A Funny Story
It began with an email. The email said,
“Dear Rabbi Ross. My kids are very inconsiderate to others. They only think about themselves, and it drives me nuts. Here’s an example. My kids like strawberries, so I went shopping and bought them the pre-checked ones. When I came to the fridge an hour later they were all gone. My eleven-year-old had eaten the entire package without thinking of his siblings. Is this normal?” Name Redacted in Cedarhurst
It was a fair question. I actually know the person that sent it, since she had signed her name. I wasn’t going to publish it, since it would have been unfair to her kids. She sent the email on Wednesday night, and I put it in the folder of questions I had intended to respond to and publish.
Motzoai Shabbos arrived. After father-son learning, I went with my kids to Central Avenue to get them pizza. We parked in the lot to avoid the madness, and as we walked towards the middle of the block, we heard a racket. Many cars honking, and some people shouting. I turned to my boys and said, “This is why we park in the lot.”
As we came closer, we saw what the issue was. Someone has tried making an illegal U-turn in middle of the block, but since there were cars parked on either side, she didn’t have enough room. The cars that were driving on both sides had moved up, and she was seriously stuck sideways in middle of Central Avenue. The street sign on the sidewalk she was facing clearly showed a “No U-Turn” symbol.
I walked over to help. Wouldn’t you know it, the woman driving the minivan was the one who had written the email. Some other people came over to help, and in a few minutes, we managed to extricate the car and get traffic moving again.
After she finally parked her car on the side of the avenue, I walked over to her and said, “I think I see what the problem is. When you’re inconsiderate to others, your kids pick up the same Middos”. She lamely tried to defend herself by saying, “It was quicker for me to get home if I made a U-Turn”. I replied, “That’s my point. You inconvenienced many people because it was better for you.” I then asked her permission to use the story in this email, which she allowed.
So, there you have it. Most of the basic habits that our children pick up are from the home. Very often, we are blind to our own issues, and we only recognize them in others. It could be in our friends, our spouses, and, of course, our children. I once saw a dad getting upset at his son for cracking his knuckles loudly, when he had done the exact same thing about 30 seconds earlier. We just don’t recognize our own faults.
The lesson we can take from this, is that we need to be very careful as parents. Whatever we say or do is going to be observed, or heard, by some very attentive children. Whether screaming at a slow driver, getting aggravated on the phone, or walking in late to Davening, our children are watching, listening and learning.
Have a good Shabbos!
11/16/2017 06:02:59 pm
Classic Story. I thoroughly enjoyed!
11/16/2017 06:21:26 pm
Really Cute. I loved that she was OK with using the story. She must have felt really bad.
11/16/2017 06:23:36 pm
Yes. Children are the mirrors of their parents. When your kids do something wrong, usually they're reflecting you!
11/16/2017 06:25:58 pm
I had the exact thing happen in Brooklyn. Some person made an illegal u turn and blocked traffic for 15 minutes. We were all annoyed, and he said to us NOT MY PROBLEM. I"M IN A RUSH!
11/16/2017 07:12:59 pm
I would have been so embarrassed! I feel so bad for her.
11/16/2017 07:14:05 pm
That's true. However, I knew her really well, and she was OK with it. I did reassure her that no one would know who it was.
11/16/2017 07:18:16 pm
It's a very valid point. we raise our children and get disappointed in them for things that we do. The only point I would add, is sometimes it's your spouse they're imitating. That's when it gets tricky.
11/16/2017 08:26:34 pm
Funny story...but also quite sad. It's not easy to work on yourself, and I feel that this ladies children are in for a bumpy ride.
11/16/2017 08:28:21 pm
Why are her kids in for a bumpy ride? Because she isn't perfect? That's illogical. Her kids might be the luckiest kids in the world for all we know. Everyone has faults!.
11/17/2017 12:10:16 am
I lolled reading this. I can only imagine this ladies face when you spoke with her. The crazy part is, I'm the same exact way. I always make illegal u turns, and hate when others do.
11/17/2017 12:10:04 pm
This sort of story applies to everyone in some way or another. It is always important to remember this advice and apply it to our own lives from time to time. This is especially so when it comes to devices! Thanks for reminding us!
11/17/2017 02:16:50 pm
This really made me laugh. I also appreciate that she was OK with you printing it, I would have been mortified. Who hasn't made an illegal u turn on central? I do in middle of the night though.
11/18/2017 06:27:25 pm
I enjoyed reading this over Shabbos. I would lie to add one element. It’s actual fun to see how your children act, since you can see your weaknesses.
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Rabbi Yitzie Ross is a Rebbe and has been working with parents and kids for many years. You can read more about him in the "about" section.