By a concerend father
I feel like I’m obligated to address the public with this issue after what happened this past week.
It was a regular Sunday afternoon when my son comes home from yeshiva for lunch as I was learning Rambam. “Ta, can I watch the Super Bowl tonight at my friend’s house with a bunch of friends?” he asked.
I was completely shocked. I knew that the Super Bowl was some famous sports game that millions of people watched. I just couldn’t understand why my son wanted to watch something which never came up or was spoken about in our house when I was his age.
I told him, “I don’t know and I’m not familiar with these things at all. I just don’t we should be watching something we don’t know what kind of dangerous stuff can pop-up. I don’t think this is important enough for you to make yourself a hefker and lower our family’s standards.”
My son then broke into tears and started telling me hysterically: “Why should I be the only kid in my class to be at night Seder tonight? Why should I be the only yotzeh min haklall? Why can’t you find another thing to let out our family standards on? Why should I be the only sucker? Why should I be the only kid not to have something to say by our class conversations?”
I tried to explain to him that some things in life are more important than others and that our family standards are an important thing that can’t be compromised at any price. But to no avail…
He responded back with the same drashah once again – just with more intense tears.
I told him that no way are you missing yeshiva to watch a sports game.
He told me the embarrassment he’s gonna have when he tells his friends he’s not allowed to come because of his family standards and how embarrassing it’s going to be when he’s the only kid in his class at Seder.
Left with little choice, I told him he can go to his friend’s house after seder and remain there only until 10:00 PM.
He was very upset with that but I wasn’t going to compromise more than that.
The outcome? nothing positive.
I can’t forgive myself for even letting up on my family standards because the sad reality is that one thing can lead to the next. And now my son knows that as long as his friends are doing the wrong thing, he can’t be a yotzeh min haklall and he can do whatever he wants.
The truth is that it’s really our fault. Where is the chasidishe pride that existed in the days of old? Why are we letting our children be hefker tzum velt? Why should our kids be doing stuff that we never did just because the velt does so? Did Chassidim and Chassidus change?
The difference between now and 25 years ago is that back then we were proud to be chassidim of the Rebbe, proud of our way of life. These days, we’re chasing the “velt,” watching nonsense on our phones and we are paying for it the way our children learn from our negative levushim and lack of chasidishe pride.
When will we start being proud again? When will our children be like us when we were that age and separated from stupidities of “velt”? When will we teach our kids that we have a Rebbe?