Jan 27, 2014

Does It Work Both Ways?

There is an ongoing discussion in R' Grylak's column in Mishpacha magazine about parents who expel their wayward children from their homes.  He is incredulous that parents can do this, especially to 15-16 year old girls.

A rabbi who founded a home for these homeless girls tells R' Grylak that it is the shame the parents feel because of their child, the feeling of betrayal, that she humiliated them in front of the world.  "After we sacrificed so much for her, after we nurtured and raised her, she turns around and spits in our faces?" And he says that throwing her out is their revenge.

R' Grylak then goes on to elaborate on the erroneous idea that parents have that their children are their personal property which is why they feel so deeply ashamed and hurt when their children reject their upbringing.

When I read this, my mind went off on a tangent.  According to R' Grylak's reasoning, there would be no good reason for parents to kvell and feel nachas when their children do well.  If, according to him, we should not feel ashamed if our children do things to reject our teachings, by the same token, should we not feel proud and thrilled when our children embrace our teachings?

1 comment:

  1. This concept, that many frum parents care more about being dishonored than the very fact that their children have gone astray, is oft taught by Rabbi Dr. A. Twerski.

    There can be no denying that the twin motivations nachas (reward) and shame (punishment) are part of human nature and part of any civilized society.

    There can also be no denying the perceived and real relationship between the chinuch given by parents/teachers and the behavior of children/students, as the Gemara says in Yuma 86a:

    Abaye explained: As it was taught: ‘And you shall love the Lord your God’ (Deut. 6:5) i.e., that the Name of Heaven be beloved because of you.

    If someone studies Scripture and Mishnah, and attends on the disciples of the wise, is honest in business, and speaks pleasantly to other people, what do people say about him? ‘Happy is the father who taught him Torah, happy is the teacher who taught him Torah; woe unto people who have not studied the Torah; for this man has studied the Torah look how fine his ways are, how righteous his deeds!’ Of him does Scripture say: And He said unto me: You art My servant, Israel, in, whom I will be glorified. (Is. 49:3)

    But if someone studies Scripture and Mishnah, attends on the disciples of the wise, but is dishonest in business, and discourteous in his relations with people, what do people say about him? ‘ Woe unto him who studied the Torah, woe unto his father who taught him Torah; woe unto his teacher who taught him Torah!’ This man studied the Torah: Look, how corrupt are his deeds, how ugly his ways; of him Scripture says: “In that men said of them: ‘These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of His land.’” (Ezek. 36:20)