Saturday, January 10, 2015

"Kids nowadays" and grown-ups at kiddush

The line one always hears, especially from people of a certain age: "Kids nowadays..."

They are rude.
They are loud.
They are pushy.
They get away with everything.

We belong to a small shul. Technically, it's a start-up, so everything is small and DIY type of thing, including kiddush. I like that my kids are involved in setting up for kiddush, and that the woman in charge takes time to think of a weekly theme related to a parsha, making it fun and educational. But more that that, they are vested in setting up and cleaning up.

One of the things that annoyed me to no end about a bigger shul down the road is the total mess of a kiddush. There was a kiddush committee who set up kiddush in advance. I tried volunteering for it years ago, but I was told that I cannot bring my kids, as it would violate sanitary standards. Then, as davening was over, the doors to the social hall were closed until some predetermined time, and the stampede of people and kids stormed the tables, grabbing food like they will never be fed. Five cookies at a time, ten crackers, mounds of vegetables, globs of humms... Moreover, as people and kids finished eating, the food waste was apparent in piles of uneaten food left on plates for the janitorial staff to clean up. I lost my cool when I caught a bar-mitzvah-aged boy pouring soda from his cup straight onto the drinks tablecloth. "What do you think you are doing?!! And who will be cleaning this up?"
I had high hopes for our smaller chevra (group). The rule is, grown-ups take food first, and then the kids. The place is small, so we are talking about a dozen of people.I hoped that once kids will be responsible for set-up and clean-up, they will not be inclined to make a mess, or waste food. I also hoped that there will not be scarcity, and civilized, well-mannered approach will prevail.

Today I realized that before we complain about kids nowadays, we need to take a look at ourselves. The kids who set up kiddush did politely wait, but the grown-ups disappointed.

It is rude to grab a quarter of a cake for yourself, when not everyone had a slice. It is rude to talk right by the table, blocking everyone else's access. It is rude to ignore the child who does grab half the donuts or candy, and not to stop them and tell them to put some back (I have done that, to my children's chagrin).  And it is rude not to clean up after yourself.

Meanwhile, my kids are being plied with candy and sweets (it is Shabbos!) against my express wishes. No, they do not need more sugar or food coloring, no, they do not need more sweets. And please stop testing willpower of a child by repeatedly offering him a treat. You will not be the one dealing with his refusal to eat lunch, or his off-the-wall behavior later in the day.

You will be walking home, shaking your head, and saying: "Kids nowadays..."

1 comment:

  1. This needed to be said, and we all must be reminded: children model our behavior - if we behave like - um, PIGS, well, so will they...