Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's the parents!

Choosing a school based on the middos reputation of its students is a very common occurrence amongst frum people. Like with most things frum people do, this specific occurrence irks me as well.

For example, this shabbos the rabbi of my shul said he will probably send his daughter to a certain school because he doesn't want to worry about her going on drugs, being in the streets, and possibly going off the derech. He said that he's capable of supplementing her education so its not going to be a problem.

Here goes my rant:

WTH is wrong with people these days? We are currently experiencing the highest OTD rate in as long as anyone can remember, as well as the highest BT/conversion rates in history.

So lets take schooling for example:

Many of the OTD people went to typical BY/Yeshivish type schools. They had terrible education, no outside world influences, they didn't speak to people of the opposite gender, and yet, at a certain age, they began to realize there must be more to the world than just blindly following a penguin wannabe. Some people find answers to their own questions, some never ask and just follow the status quo as hard as it may be, while others just decide they want nothing to do with the people who make clarity so difficult to find, and eventually choose a different lifestyle.

Lets take the average BT. The average BT went to a public school or a kiruv type school with VERY lenient rules. Meaning, the BT came from a background that allowed for ALOT Of socialization amongst all different types of people. These people socialized (assuming they're from a city where the trends are high) with Muslims, Christians, atheists, hindus, Buddhists; they've also socialized with many different types of people in reference to race and culture. They've probably been to people's houses and tried a variety of ethnic foods.

These people somehow find a way to become frum. They give up their free-lifestyle. They commit to doing NOTHING one day a week, they commit to not eating certain foods, basically, they generally commit to an entirely different lifestyle than they are used to.

Now...why would someone who has alot of freedom choose to become frum, while someone who is raised with the restrictions and is used to the lifestyle, go off the derech?

Clearly its not IN THE SCHOOL. CLEARLY!! Or else no PS kid would ever in their lives become frum, and neither would a nice BY/yeshivish person go OTD.

It's the parents. Sadly, I feel the parents in frum homes have no say whatsoever in their child's life anymore. They send their kids to schools. These schools decide for the parents what the kid can/cannot do. What the kid can/not see. The school chooses who the kid can or cannot be friends with, and which music the kid can/cannot listen to. They also declare which locations are appropriate for the kid to socialize in, and which ones are innappropriate.

Where are the parents? Oh, that's right, the parents are busy reproducing, so that 5 yrs later they can complain about how they cannot afford tuition to send their kids to schools they cannot afford that doesn't teach anything anyway... the PS system, the parents are FORCED to parent, because if they don't, children will end up totally messed up. And if the parents don't parent? The kid learns to make their own decisions. Some kids make mistakes, while some don't. It's all relative to the personalities and the INDIVIDUALITY that develops when you're in a school with a DIVERSE group of people.

When you're in a school with people who are not like you, you tend to question why you do what you do. You question why you're different, and often, people have a specific preference to their own culture, and they form an identity with people who are similar to themselves. They come up with cliques, in which the students find themselves as part of a community of people who are LIKE them! Even if a student forms a clique of people based on things other than ethnicity, there would still be an ultimate binding factor that the student feels is essential to their personal identity.

A student, in such an environment, learns to take care of itself, based on the guidelines their parents set for them in the home.

If a student has bad parents, they wouldn't survive the PS system, because they are likely to find themselves with a group of people who are clueless.

Being a part of the frummy yeshiva system requires bad parents. If parents were decent, they wouldn't feel compelled to leaving their kids in schools for crazy hours. They'd want their kids at home, reading a book, or possibly hanging out with a friend, watching a movie or doing HW or playing a game.

IN the frum world, its no wonder they fear sending their kid to decent education schools, and not focus on middos. They fear the inevitable- their bad parenting would cause their kids to go OTD.


Mikeinmidwood said...

You were right and wrong. First everyone can choose for themselves (once they hit a certain age like 9) in which direction they want to go.
Second the parents are not to blame its the teachers. I had a rebbi who tried to brainwash us when we were in third grade (I was 8). I agreed with everything he said until I repeated it to my father which he then taught me the real way to think. See parent = good unless parent learned everything from school.

I believe in sendng your children to camps their friends arent going to since if they stay with the same friends the whole year they dont get a diversity of jewish culture. I will explain. If you send your kid to a good Yeshivah and send him to the camp which everyone in his class go to. He will end up thinking like everyone in his class which would be only hat and jcket type people. If you send him to a camp for lets say more state of Israel loving people the child will learn more ways to think then just one and will eventually grow to except many jewish cultures which arent just black hat but keep all the Torah and Misvot.

Child Ish Behavior said...

I made a similar post to this affect a while back. Though, speaking to a old Russian Jewish immigrant fellow in school recently, he told me that it was his feeling that Jews as a whole care less for each other now a days than they used to. With this being the case in a higher educational system, what is to say it will be any different if Jews all went to public school?

frumskeptic said...

