Dec 30, 2012

Children - Seen but not Heard

In a previous post: here I quoted Dennis Prager who said we should not be giving children equal status to adults.  I have since heard a story related by Rabbi Manis Friedman about a 14 yr old boy who was thrown out of yeshiva for chutzpa.

MF asked the boy what he was going to do about this. The boy said he would be going back to yeshiva.

MF asked how?! The boy said he wouldn't do it again.

MF asked: "How will you convince the hanhala and why won't you be chutzpadik again? If you think the teacher is stupid, you'll say it again!"

So the boy asked, "What should I do?"

MF wasn't sure this was remotely possible but he said, "You have to be convinced that you are not entitled to an opinion. You are 14 years old and not entitled. Not that you shouldn't voice an opinion, but you are not entitled to one.

The boy asked in astonishment, "I can't have an opinion?!"

MF: "You can have one, but nobody has to hear it, consider it, or obey it. You're not entitled to it. You're just practicing. When a teacher asks you for your opinion, he's helping you practice. And you have to convince your friends of this too."
Surprisingly, the boy did.
A 14 yr old attends a lecture and says, "It was good, although I didn't agree with everything the speaker said."
Parents today are likely to be proud of their intelligent child who expresses such a mature critique.  However, asks MF, what are the chances they did not understand what was said rather than disagreed? Probably 98% of the time they didn't understand, but they already have an opinion and they feel entitled to agree/disagree. It's very dangerous. The relationship between student and teacher is terrible.

A high school teacher recently told me that the hanhala asks the students to tell them what they "feel" about each teacher.  If I didn't hear it directly from a teacher, I'd find it hard to believe this is going on in a frum school.  Hashem yirachem!


1 comment:

  1. The the language of entitlement in today's world makes everyone feel that they have rights that they either don't really have or should not be given. Children may hear their parents complain about not being given something that they feel entitled to such as a parking place, a doctor's appointment, a discount, a pay raise, better service, etc. They may, at some point, become aware that their parents have food stamps, WIC, or medicaid because they are "entitled". They may hear someone complaining about "unfairness" such as airlines that charge grossly overweight passengers for two seats. They may overhear their parents expressing the thought that their family connections make them entitled to greater privileges in the frum community. After awhile, the idea of being entitled to something seeps in and then it is not only a matter of teaching him that not only is he is not yet entitled to express an opinion, but that even grown-ups are actually entitled to very little in this world.