[Post on my mind today: I'm proud of my Prime Minister, and disappointed that I'm not eligible to vote for him.]
My kids have a book that asks, “Which would you rather be?” and then gives choices:
• Stick or stone?
• Thunder or lightning?
• Cat or dog?
• Grownup or kid?
and so on.
Someone, somewhere, has probably done a poor-quality Jewish rip-off of that book:
• Kiddush or Havdalah?
• Avraham or Sarah?
• Boro Park or Lakewood?
• Rabbi or Rabbah?
• Chametz or Matzah?
• Mordechai or Matityahu?
• Alef or Tav?
• Rabban Gamliel or Rabbi Akiva?
• Eretz Yisrael or Ever haYarden?
• Rashi Tefillin or Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin?
• Eruv Chatzeiros or Eruv Techumin?
• Beruriah or Kimchis?
More substantively, though: As a parent, and a Jewish parent, I find myself asking the same question when prioritizing what to emphasize for my kids. And as in choosing between thunder and lightning, cat and dog, and so on, I’m often unsure.
Assuming you had to select one or the other (which is not always true, I know), which would you rather your child be:
• Athletic or Bookish?
• Learned or Giving?
• Questioning or Faithful?
• Giggly or Stern?
• Stubborn or Flexible?
• Whimsical or Steady?
• Popular or Independent?
• Socially Clued-In or Clueless?
• Follower or Leader?
• Strait-Laced or Loose?
• Intellectually Creative or Structured?
• Broad or Focussed?
The answer is usually some sort of balance, I know, but I still find the questions interesting, and challenging. And sometimes, when I am caught up in concern that I’ve chosen wrong, I put my faith in the advice I once received from a wise mentor: Children’s personality will win out; in normal situations, parents have limited capacity to corrupt it…