Saturday Night Thoughts

It is almost 10:30 and I thought that now is as good a time as any to share my thoughts on a variety of things.

I’ll start out by saying that Mirty deserves kudos for her job on Haveil Havalim 27. Check it out there is a lot of meat there. If you are not familiar with term you can think of it as being a round up of the Jewish blogosphere with posts covering the disengagement, sex in the yeshiva world, gay pride parades, and more.

If you are Jewish I strongly urge you to check it out and if you are not and you want to see an example of how diverse the Jewish community is go ahead and check it out.

I mentioned Live 8 in an earlier post and wanted to return to it for a moment. I watched the first one by satellite. I was in Jerusalem at a place called Champ’s Pub which I believe still exists. I was drunk, or close to it, as were my companions. We were 16 and away from home and living a life that so many never do.

I’d like to say that the experience sobered me up and that it made such an impact that I went home and dedicated my life to helping people, but it would be a lie. In truth I cannot remember if it made that kind of impact upon me. Much of the world seemed to be focused on things of that nature, Live Aid, BandAid, We Are The World and then Hands Across America.

I was involved in aspects of many different efforts to help people, it was part of the daily routine of the various youth groups that I was involved in, so it is not that I was totally ignorant or unaware. I wasn’t and I think that I was concerned, but it is hard to go back 20 years and see clearly.

What I know is that now it really does affect me more than ever. Now I sit here and I thank G-d that I have been given so many things and I remember that I do have many blessings. It doesn’t mean that I am not going to complain or be upset about the things that impact my life. They may not be as bad or have the same impact as the suffering of people elsewhere, but it is my pain and I own it.

What this really reminds me is that one of my goals is to see that my children are raised to have empathy, to understand that sometimes we need to help people. That they know when to offer a hand and that when someone refuses because their pride does not allow them to accept handouts they can remind them it is ok to accept a handup, there is a difference.

I was happy to read about the missing girl from Idaho that they just found and sad to read that they found her with a convicted sex offender. It seems more often than not that these guys are not rehabilitated and that they are also victims of abuse. It is a vicious cycle and it makes me so very sad. You feel badly that it happened to them, but you cannot excuse their behavior.

I just will never understand how people can hurt a child. In the years that I worked with children I encountered a number that were abused and some that I suspected were. I had a fourteen year old boy sob on my shoulder because his father took out his hatred of the mother by telling his son tales of their sex life. And that is the watered down version. I don’t get it.

And now for the latest dilemma in parenting, the behavior of children and the reaction of their parents. At my son’s day camp there is a large boy who is relatively rough in his play. My son told me that this boy has knocked him and some of the other boys down. I asked my son what he did and have gotten several different responses.

I am not surprised, he is only 4.5 so some of this is natural.

One of the mothers of the other boys immediately had her son switched to another group. I am not a big fan of that. I don’t want my son to be hurt, but I can’t always be there to help him and I think that it is important for him to learn how to handle this.

I told him that if this other boy is bothering him he should ask him to stop and that if that does not work to tell a counselor.

And then I told him that if the counselor doesn’t help him he is allowed and encouraged to defend himself. I was very careful and cautious in my language. I don’t want him to get hurt by this boy and I don’t want him to be pushed around. And frankly I would prefer that he not hurt this boy, but I cannot allow this to continue unabated.

I had my first fist-fight at 5.5. I still remember and I remember those that came afterwards. I didn’t have all that many disagreements, certainly not as many as some others I know, but I did the dance. I was never one to take much guff, but age has taught me many lessons including how to walk away and I am thankful for that.

When people say that there is no harder job than being a parent they weren’t kidding. So many questions and no manual. I just make it up as I go along, but I kind of suspect most of us do.

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