20 September 2006

Teaching Your Children about Boundaries

Monday night as I gathered with other cool yiddishe mamas to talk about our kids and our weight loss goals, one of the ladies told us about something rather discomforting that happened to one of her children on Friday. Please use this incident to guide yourself and your children in what to do should, chas v'shalom, something like this should happen to you:

Tova lives up in the other neighborhood. Her 6 year old son, Naftali, is in kindergarten at cool yiddishe maidel's school. Last Friday, he was riding the bus home and the driver told Naftali to get off the bus (at the wrong stop). He had this little boy leave the bus on the other side of a rather busy street. While he was at the end of his own street, there was no way to be able to cross as the closest crosswalk was by a main intersection (besides, he's six years old and not sure what to do in a situation like this).

Little Naftali was sitting there crying. Suddenly a car pulls up next to him. The man gets out of the car and shows the boy that he's wearing a kipa and tells him that he's knows Naftali's abba (not even true because he didn't even know Naftali). Naftali gets into the car with the man he doesn't even know. [This is usually where the story gets frightening in other situations.] The unidentified man takes Naftali home and finds his family name inside his lunchbox. Using a community directory, he is able to find out where the boy lives. It turns out to be a few houses away from where they are. [Since all the man's kids are older, they never "ran in the same circles", so to speak.] The man takes Naftali home to a relieved Tova and her husband. Tova wrote a letter to the school district to complain about this driver. He was a sub for the week and knew Naftali's stop.

Barukh Hashem, the story ended on a positive note. He was returned to his family. However, how many of our children would just go off with a complete stranger, frum or not, just because they say and do the right things? I know that I was frightened, especially after Rivki told us about the rash of frum kidnappings in NY over the summer. Cool yiddishe maidel is an extremely friendly child and would probably go off with just about anyone. While I may be telling her that if she's lost, find a "police officer" (if we are at the mall), how useful would that information be if she was left off at the wrong bus stop?

The downside is that, in some places, we do not know our neighbors or even people who live in the same neighborhood as us. There needs to be at least one "safe house" on every street that children know they can run to if something were to happen.

My friend, Rivki, opens her home to all the kids in the neighborhood. One girl over Shabbat (whose 11 or 12 years old) demonstrated that she was never taught to have good middot by commenting on my larger physique and my seemingly "shleppy" clothes. [I have small children. If I'm with them there's no point in putting on my "good stuff" because it'll get dirty. In addition, how fresh do any of us look by mincha time on Shabbat?] While some of the kids leave much to be desired with their fine display of "derekh eretz", it is still clear that they are safe there. This particular girl comes from a large family and none of the ladies from the neighborhood have spoken to or seen the mother since they moved in. To be continued...

If I don't get a chance to do another blog, K'TIVAH V'CHATIMAH TOVAH to everybody.


  1. Welcome back and L'Shanah Tovah. The bus story is just downright scary, even though it ended well.

    I can relate to the clothing story. Ugh.

  2. That is a really scary story. I have started teaching DS his phone number and he knows both our first names and his last name. And like you said, he knows to find a policeman if he gets lost or to tell the teacher or a mommy if another kid is hurting him - but what do we do when it's adults that are the problem? (You'll have to tell me the end of the story if you hear what happened to the driver.)

    As far as that girl - I am still shocked that she would think to speak to an adult that she doesn't know like that. Obviously there's something not right going on there.

  3. Unfortunately, some of the adults in our communities sit around and critique the outfits, sheitels, etc, of other people. So, of course, the kids do the same.

  4. Too scary about the bus incident--I'm glad everything turned out ok...Btw, I'm Hila. I found your blog through Sephardilady and I have to say, I'm hooked now! gmar chatima tova!

  5. hashem yishmorcho mikol ro!!

  6. CYM,

    Where are ya? I hope you are well, and that your family is well! I miss you. Please post/comment/email soon! Take care.



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