May 23, 2024
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May 23, 2024
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What a Relief, They Are Making It on Their Own

We know that the word entitlement angers some people when in today’s day and age it is used to describe many young people in communities similar to ours and also in more yeshivish communities. Obviously the feeling of “es kumt mir” or “it’s coming to me” makes everyone cringe to hear, even as they watch it happening. Even those who are the biggest culprits in enabling their children to have everything they want no matter what stage they are in life often will lament how much their children need from them.

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is the fact that many who thought their children could not manage without them are suddenly realizing how well they are doing things on their own.

In a recent discussion with a friend who has two sons living in Israel, she voiced her amazement at the fact that one of her sons moved with his family from his apartment in Ramat Gan to a home in Petach Tikvah and managed, despite the fact that they were planning and expecting their parents to be there to help with the move and watch their children. They were startled that their other daughter-in-law who had never made Pesach before was able to do so without their assistance and that she even enjoyed it.

Many young couples, some newly married, made Pesach this year for the first time all alone without family nearby. Amazingly everyone survived. The thought of having to do it prior to the chag was petrifying to many, but in the end, when couples could see what they accomplished together they came out smiling. How many comments were made following the holiday by families that had generally gone away for Pesach, and were now, due to corona, forced to stay at home with just their immediate family, saying how much they enjoyed it and would consider staying home in the future. (We are sure with other family members joining them.)

Those who have been accustomed to having full-time help in their homes were faced with making decisions as to whether or not it was safe to have such people remain in their homes during the height of the pandemic. People who had help and were now without learned how to mop the floors; yes, there is so much laundry; peeling potatoes is not such a skill; and even (yikes) clean the toilets. It can be done without help. Agreed, not pleasurably—if you are accustomed to having someone do it for you, but give yourself a few extra points for all that you were able to accomplish without that extra pair of hands. In some cases, families that never expected spouses—husband or wife—and certainly not children, to be involved in the mundane chores of house cleaning found out that even their kids were capable of making their beds each day. They may never get jobs working in hotels as housekeepers, but that perfect bed was good enough for them to feel good about themselves. The opportunity was made available for every family to work together as a team, and hopefully many took full advantage of this experience. It’s the concept of making gold out of glitter.

To the parents who think that their married children cannot manage without them, we have to say that we learned many years ago how untrue that is. One of the first lessons we learned when we made our big move from Montreal to New Jersey was to realize what wonderful lives our children had developed for themselves on their own without parental involvement. Yes, hopefully we had given them the necessary tools to function independently as adult human beings, but they were perfectly fine on their own. Our generation has allowed us to be very young grandparents, and it would secretly thrill us when we would be mistaken for our grandchildren’s parents. Yet we also knew that our role should in no way interfere with the role of our own children as parents. As much fun as we were (and we hope still are), our grandchildren have only one set of parents. It is not and has never been our desire to discipline, support or criticize anything that goes on in our children’s families. We have been entitled to love and enjoy each day that we see how our families are thriving, and that is probably because of the fact that we do not interfere. We are grateful that our children have allowed us this privilege.

We hope that the past few months will at least serve as a lesson to everyone of how much the “entitled generation” was able to accomplish on their own without being told what to do or how to do it. Will it go right back to where it was in the past when and if this plague ends? We hope that at least some of the lessons learned by both parents and children will be a benefit to them both.


Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick are living in Bergenfield after many years of service to the Montreal Jewish community. Rabbi Glick was the rav of Congregation Ahavat Yisroel as well as a practicing clinical psychologist in private practice. He also taught at Champlain Regional College. The Glicks were frequent speakers at the OU marriage retreats. Nina coordinated all Yachad activities in Montreal and was a co/founder of Maison Shalom, a group home for young adults with special needs. They can be reached at [email protected].

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