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Thursday
Sep192019

Should I Let my Daughter Invite Friends who don’t Dress Tzniusdik?

Many a time such a question will strike up a heated discussion. One side would strongly claim that we must protect our homes and keep to the highest standards, not letting in any “outside” influences. Others will offer an opposing view on the matter [claiming that such conduct would be divisive and “elitist” in nature. There are indeed cases when one must be wary about which influences reach their children], but I wish to share a perspective that sheds a different light onto this matter.

By Rabbi Mendy Wolf

Let me begin with an anecdote a yungerman I know shared with me:

This Chassid had over for a Shabbos meal a group of non-religious teenagers, as he often did, but this time it wasn’t a usual group. These teens were all from frum homes. At first, his children didn’t know the background of these teens, but they soon came to realize, through the style of the conversations that these teens know a thing or two about Yiddishkeit, they just chose not to perform what they knew. A very different type of guests than the ones they usually hosted.

His young daughter approached her father, and asked him a question that really troubled her: “How can it be that these girls, who went to such-and-such school, look and behave the way they do?”

So, this yundgerman, shared with me how he chose to use this as a unique and amazing chinuch opportunity.

***

Chinuch means to prepare the child for real life. What better chance than this one to help the child understand the real challenges of life and how to deal with them?

He turned to her and said: “Didn’t you yesterday not listen to Mommy? Doesn’t the Torah clearly say to honor your parents?”

— “Well, Ta, you know, it happens sometimes that I fall into my Yetzer Hara’s trap. No one is perfect.”

“And how about the fight you had yesterday with your brother? Isn’t ve’ohavta le’reacha kamocha also a very important mitzvah?

— “Well, Tatty, all kids fight. It happens to everyone”.

“So,” he concluded, “listen to this very important life lesson: in every stage in life people have challenges. The Yetzer Hara you have now will change its face, a different challenge, but your identity doesn’t change, it stays the same.

“These teens are just experiencing challenges like everyone else does. We understand their challenge and we accept them to help them overcome their challenge. That’s why we invite them to our house, so that you can understand that when you face a different challenge, don’t be afraid to share it with me.”

***

We often make a mistake and try to make as if there aren’t any challenges, but real chinuch is to give our children the proper understanding of challenges and nisyonos while giving them the tools to properly respond to their challenges and tackle them.

I definitely would recommend inviting such a friend and teach your child that it’s human to have challenges and how to face them. Encouraging your children to act this way toward a friend will also send them a message that when they have their own challenges, you will be there for them.

Don’t miss out on this huge chinuch opportunity!

Transcribed and edited from a video on StumpTheRabbi.org

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