Mike in midwood- You make a very good point. But your parents are prob more the exception. Many parents just send their kids to schools that they won't have to worry about them.

My principal banned concerts, and one girl in the class asked her how its her decision to ban the concerts, and why its not the parents, she said that its because the parents are so busy they don't know what the teenager is all about. She said that it is her job to know the teenager, and the moms entrust the girls to her, so they don't have to worry...isn't that sick?

Plus well..what the Rabbi said about choosing a school based on middos and not education...thats just ewww.

childish- I dont promote PS for all people. I dont care where you send your kid, as long as you aren't dumb enough to look down on education. YOu should pick a school based on education and parent your kids.

frumskeptic said...

mike- I meant they send their kids to camps like the schools, so they don't bother having to pay attention to middos or education or anything, because they're ok with their kids being the same.

Child Ish Behavior said...

Why is education any more important than middos? You know what they say, a high Social IQ is more important than a high Real IQ when it comes to measuring overall success in life. Good middos does correlate well with high social IQ.

frumskeptic said...

But if you're a complete dumbbutt, you're not gonna get anywhere in life. You need both.

Plus, the point of this post is that the schools don't determine middos, any school with good parents would create good kids.

Child Ish Behavior said...

If I were doing a statistical study of the factors that go into determining Good Middos and I believed that different factors go into it's determination. I would likely test a variable that had something to do with the peer group that the person interacts with as they grow up. I would also include the involvement of the parents, as well as many other variables. I think that it is a little too cut and dry to put all the explanatory power of "Good Middos" solely on the shoulders of the parents. After all, the type of parents is only one of the factors.

I have not done such a study, nor have you. Though it seems a good place as any to start some sort of sociological study in the Jewish Community, Being that "Good Middos" is unique to Jewish People. ;)

shoshi said...

about "camps".

I think what you say about sending your kids to different camps than everyone in their class is a very adult type of thinking.

I'll explain what I mean.

I went to a private french school (so that I would learn french) and my parents believed in sending me to ski camps with "more down to earth people" or let's say "working class" children.

Result: I was made fun of because I learnt to write in a different way than them and in general I was very unhappy at these camps.

So it could be that your children enjoy their camps a lot, but I would be very, very careful with your kind of logic. It can make a child unhappy in camp.

DYS said...

It's also the education. If the frummie schools didn't ignore the tricky questions and didn't ignore other cultures, the students wouldn't feel so stifled and curious.

mlevin said...

Shoshi - again it's upto the parents to pick a camp based on child's personality. Once chosen, parents should also ask questions and established for themselves that their child is happy in that camp. I don't think that Mike was suggesting sending to random other camp without first learning about it and what kind of other children are there.

For example by different types of children we don't mean "from abusive and drug addicted families" by different we mean different philosophy and approach to live, and as parent we draw the line of how different we want it to go. How far does that line go?

Acceptance of Israel? Acceptance of Sephardim/Ashkenazim? Acceptance of no Yiddish at home? Acceptance of a sibling with disabilities? Acceptance of Baal Tshuvahs? Acceptance of Knitted Kippah? Acceptance of a Brown suit? Acceptance of wearing Denim? Acceptance of ... And so on until you reach Acceptance of nudism, drugs and free love.

David said...

I think one of the underlying problems is that frumkheit, per se, has become the purpose, rather than ethics or middos or anything else.

I'm not sure about the OTD statistics, but the tragedy here is that Yeshivish Judaism is so busy precluding outside influences that it provides no education to speak of with regard to Judaism as contrasted with outside influences.

If Judaism wants to succeed, then it should recognize that it needs to do so by competing in the marketplace of ideas, and not by trying to convince children that there is no marketplace.

frumskeptic said...

david- I'm very into the concept of knowing the enemy better than you know your friend.

Plus, isn't there like a halacha that you're supposed to be able to answer the apikores? Well, how do you do that if you don't learn about what the apikores arguments could be?

W/e... lol. You're soo RIIIGHT

Moshe said...

Schools teach good middos? Like what? Hating everyone who's not a carbon copy? Calling secular education shtus? No thanks.

lost and not yet found said...

In some cases parents just can't afford to send their kids to a good Jewish school (when I say good I don't mean religious).

I agree with you though on the whole parents should be parenting thing, not producing more kids to mess up.

Parents should include kids when deciding which school to send them to. After all the kids are going to be the one going there, they should at least have some say. Especially when it comes to picking out high schools.

Interesting post. :)

Anonymous said...

It's definitely not the highest OTD rate in history. Read up on the topic before spouting off nonsense.

From the early 1900s (1901-) till the war nearly a million went off to all the *isms.