caring, but hurtful, comments. Perhaps their friends think that the person who is overweight never looks in a mirror, never looks at themselves below the eyebrows or needs glasses.


 

There seems to be an assumption that the persons who inhabits the oversize body are unaware they are a larger size. All that is needed is to make them aware they are overweight and this knowledge will fix the problem. In reality, the comments serve no purpose, impart no new knowledge, and cause pain. Yet, they keep coming. The comments seem to be made, almost always, by people without weight problems.

 

I decided to interview some well spouses on this topic when I received the following e-mail.

 

Dear Ann,

 

Some obese women who are now in their 60′s will not be able to walk when they are in their 70′s because of all the extra weight they are carrying. It’s even going to be harder for them as they age. It’s time for them to take action now. Those that are in their 30′s also need to look at what they’re eating now, to stay young for their children and families.

 

* * * * *

 

Overeating is a symptom, not an end product. It is a physical response to an emotional problem. And the emotional problems are as varied as the people themselves. It is the emotional problem that needs to be addressed as much as the overeating. That necessitates that people understand why they overeat or be willing to explore why they overeat, and more importantly, be willing and able to do something about it. Even well spouses who understand why they overeat are not always ready to do something about it.

 

One well spouse I spoke with said she understands why she is overweight. “It keeps a wall around me. I know it makes me unattractive, but being a well spouse, I find it protective. I don’t want to be in a situation of being attractive to another man. It would make life too difficult for me as a well spouse. It might provide me with temptation that I don’t want to think about and can’t cope with. It took a lot of therapy for me to understand this. I am trying to get over the fear and deal with the weight because of health issues. But it is very difficult.”

 

Another had this to say. “Dieting requires self-care. Self-care requires a positive self-image. Both became eroded with years of care giving. I am constantly surrounded by criticism, from my spouse, from my community. With my life so hard and lonely, I feel that I am being punished for something. Feeling that way is not very conducive to dieting. I need to feel better about myself. If I could have more of a feeling of self worth, dieting might be easier. But in an atmosphere of constant criticism and constant catastrophe, it’s just impossible.”

 

“Who has the time?” was another comment. “Between work, care giving, parenting, and everything else, there’s not a minute left for me − neither the time nor the energy. It takes time to diet; to plan meals and buy the appropriate food and then prepare the proper meals.”


Another comment: “My ice cream is my best friend. It comforts me when no one else does. It fills the emptiness. Food is my companion. Of course I know I’m headed for problems, but I’m just too sad to care.”

 

“I know my overweight may lead to illness and even an earlier death. But that may be my only way out.” And many well spouses understood and even agreed.

 

It is neither a lack of awareness that they are overweight, nor an ignorance of the health risks that keep people from losing weight. They are all too aware of these risks and as some of the comments indicate, may even welcome them. If there is a concern about someone you care about, that is overweight, bombarding her/him with what that person already knows, is not the solution. Often it just adds to the problem.

 

If you really want to help overweight friends or relatives, start with helping them to feel better about themselves. Helping them with the burden of their lives whether it is loneliness, the overwhelming chores of care giving or just discovering what they are compensating for by overeating that results in weight gain.

 

Happier people want to live longer. Happiness leads to a desire to be healthy and may be the best way to start them on the road to health. Overeating is a very complex issue without a simple cure. However, repeatedly informing people that they need to loose weight is not a solution and will often make the problem worse.

 

You can reach me at annnovick@hotmail.com

Why Do We Give Gifts?

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Dear Ann,

 

I am a well spouse on a fixed and limited income. My neighbor’s son, who is friendly with my son, invited himself over for latkes the first night of Chanukah. He is a teenager from a large family. He does have some learning difficulties and social problems. When I gave my children Chanukah presents, I could see he felt left out. I felt badly for him. I know that his parents do not give the children gifts on Chanukah. I called him over and gave him $20 for Chanukah gelt. I expected him to be pleased and excited.

 

I know he gets little in the way of money from home and needs to do odd jobs to earn the extras he may want. I was shocked when he looked at me and said, “Only 20 dollars?!” My face must have reflected my reaction because he quickly said, “Just kidding” and then gave me a swallowed, “Thanks.”

 

I was really upset and angry. Twenty dollars may not be much to him but it sure meant a lot to me. I won’t be giving him much of anything after this. My husband feels I’m wrong for feeling the way I do. He said I’m overreacting and I shouldn’t expect more from a teenager. Am I overreacting?


An Angry Neighbor

 

 

Dear A.A.N.

 

People give gifts for different reasons. Sometimes we give a gift because the receiver needs what we are giving him/her. Sometimes we give it because we know it will make the person feel good and brighten his/her day. Sometimes we give gifts because it makes us feel good about ourselves. But, I suspect, most often we give the gifts because of a combination of the three motives, and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem arises when our “make ourselves feel good” motivation backfires because we don’t get the kind of “thank you” we had expected.

 

What you did was very generous. You saw a boy who not only needed attention but the money, as well. You stepped up to fill the need. You certainly did not get an appropriate reaction. Further, it certainly was not the reaction you expected. Let me first say, very clearly, the young man was wrong to behave in the way he did. It was hurtful, unappreciative and totally unacceptable. Having said that, let’s deal with the question you asked, “Am I overreacting?”

 

First let’s deal with the issue of why you gave him the money. My guess is that you wanted him to feel good and like part of the family. You wanted him to feel cared about. You saw that he had needs, emotional and financial, that his family might not be able to meet and you wanted to help fill those needs.

 

    Clearly, despite his reaction, this was accomplished. It was truly a wonderful thing you did for this boy. My guess is that at this point in his life he may not have the maturity to see it. So, if these were your motives, you accomplished your goal. You achieved what you set out to do. Doing it again will accomplish the same thing. That should help you decide if you will do it again.

 

If, however, your reason (which I doubt) for giving him the gift was because you wanted him to be grateful and overflowing in his thanks, you did not get the result you wanted. Doing it again will probably not produce a more grateful response then you got the first time. So, you need to figure out your motive for giving him the money before you can determine if you are overreacting or want to do it again.

 

Now lets deal with some reasons for the boy to have reacted the way he did. Again, I am not excusing his behavior by any means, just trying to possibly understand it. You said that he was a boy who had social problems. He may have never learned how to appropriately react to gifts. Perhaps he did not know what to say or how to express his thanks. Maybe he felt uncomfortable. Perhaps your generosity made him feel sorry for himself.

 

Maybe what he was wrongly expressing was his wish to be in a different place, with his parents giving him what he needed. We can’t understand why people react the way they do. We often have a hard enough time understanding our own emotions. We certainly can’t control their reaction.

 

Think about why you gave the gift. Know that it had to make him feel good, and be pleased with the fact that you did what you felt was right. Mission accomplished. Only you can decide if you gave the gift because you wanted to make him feel good or make yourself feel good or both. Only you can decide if you will again.

 

You can reach me at annnovick@hotmail.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/why-do-we-give-gifts/2008/02/13/

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