Jul 2, 2014

Making a Mentch

I've heard of giving a child's teacher a gift for Chanuka and/or for Purim but today I heard something that goes way beyond that.  A mother of a 6th grade boy said she sends money (she did not specify how much) and a specially worded card every rosh chodesh!

I referred to it as a bribe and she unabashedly agreed, it is definitely a bribe.  She thinks the rebbi deserves it and needs it to handle her not so easy child.  She also said that her father-in-law used to do this and although it's not the "mesorah" on her side of the family, with only one son, she can afford to do it.

On a related note, she said that this child's English teacher is not frum, although Jewish.  He is a retired public school teacher.  Surprisingly, after so many years of experience, he asked in the beginning of the year whether her child is normal! Now, her child can be silly as 12 year old boys can be, but other than that, he is quite a normal and bright child.  She worked hard with her son over the school year and that, together with the fact that the teacher was really quite good and taught interesting things, made the child into quite a good student.

She had her son write this teacher a thank you note at the end of the year, in which he wrote about all he learned and how he became a mentch.  This was given to the teacher with a gift.  The teacher called and asked the mother, did you put your child on medication?

She said, not on your life! She would be the last person to do so, being quite opposed to even more ordinary medical practices.  He asked her several times, because he could not believe that the change in her son was due to parental involvement, hard work, his good teaching, and the child maturing.  I was surprised that a teacher with so much experience could not recognize a normal child from one who is not normal and couldn't believe that improvements can be made without drugs.  When I said so, the mother explained it by saying he is coming from the public school system so his frame of reference is different.

1 comment:

  1. Anyone who works in a public school knows that large numbers of students report to the school nurse daily for their ADHD meds and that these parents are not devoted enough to work with their kids. I raised, keneinahora, 6 kids, four of whom are boys, and no meds, other than those for asthma (we had several major wheezers). We did, however, shlep to tutors and paid money for that, in order to help our children succeed. With very, very, hard work, we helped our youngest child overcome the effects of severe lung damage and a minor brain hemorrhage due to very premature birth. It was constant effort but we did not resort to pills, other than those needed for his physical issues.
    My brother adopted a child from foster care, who was on heavy medication so that the institution he was in could manage him. When the doctor agreed to take him off of it, he ended up in the hospital. The brain does not adjust well to the withdrawal of these drugs. Much hard work has gone into making him normal but it is succeeding.