Home
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 April 17, 2008 / 12 Nissan 5768

A son's familiar journey

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | My beloved Caleb,


Not long ago I stumbled upon a document you created on our computer. It was titled "Rules and suggestions for stealing candy," and, sure enough, what followed was a series of pointers on how to filch sweets and get away with it. Rule number 4, for example, advised: "Clean up after yourself: Don't leave a big mess or others will know that you took something. Remember to close doors, cupboards, drawers, and containers."


It was certainly a brazen piece of writing. (It was also, I couldn't help noticing, well-organized and carefully spell-checked.) To your credit, you didn't deny authorship when I confronted you with it. Unfortunately you didn't seem the least bit remorseful, either.


Your penchant for pinching treats is not exactly a news flash — you've been caught at it more than a few times, most recently when I came across a full-size box of Froot Loops stashed under the covers in your bed. Mama was aghast when I showed it to her — by now she's decided you're well on your way to a criminal career. I can sympathize with her dismay. But as a former 11-year-old boy myself, I'm not quite ready to pronounce you incorrigible.


More often than you know, your infractions and misdemeanors remind me of things I did and the ways I acted when I was your age. No, I never smuggled Froot Loops into bed. But I can recall similar sins: sneaking down to the basement freezer, for example, spoon in hand, to gorge on ice cream when no one was looking. Or pilfering chocolates from the food locker and refusing to 'fess up, even though it meant letting suspicion fall on my siblings.


Nowadays, it's what comes out of your mouth, not what goes into it, that is more likely to get you in trouble: At times you seem to go out of your way to give offense, spouting ill-mannered comments or mocking gibes that you know quite well are going to provoke a backlash. As a "tween" I could be like that too. Time and again I would pop off, pushing my teachers' buttons with obnoxious remarks or inappropriate wisecracks, frequently getting kicked out of class as a consequence. I wasn't nearly so insolent at home, where my parents believed in corporal punishment — and lived up to that belief.


With you it's the other way around: The backtalk and insubordination you save up for your parents, while at school your teachers sing your praises and tell us how courteous, mature, and pleasant you are.


To tell the truth, Caleb, I prefer it that way. I'm quite willing to live with your occasional pique and petulance if it means that the rest of the world sees you at your best. I can't say I enjoy our tug-of-wars, but I understand them. With the approach of adolescence, you sometimes find yourself feeling irritable and resentful, aggrieved by perceived indignities, beset by fools and charlatans whose only skill seems to be to get in your way, or on your nerves. Believe it or not, I've been there too. And if you think your parents excel at finding ways to annoy you now, just wait till you're 14 or 15. We'll be really good at it then.


When you were a baby, I loved watching you sleep. Sometimes I would stroke your tiny hand as you lay in your crib, and you would instinctively wrap your fingers around one of mine, clinging to me even in your sleep. Could you sense somehow that I was a safe harbor, a snug refuge from the world's storms and stresses? Mama and I have tried to be that haven, to furnish you with the physical, emotional, and spiritual resources you'll need as you journey through life.


But harbors aren't only places of sanctuary and shelter. They're also the stable places you push back from when it's time to head out into the world. You're 11 now, growing steadily more independent and beginning to test your sails. Increasingly you push back instead of clinging, insisting on your way instead of mine. The day will eventually come when you're ready to head off on your own. Wherever the voyage takes you, Caleb, we'll always be your home port.


All my love,
Papa

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

Jeff Jacoby Archives

© 2006, Boston Globe

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles