Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

9 Shevat 5765 - January 19, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Talk to the Parents
by Leah M.

I sit by the kitchen table with you, my beautiful nine-year- old son. Would other people call you beautiful, with your unruly copper payos and scarred chin (from falling out of a tree this past summer)? Well, a mother looks at her son with eyes that see beauty, creativity, a heart of gold and vast potential.

You've been expelled from cheder and you, your Tatty and I are in pain. How will you increase your Torah learning? How will you become a talmid chochom? Today the hours drag along slowly, and finally you despondently creep off to bed. I call my friend, Sora, and pour out my heart.

"The school kicked him out and any comparable cheder that would take him in is an hour's bus ride each way. Nine years old is too young to travel so long each day, and he won't have any friends in our neighborhood."

"Was he chutzpadik to the Rebbe or is he just not keeping up?"

"Neither. He started up with another boy outside of cheder grounds. It really had nothing at all to do with the school. What aggravates me the most is that the other boy's parents went to the school. Why couldn't they come directly to us?"

Sora gasps. "Oh, no! I would NEVER go to the parents."

I'm baffled. "Whyever not? You go to the parents and they take care of it. There's no need to involve the school."

"Absolutely not! The reason I wouldn't go to the parents is that parents never forget. Every time you'll see the mother, you'll both remember what happened."

"Oh, come on. I'm grateful when someone comes to me to let me know what's going on with my children. I can't be everywhere. I appreciate that they're helping me raise my children properly. I tell them, `Thank you so much for coming to me. I'll look into it and I'll take care of it.'"

"Leah, you're exceptional."

"Not at all! Wouldn't you rather have a chance to talk the matter over with your son and hear his side of the story, or would you want him tossed out of school?"

"I see your point... But there are times when talking to parents is an utter waste of time."

"If we're talking about parents who get all defensive and say, `My tzaddik? My son would never do anything wrong. It's all YOUR son's fault.' Or apathetic parents who shrug, `Yeah, well, boys will be boys. What can y'do?' Then, O.K., maybe it's time to go to the school. But it's like when you have a problem in the classroom and you go straight to the principal instead of first speaking with the teacher. There are instances where there's no other choice, but usually, the teacher would prefer that first you approach him before going over his head and bringing in the big guns."

"Well, how do you know which kind of parents you're dealing with?"

"Speak to them! Either you'll get a quick answer to which kind of parents they are by how they respond, or you'll wait and see if the situation improves. If not, then you can try the school, or a rov, a social worker, the police, the president etc.!"

"Mmmm, when one of my Avi's classmates broke his glasses, I called the school. They said to call his parents."

"Exactly! And?"

"Yeah, O.K. They agreed to pay for a new pair, but it wasn't so pleasant. And now there's someone bothering Shmuel on the school bus. I want to call the school about it because it's the school that's responsible for what's happening on the busses."

"But why not first give the parents a chance to take care of it?"

Sora gives a tired sigh. "Look, I think we're going around in circles on this one. I'll pray for your son. Good luck."

I hang up the phone and reach for my Tehillim. Here we go, my beautiful son, my precious pikodon.


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