Kids these days…

I grew up in a pretty permissive household. Mom, dad, younger brother and me. Maybe it was the time? 1970s? I cannot for the life of me figure out why certain things are so hard now. Things we did growing up without a thought:

  1. Friday night dinner: We all ate dinner together every night, a real dinner. And on Friday nights we had to all be home for Shabbat dinner with kipot, kiddush, wine and challah. No excuses. You can imagine how popular that was with the teenage me. I learned early to invite my friends over for dinner and that way they could not go out without me. I was allowed to go out to parties, I mean friends’ houses, after dinner.
  2. Eat the same meals: My mother cooked dinner after she came home from work. A real dinner. And here is the craziest part—all four of us ate it. At our house, where I do not work and still struggle to have something ready to eat at dinnertime, my three children are unable to find one meal that they will all eat. We cannot even find a take-out menu that has something for all three of them. Yes, one child has a peanut/nut allergy but that has absolutely nothing to do with it and is no excuse.
  3. Travel without provisions: My children are all now in double digit ages and it is just recently that we can head out the door without water bottles, snacks, wipes, and on and on. I am absolutely sure my parents never pulled a packet of goldfish or a cereal bar out of their bag. I left the house for hours at a time without a drink of water on me. And unless we were planning an all-day excursion and an actual picnic, we did not travel with food or beverage. And if there was a picnic, you can be darn sure we were all eating the same packed food, no matter how squishy or warm or icky it was.
  4. Attend services weekly: I grew up going to Saturday morning Shabbat services every week. When I was little, my father would shine our shoes and we would walk there. We just went. Sure, I might have loitered in the hallway with friends during the service when I was supposed to be in the bathroom. Or I ran around during the kiddush and got scolded. But we were there, in the building, every week.

A few weeks ago, I cruelly forced my family to attend a Saturday morning service. We did not arrive until almost 10 and within minutes, I had to whisper-yell to keep two of my three kids in the sanctuary. Nothing like threatening your bar mitzvah-ed son with clenched teeth and then realizing the rabbi is right behind you. Hopefully, he did not judge me. (Given the fact that he has three kids also, I am hopeful.) The second child snuck out to not be seen again until the kiddush and had her phone taken away for the rest of the day as punishment. My third will happily sit in services. So I am batting 33 percent.

Honestly, I like attending Saturday morning services. Sure, it is hard to get up and out of the house. But the prayers are familiar and relaxing. There are often friends there. The kiddush means I do not have to prepare or clean up after lunch. Soon, my daughter’s spring soccer season will begin again and she will have games on most Saturday mornings. I had planned to attend services all through the winter. I think we have been twice. Why can I not accomplish anything on this list? Maybe this Saturday?!

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