Compassion that kills

The Young Israel of Woodmere's summer learning program includes some morning shiurim for women. Wednesdays were devoted to Megillas Eicha with Mrs. Gitta Neufeld. This  week, in covering the fourth perek, she shared a twist on the pshat of the 10th verse:
The hands of compassionate women boiled their own children; they have become their food in the destruction of the daughter of my people.ייְדֵ֗י נָשִׁים֙ רַֽחֲמָ֣נִיּ֔וֹת בִּשְּׁל֖וּ יַלְדֵיהֶ֑ן הָי֤וּ לְבָרוֹת֙ לָ֔מוֹ בְּשֶׁ֖בֶר בַּת־עַמִּֽי:
She called that way back when her son was in sixth grade at Darchei Torah, the rule was that the students that age had to be in for minyan, which entailed arriving by 7:45 in the morning. One mother was particularly upset by this rule and attempted to circulate a letter protesting the rule, arguing that the kids already have a very long day and shouldn't have to be in that early.

The principal Rabbi Bender (whom she identified as a mechthan of theirs, though not yet at that time) came up with a sharp response, quoting the first half of this verse.

Unfortunately, the tendency to pamper and spoil children has only intensified over the past few decades. As a result, children are never forced to develop resilience. We see more helicopter parenting and more adult children being supported by their parents -- at least partially even when they are parents themselves and already in their thirties and even older.

As a parent myself, I understand the protective impulse that drives parents to do these things. But establishing a regular pattern of behavior in which the parent always swoops in to shelter a child from all the naturally occurring slings and arrows of life ultimately leads to adults who don't develop the ability and self-confidence to tackle things themselves.

They may have everything else because the parent makes sure they get the house, furniture, clothes, etc., but they would always be lacking the feeling of accomplishment that comes from making it and earning it on your own. This normalizes na'ama dekjisufa, which I find extremely troubling on a very deep level beyond the problem of inflated expectations for material things and lowered expectations for individual responsibility.

Note: I was inspired to write this up because of an email exchange with the blogger formerly known as Barzila who may or may not recall this

Related post

Like and follow on Facebook


Popular Posts