All My (Jewish) Children

There are a lot of “children” in my life.  I have a great job in a Jewish agency and one of the things I love about my job is that a lot of parents in their 20’s and 30’s ask me, in my late 40’s, for advice in parenting and handling challenging behaviors.   I am supposed to be an expert in child development.  When they come to me with parenting questions, our conversations often turn to marriage questions, in-law questions, aging parents questions.  Sometimes I give advice, sometimes  I just listen and let them cry on my shoulder.

I also have 14 nieces and nephews.  My own siblings do not come to me for advice–for they know the real me and do not think I am an expert in anything.  Besides, they go to the real expert–our own mother.  My siblings-in-law, however, do call me with questions.  And I carefully and humbly dole out “suggestions” and some ideas of why a child might be doing whatever it is that he/she is doing.

And I am always ready to give advice–based on my many years of experience and numerous years and coursework in higher education.   Sometimes I ponder the situation and maybe do a little research into whatever issue is arising.  Sometimes,  my advanced degrees have trained me so well that I can supply a solution very quickly.

One of my co-workers came to me with a huge and pressing problem.  Her three year old was very precocious and had taken to licking her mother’s hand.  Poor co-worker with slimy hand, just did not know what to do.  I used all my knowledge and background and, in my very professional expert-like manner, responded “Well, you could move your hand.”

Where else, but from a professional Jewish mother, would one get such sage advice?  It is nice to be needed.

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