kids' needed freedom to make mistakes, chuppah, parents' transitions,  familial growth, blessings
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The NJP Blogs

In this section, we present an ever-growing collection of brief articles, essays, poetry, news, recipes, and more—all contributed by our members.

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KJ Hannah Greenberg


Although big children are required, upon reaching their twentieth birthdays, to turn over their copies of Advanced Methods for Adolescent Insanity to their younger siblings, my "adventures in good parenting" continues with them all the same

August 2012 Posts


Life With Teens & Twenties
Blog Entry

To the Chuppah without Interference

Tuesday, August 21st 2012 @ 4:08 PM    post viewed 1754 times

“Marriage.” I allow the word to roll around on my tongue. Missy Older is, now, mazel tov, a kallah. She has a chatan. They are getting married. They, B’ezrat Hashem, will share a life of health, of wealth, and of joy. He is a wonderful young man, Baruch Hashem! Computer Cowboy and I will be his in-laws and our machatunim will be our daughter’s parents by marriage.

The twosome’s chatunah, a Yom Kippur, a Shabbot of Shabbasim, will be a time of extra neshemot. Their prayers will go faster than average to Shamayim as heaven’s gates will be open to them. Those young people, at that time, as well, will be lifted higher than normal off of this world.

Back down on Earth, the rest of us will continue to experience those children’s journey as having gone by remarkably quickly. We will, for example, remember, specifically, when Missy Older was born. We will remember that our home-birthed dear one took roughly forty-eight hours to enter this world. We will remember that she bestowed upon us the blessing of Ima and Abba status, that she transformed us from a couple to a family.

We will bring to the fore, too, recollections of subsequent of her adventures, almost all of which became additional “family firsts.” She crawled, walked, spoke, and crayoned shortly before Older Dude joined our scene and long before Missy Younger or Younger Dude even glimmered as possibilities in our familial reality.

She learned Shema first. She went to school first. She became, in the eyes of Torah, at twelve, an adult first.

Interestingly, every time Missy Older shifted developmentally, BH (growing out of clothes and out of dependencies, alike, are blessings), we, her mom and dad, had to adjust the ways in which we guided her. For this newest change, too, we need to make modifications in our parenting. Mostly, we have to step aside whenever our daughter makes dumb choices.

Whereas it is morally proper to point out dangerous or destructive options, whether those problems loom for individuals or for people with whom individuals interact, it is poor aid, especially as kids grow up, to point out potential consequences of foolish decision-making. It’s tough to jump from heights if you don’t yet know how to fly, intuitively or through practice. It’s as tough to build a home if you haven’t yet discovered your voice and found ways to be comfortable using it. Part of attaining skills is failing.

Applying make-up, fixing a car engine, understanding Gemara, learning compassion, mending socks, baking brownies, washing windows, building a kosher sukkah, knowing when to ask formal shilot and when not to ask them, all come with practice. As Jews, we are bid to neither add nor subtract from the ways of Torah. That success, too, comes with experience.

Whereas parents ought to make food choices for their toddlers, they would be foolish to do so for their twenty year-olds. Whereas parents ought to guide their boys and girls in tzniut words and deeds, they would be foolish to interfere with young marrieds’ choice of garments or with their decisions about verbal revelations.

We need to live our dreams, not to impost them on our children. Sharing values is not the same as telling our grown kids what to do. By the time of the chuppah, parents’ are obliged to shut up and to step back. In the least, we want the next generation to sagaciously raise our grandchildren. The cost of such wisdom is their exercising their own critical and creative thinking. It remains okay to cheer them on from the sidelines, though.

Fortunately, Hashem gives each of us an entire lifetime in which to grow. Fortunately, He stands by us as we cartwheel on metaphorical balance beams, spotting us so we don’t get hurt (if we’re not supposed to as a means of learning), and administering to our needs if difficulties, has v’shalom, have to occur. Why would our Tatty bShamayim do any less for our kids?

My family’s new zug, around whom much bustle in both homes full of parents and of siblings is centering, will, with Hashem’s help, build a bayis neeman biyisrael, ubinyan adei ad. The best help we older folks can give them is to encourage, but not to intervene, with their progress. We need to trust that in partnership with The Boss they will be fine.

Stories to follow; I’m more than excited about becoming a mother in-law!



Yael Resnick
Aishes Chayil
Yael said on Sunday, September 2nd 2012 @ 10:13 AM:

Mazel tov, Channie!! Smile

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