Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Nov 1, 2009

A Chinese Jewish Mother Wrote of Her Experience in Israel

Filed under: Education — admin @ 12:25 am

A friend of mine in Los Angeles sent me a writing by a Jewish mother of three. Growing up and being educated in China, this Jewish mother immigrated to Israel early 1990s, with her three children.

The main idea of her writing is to proudly demonstrate how Jewish children are taught to make money, pay for what they get from earliest years of their lives, starting from their home. Before long, all of them, mother and her three children become shrewd business Jews. There is no free service even at home — the writer/mother gets paid for her household work done for the children, the youngest child receives payment from her two brothers for a Jewish drink. The children made egg-rolls at home and sold them at school. I’m wondering if the young children pay their rent for living at home.

It gives me a rather uneasy feeling after reading her writing, as if the whole gravity of living weighs on making money, the more, the better. Is it supposed to be this way? Have I missed anything in my upbringing of my children? To be sure, I have done so much for my children and have not charged them a penny. Or should I?

I used to believe home is the place where we work, like it or not, and don’t get paid in term of money, as long as it is our own home. It is more like a volunteer work, where we do for free, except very often we don’t do it willingly. Because household work can be backbreaking, especially after a day’s work. Still, for some reason, I find it hard to accept the concept that our children pay us for the service we render out of parental love and responsibility. In fact I don’t think it a desirable practice to charge children for our service as parents. If that were the case, I don’t really need to go out working, simply serve my children and get paid. I told my daughter of this, she thinks the practice goes too far, “It’s not like a family any more.” Well, certainly not a Chinese family.

On the other hand, we have to do household work, endless of it, much as we don’t like it. It seems unfair for parents to do them all while the children are capable of helping out. How can we make children pitch in voluntarily at home, if not using Jewish way? I don’t think I have done a good job in this area as my children never lend a helping hand when I expect them to.

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