The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Parenting Story

A few years ago, when OYS was a sophomore in high school, we had an ongoing discussion about where he would be going for the summer. He would be spending the summer in Israel; the question was which program.

His older brother, OOS, had spent his sophomore summer at the NCSY Kollel and had a wonderful summer. Not only did he have a lot of fun, he grew up and got his first real appreciation for learning.

We, of course, wanted OYS to go the Kollel but he had other plans. His good friends were planning on going to a sketchy co-ed summer program in Israel and there was nothing we could do or say that would persuade him otherwise.

This became one of those issues that parents face from time to time. When do you lay down the law and when do you back off? Or, in other words, how do you pick your battles. After much soul searching, MHW and I backed down and let him go to the sketchy program even though we were not happy about it.

Fast forward three years. It is now OYD's sophomore year and she has a choice to make. (Interestingly, although she never even considered the sketchy co-ed summer program, OYS called her from Israel where he is in yeshiva, and told her not to go there!)

OYD was thinking about going to a certain girl's program in Israel. We preferred that she go to Michlelet, the girls equivalent of the Kollel. We talked about it for a while but didn't seem to be making much headway, mainly because some of her friends were planning to go to the other girl's program and friends trump parents 9 times out of ten (or is that ten out of ten?). Although we did not object to the other girl's program nearly as much as the sketchy co-ed program, we still felt strongly that OYD would benefit more from Michlelet. Once again, we seemed to be faced with a "pick your battle" decision.

Then OOD came to the rescue. OOD works as a mentor in the school that OYD attends. OOD, an alum, is very frum and very tznuah while still being "cool" and the school hires a bunch of girls like her to serve as role models. The mentors hang out on Friday mornings and attend special school events and just shmooze and hock with the girls. One Friday, one of OOD's former teachers asked OOD where OYD was planning to go for the summer. OOD answered that she was leaning to the other girl's program. This teacher, whom OOD loves and respects, strongly urged OOD to convince OYD to go to Michlelet instead. She felt it would be a much better fit for many reasons.

That night, as the three of us were walking home from Shul, OOD told OYD what had transpired at school. OOD told OYD that she also thought that she should go to Michlelet. OYD looked at OOD and said, "OK".

That was it. One five minute conversation. Now OYD is actually excited about Michlelet, knows that it is the right choice and is actually trying to convince a friend to go along with her.

I'm not entirely sure what to make of this.



  • At 10:16 AM, Blogger uberimma said…

    I wouldn't feel bad about it--it's not you. It's probably a matter of YYD seeing the other mentor, and YOD, as people who have more knowledge and experience of girls' programs in general. How is any 50-something person, even your own parent, going to know as much about what makes a program good or bad as a girl who was just there a couple of years ago? It's pretty logical.

  • At 10:23 AM, Blogger LittleBirdies said…

    Sometimes a kid responds better to a sibling's advice then to parents'. They feel it's less of a generation gap. I've seen it in my own family--(I used to go to my siblings for advice before my parents) and in my husband's family (where his younger brothers come to hime).

  • At 11:35 PM, Blogger עזרא said…

    Yeehaa! NCSY Kollel represent...


Post a Comment

<< Home