In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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 March 4, 2008 / 27 Adar I 5768

Material kids

By Tom Purcell

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I wish I hadn't lent my bike to my sister Kris.

Maybe I better explain.

The Children's Society, a charitable group in the UK dedicated to improving childhood, released the results of a recent survey. It found that kids are way too materialistic these days.

Look at the average suburban kid. He or she is outfitted with more technical gadgets and trendy, fashionable clothing than a model in Abercrombie & Fitch. Many of these kids appear to get whatever it is they demand their guilt-riddled parents buy for them.

Peer pressure puts kids in a competitive race to own the latest, the coolest and the most expensive junk with the hopes of impressing the other kids and fitting in. The survey finds that the kids most influenced by commercial pressures suffer more mental-health issues.

It certainly wasn't like that when I was a kid in the '70s. Most households had only one income earner. Our parents didn't have the cash to buy us the junk we wanted. Which brings us to my bike.

I'd been hoping for a new bike for Christmas and finally got one in 1972. It was a Huffy spider bike — complete with long handlebars, a banana seat and neon-green paint that made it the coolest bike in the neighborhood.

I was consumed with so much joy that day, I couldn't imagine any gift that could make me happier. But then my godmother Shirley gave me a top-of-the-line bicycle odometer. It wasn't one of the cheap devices that every kid bolted onto his front-wheel fork; all the cheap ones did was register mileage.

No, this odometer bolted onto the handle bars. It had a real display that measured both mileage and speed. I spent hours seeing how fast I could get the bike to go (I hit 44 miles per hour one day while peddling like mad down a long hill in the county park).

And I spent hours trying to rack up mileage. That was prestige in those days — the more miles on your odometer, the cooler you were. But my lust for mileage proved to be my undoing.

One beautiful summer day, my sister Kris asked to borrow my bike. She wanted to go for a ride in the park with her friend. Eager to record more mileage, I handed it over without a thought.

But Kris didn't make it to the park that day. She rode to the Murphy's Mart department store a few miles away instead. It never occurred to her that my beautiful Huffy spider bike — with its highly coveted odometer — might require a lock. It was long gone by the time she exited the store.

I've been a writer a long time and still can't find the words to describe the pain I knew that day. I wonder how kids today might respond to such an experience. Would they even care?

Or would they just assume that green Huffy spider bikes grow on trees — that pestering Mom and Dad will instantly produce another?

That couldn't happen in 1972. We couldn't afford another new bike, but my father found one in the bargain paper. It was a Murray five-speed with dual hand brakes. The shifter handle had been snapped in half, but otherwise she was as good as new.

And though I never would have a top-of-the-line odometer again, I rode that bike many enjoyable miles. I hold fond memories of both bikes, because I was, in many ways, luckier than kids are today.

Many parents didn't have the dough to spoil their kids with material junk. Peer pressure has always existed, but most kids in the '70s couldn't use materialism as a means to express it.

No, parents used their limited means to give us only what we needed. And what every kid needs more than stuff is love and stability and a mother and father who are always there for him. Lucky for me, my parents provided an abundance of that.

And that was even more valuable than a Schwinn Orange Krate spider bike, the most coveted two-wheeled machine in the history of kid-dom.

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© 2007, Tom Purcell