On….and Off

A couple of days ago, JJ and his “girlfriend” were talking and laughing and everything, and the next thing I knew, JJ was sad and said that the girl wanted to “just be friends” and the Prom was off. He doesn’t know what happened. It was very sudden. This is really what EJ and I were concerned about–that JJ hadn’t known the girl very long, he hadn’t met her in person, he hadn’t been on a date with her, and suddenly she invited him to the biggest event of high school? We would have preferred that they go on small dates, get to know each other, and then the Prom would be a special date for two real friends. Before we spent $$$ for the Prom, we wanted to make sure this girl was asking our son because she wanted to go with HIM and not merely because she needed a date or because her “preferred” date couldn’t make it. We didn’t want her cancelling at the last minute. High school relationships are messy, with guys and girls jumping from one relationship to another. We weren’t sure JJ was ready for the dramatic mess of it all.

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“Anyone Who Converses Excessively…”

I am part of a group that is studying the book Pirkei Avot, which translates to English as Chapters of the Fathers. It is a compilation of the ethical teachings and maxims of the Rabbis from centuries ago. Because of its contents, it is also called Ethics of the Fathers. Our teacher is Keren Hannah Pryor of the Center for Judaic-Christian Studies sends an email every week with a portion from the book and her thoughts on it, and then a Facebook group discusses it. JJ and I  also discuss the teachings in our homeschool.

A couple of weeks ago, our portion was the following:

Avot 1:5  Yossei ben Yochanan of Jerusalem says: Let your house be open wide; treat the poor as members of your household; and do not converse excessively with women. They said this even about one’s own wife; surely it applies to another’s wife. Consequently the Sages said: Anyone who converses excessively with a woman causes evil to himself, neglects Torah study, and eventually will inherit Gehinnom.

When we read the part about not conversing excessively with a woman, JJ’s eyes sparkled with mischief, as you can probably imagine. Before he could speak, I said “Wait a minute!” (while feeling a bit offended and hoping this would not lead to a put down of women….). When it comes to Hebraic/Jewish teachings, it seems to me that it’s not usually what it first appears to be. “So let’s keep reading and see what this REALLY means.”

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A Gentle World With Gentle People

My son hasn’t been the easiest person to live with in the last couple weeks. He is more argumentative (and insulting) than normal when he doesn’t get his way. I suspect he is trying to establish his independence and he thinks he is scoring a win when his skillful words hurt, but he doesn’t yet realize how damaging his words can be.

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