Wednesday, February 20, 2008

innocence can be embarrasing

in high school my teachers were always lauding the praises of those who insisted on sheltering their kids. they said it was a good thing to not have to know about 'the outside world' until you go ahead and are unceremoniously dumped in it; meaning when you go to a secular college.

i think it just sets you up to make a fool of yourself.

in my biology lab there are two frum girls. one of them was in high school with me. she comes from a pretty sheltered home. and she herself is pretty naiive about lots of stuff. especially spring break. if you ask her what she thinks of when you say spring break she'd probably say "oh i hope it coincides with pesach cuz then i won't miss school" ask anyone else what spring break means, and they'll say "cancun, bahamas..." last week we were talking during break, and different girl in the class and she said she's going to hawaii for spring break. so this frum girl in all innocence asks "oh what's there? do you have family?" so everyone around her kind of tittered. she was a little bit confused, but being a sweet girl, she just smiled.

so i was watching this whole thing and i realized that all through high school my arguments with my teachers had been right! it is not always best to be sheltered! in fact, i would say 93% of the time it's not good.

of course there is something to be said for innocence. moms always cringe when they find out that their child is hanging around the girl who knows about "stuff" as my little sister once put it. but why wait until you're thrown out into a foreign world to be left stumbling around in the dark?

maybe i'm crazy and wrong, but something inside of me rebels at the thought of sheltering ur kids so they have NO CLUE what's out there.

what do you think?

20 comments:

The Babysitter said...

My HS taught the same way.
Its funny cause I used to be that type of girl (some people say I still am)

Well its hard to know where to put the limit of what kids could know. If its general knowledge then there's no harm in teaching children that. But some stuff kids can't handle knowing about at a young age, depends on the child.

If kids know too much in can drain the fun out of them, I know a 4 year old who said he didn't want to go to kids n' action because it was a waste of money.

But then for the type of stuff your referring to, I once saw an interesting article discussing this, it basically said parents shouldn't be sheltering their kids unless their living in a community where they will never come in contact with secular stuff.

frumskeptic said...

I completely agree with you. I hated the fact that I was the weirdo in HS because I actually knew that Boys were Human also. and I hated the fact that my entire school had no idea what STD's stood for in 9th grade. and that they had no idea that AIDS doesn't spread because someone accidently didn't clean their blood in a Public place... the list goes on and on about things 9th graders should definitly know.
then theres my friend, who goes to college now, after being completely sheltered throughout HS, and everytime some random person (who isn't Jewish) asks her what her name is,she automatically think's he finds her attractive and wants to date her. Its like "no, there are friendly goyim, he wants to talk, he's bored"

frumcollegegirl said...

it's so funny cuz then you have the opposite type. the frum girl that thinks she's going to drop dead if she talks to a guy so refuses to sit near them, work with them, anything! ironically i ended up with four male lab partners, and Sheltered Classmate can't understand why i'm not terrified to sit next to them. i guess she hasn't yet learned that guys don't really have cooties...

frumskeptic said...

oH!! cooties...i rememeber thinking all boys but my father and uncle had cooties. I remember the cootie shots and everything..lol. Maybe I should teach my sheltered friend about cootie shots and then she'll feel better about guys talking to her? haha.
btw, I like your blog :)

frumcollegegirl said...

cootie shots, year i remember them...lol i grew up with two other girls my age in my neighborhood. one got married in december, the other in january. at the wedding of #1 i went over to neightbor #2 and we were reminiscing about when we were little. and then she reminded me that i "still had yosef's cooties" from the last time we played tag with the boys....

(blush) stop it! thanks though

Yoni said...

... I know of some boys who thought boys have cooties, but not girls.

...

it didn't go over too well with the girls sadly for him. he didn't have alot of friends in elementery school.

