In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 9, 2005 / 6 Elul, 5765

Big sis passes on lessons to freshman

By Marybeth Hicks

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "There's something you need to know," my eldest daughter announces to her younger sister. "Everyone thinks freshmen are stupid."

"Really?" Her sister's eyes widen as she contemplates this warning. "Everyone?" My incoming freshman already is nervous about the transition ahead.

"That's not true," I say. I sigh and shoot my eldest daughter a look that says, "What are you thinking?"

"'Ya know, on the night before you started high school, there wasn't anyone around eating away at your self-confidence by proclaiming your stupidity," I say.

"Too bad," she says, "but it's true, and she might as well know it now."

I'm trying to figure out if she means it's true that all freshmen are stupid or that everyone thinks so. I almost open my mouth to hash out this issue, but then I remember that you can't have rational discussions with high school juniors. They know everything, and they're not afraid to tell you so.

"The thing to do is keep quiet and don't get noticed. If you stay out of the way, you should be fine." My junior know-it-all is conducting her own version of freshman orientation.

This is not exactly the voice of experience I hoped to hear on the eve of a new school year, but my second daughter is used to it. She has learned to take her sister's advice with a grain of rebellion.

On the other hand, two years ago, my eldest daughter probably could have used someone to help her blaze a trail through the new territory of high school. Instead of a mentor, she had me. If ever there had been any hope she would be considered cool at school, I pretty much erased that possibility at Freshman Orientation Night.

What did I do wrong? When the principal opened the floor for questions, I raised my hand. I can't recall what questions I asked; I only remember repeating frequently, "I'm a freshman mom" to explain my ignorance (as if this weren't already obvious).

In retrospect, I probably should have sat on my hands and learned the ropes along the way without drawing attention to my overeager excitement about having a child in high school.

By the end of the new-parent meeting, it was clear I was a geek mother, which naturally meant I was raising a geek daughter. "Thanks a lot, Mom," my daughter said sarcastically.

"Hey, the truth hurts. You'll get over it."

This time around, I'm no longer a rookie. I don't have questions about the dress code, the tardy policy, the homework load or communicating with teachers. Plus, I have discovered I can get all the information I need and still stay comfortably under the radar, where my teenage daughter prefers I remain.

Of course, this year's new freshman in our home is the child we used to call "Little Miss Independent," which also makes a difference. When she has questions, she won't look to me for the answers, she'll get them herself. She's not afraid to ask for help — or to be known as someone who needs help.

(When they were small, this was the girl who would walk up to a restaurant hostess to ask for crayons. Her older sister would sooner poke her finger and color a picture in blood than ask a stranger for a pencil.)

Still, there's no denying this new frosh has an advantage. With an older sister to forge the way and endure all the embarrassing moments with Mom, she can look cooler and more confident as she faces down the fright of her freshman year. She's playing with the stacked deck in the birth-order game.

We sit around the kitchen table while my high school junior "tells all" about the world she has inhabited on her own for the past two years. She's an expert on teachers ("You will absolutely love Mrs. P."), cafeteria food ("After about a month, the food will make you sick and you'll want to bring lunch from home") and time management ("You always want your math class at the end of the day — in case you don't finish your homework").

She has a long list of do's and don'ts that will assure her younger sister is always appropriate.

"Do stick with your fellow freshmen."

"Don't talk too much in front of upper-class guys."

"Do break out of your middle school clique and make new friends."

"Don't shriek and hug your new friends in the halls as if you haven't seen them in years."

They share a goal not to be embarrassed, so a good deal of listening and learning is going on.

I sit between them, admiring the confidence my eldest daughter has gained since her freshman year and appreciating the deference the younger one shows for her sister's insight and experience.

She's taking it all in, eager to know the ropes without making any humiliating mistakes, which probably are inevitable even with all the coaching from the older, wiser junior in her home.

If she's true to form, Little Miss Independent will absorb everything she sees and hears from her sister, then cut her own path. She counts on sisterly advice to get her out the door, but once she's off and running, her experiences will be her own.

I don't say aloud what I'm thinking because it's too corny, but I sense that after two years at different schools, they're both relieved to be together again — even if one of them is just a freshman.

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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of 18 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


© 2005, Marybeth Hicks