Reading to my young ones over shabbos, I’ve noticed that there are many books written for frum kids these days. It forced me to think back to my childhood. When I was a kid we had Curious George and Dr. Seuss (both brilliant). No characters with Yarmulkas that I can remember.
A few things bothered me though.
First observation, if one’s entire knowledge of orthodox Judaism were through these books they’d think that at least half of Jewish kids are of healthy Aryan stock. So many of the kids have blonde hair/blue eyes/upturned nose.
C’mon a little realism here.
What’s wrong with the classic Jewish look?
Then I suddenly realized something deeply disturbing.
The world is run by adults.
Everything children read is written by these adults.
All these children books are nothing short of brilliant propaganda. Propaganda on a scale that would make The Soviet (and kazakhstan) Ministry of Altered Reality look like childsplay.
Pull out a book..
now read carefully...
Chaim and Yanky are fighting..Yossi lied..Moishy keeps a messy room...
The Parents..neat, never arguing, always truthful always quietly rebuking these wayward children.
Are you seeing a pattern here?
I’ve never once seen a frazzled mother turn to a child and yell “Not now! Can’t you seeeee I’m on the Phone!!!
Ever see a father with his shirt untucked? Oh no..always perfect...
All joking aside I really think that such propaganda can lead to a crisis of faith when a child grows up and sees that adults are far from perfect.
I remember finding out something about my “perfect” mother that shook me to the core and in a way made it easier for me to be imperfect and not feel so bad about it.
The lesson should be, there’s nothing wrong with a parent admiting doing something wrong or being too harsh and even apologizing. The focus should not be.."be perfect" but "strive to be perfect". Someone who strives and tries to be perfect has nothing to be ashamed of.
Only then will our children emulate us.
Ok..my next project..
Totty takes out the garbage......finally.