Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Authentic Life

Rabbi Yissocher Frand, We Are All in this Together:

I want to share a letter a Bais Yaakov girl sent to her principal. Before I share it, I will point out that this stinging indictment is one girl's opinion, but I think it is somewhat indicative of what many other children nowadays may be feeling:

"So your parents push you into the right Bais Yaakov. You go to the right camp and seminary. You build your résumé. Then your father buys you some cliché to marry. Then you have a daughter whom you push to the right school, the right camp, the right seminary, so that she can marry a cliché.

"And then we all die."

I can see it from both sides. 

Not all of us want to be "different." The meaning of "different" can range from the innocent—like preferring non-Heinz ketchup—to the more drastic. 

From childhood on, I wanted to be different. In my zealousness to be unique, I wasn't always true to myself. Ironic. I was adamant throughout my elementary school years that my favorite color was purple, since it was no one else's choice. It took me years to figure out which shades really appeal (red, green, and cerulean blue).

It took me some time to accept that sometimes I would like something that everyone else did, too. 

For those who just wants to belong, who don't want to stand out, who don't want to see or know of a different life or else their heads will explode: I get it. I do. 

But what to if they have kids who take after some obscure Babi and don't want to live that way? Could it be even mentally possible for an unimaginative parent to unbend?  The child who wants to do her own thing can't comprehend what her folks are getting so worked up over; they, in turn, can't understand why their child would question everything they hold dear. 

Can they meet in the middle? 

I hope so.

1 comment:

Daniel Saunders said...

My sister loves purple! She was very pleased when I bought purple paint to paint my Dark Elf miniature models.

I want to be myself, but I also want to be accepted. It is easy to get into the mindset of thinking being different is being myself. As you say, that is not always the case. But sometimes it is. And sometimes it's nice to have obscure hobbies or interests, just for yourself (I like decades-old TV science fiction). But it's also nice to find someone who shares those interests. Life is hard!