The Babysitter said...

lol, its funny cause that's one thing I had to adjust to, with talking to guys, at first I thought I wasn't allowed to. Then one guy wanted to have a study date with me, I thought there would be other guys too, but they bailed out, so it was just me and him, but he's married and 30 years old, so I didn't mind.
But its funny, one time by one of my classes, the door was locked, so we had to wait on the floor in the hallway till the teacher came, so I was sitting there, then this non-jewish guy comes over and gives everyone hi-fives, then he comes to me, and I didn't stick out my hand, he's like come on give me hi-five, and I said I can't, then this sorta Jewish guy speaks up for me and he's like to me don't do it, so I said I know I won't.
I actually had a lot of interesting experiences my first year. One girl who was Jewish but not religous asked me about all these things she heard Jews do, which I never heard of. She asked me about a hole in a sheet, then she asked me about hava nagila or something that they pick a kallah up in a chair? it was interesting....
About cooties, I only know that from reading lil kids books, the fifth graders, or whatever age they were, in the story, were afraid of getting cooties from a boy.

frumskeptic said...

colleges are so interesting after all girl HS's, arent they just?? lol

Btw, cootie stage usually begins to pass by 5th grade, and thats when the crush stage begins. Ohh...how i remember being young, cute and innocent...hehe

The Babysitter said...

right thats true theres different stages. From what I remember, It starts out as toddlers that boys and girls are friends, till maybe second grade, then they stick to their own and make fun of the other, which might include the cootie stage, 6th grade they start having crushes and become friends again. Then in HS they become bf's and gf's. Then some become mothers...lol

frumcollegegirl said...

the adjustment i had to make when i started college was dealing with guys and the whole touching things. one guy actually pointed out to me that he never touched me, cuz he realized from the way i interacted with the other guys in the class, and the language i used, that i held myself in higher esteem then them

Yoni said...

the one thing I find frustrating is people just touching me while talking to me or something.

It's like I don't know what to say, I don't want to emberass them because they don't know and don't want to make them feel bad, but on the other hand I feel bad and guilty about not saying anything.

and then there are the times that people walk up and offer you hugs (or try to give you hugs) just because they're saying goodbye or something, and you have to nervously explain that you can't hug, and satisfy their why, although maybe this is harder for boys than for girls, since when girls don't want boys to touch them secular culture consideres it ok, but when byos don't want girls to touch them, many secular culture kinds of people find it really offensive.

the handshaking thing is really a big issue too, because they find it really bothersome.

For the moment, just because it is so much possibility of offending them, unless the rule is explained very, very carefuly and in detail, and the culture suroudning it, that I just feel like with how huge a torah offense it is to humiliate someone (halacha states that its a pretty safe bet that in any case where someone will be humiliated any rabbinic rule is probably suspended, temporarily) and its like killing them, that if the person is older than me, and its not going to be a repeat issue, I just go ahead and get it over with because I'm scared of angering them, humiliating them or emberassing them. (because giving offense is worse than worshiping an idol, and humiliating or emberassing someone is just as bad, and last I checked, there is no question at all that negia vis a vis a handshake is totaly rabbinic.)

but I'm not happy with it, and once I settle somewhere in a school, I'll probably explain, carefully and with great detail, the circumstances about the issue, and hopefully they'll understand and I wont have to deal with it anymore. (or I may simply stop shaking hands all together. I'm told that people who do not shake hands at all are much less offensive when they refuse. I mean, I already frequently use the more oriental slight bow of the head rather than handshakes anyway (remenants of my father's being raised in japan durring the american occupation) (which frustrates the rabbi, but all of his and my attempts to break the habbit haven't gotten anywhere, so he just tollerates it))

The Babysitter said...

Even if the president wants to shake your hand, if your the opposite gender, your not allowed to.
You can put something in your hands so their unavailable.
But then again, if your a man your not allowed to initiate the contact, if it comes your way its a little bit less of an issur.

Yoni said...

babysitter, I know thats what people tell you, but its not so simple at all.

its not simple at all.

(and besides, I'm allmost certain that there is no issur for a jewish woman to shake a non-jewish man's hand at all... although for a woman she has more leeway to refuse.) (you only have harachot with an araya or a niddah, and non-jewish men are, be deffenition, incapable of being an araya, and the whole issue of not touching a nidda b'derech chibba is totaly not applicable to them.)

(nor are hirhurim issues at all aplicable to non-jewish men.)

(i'm not saying that its a good idea, just I hate for innacuracies to be presented. I realize that this is what we're told and feel, but its just not true.)

The Babysitter said...

ok, if thats what you say...

Yoni said...

sorry... :(

(I realize its an issue culturaly, and I hate shaking hands with women. it makes me unbelievably uncomfortable and unhappy, and I'm not infavor of it at all, please understand, I don't think that its really ok, but it really is more minhag than it is halacha.)

The Babysitter said...

no need to apologize.

yea, I can imagine its tough. I mean I just know my side of it, as a girl I guess its easier for many reasons.

but you know what, your actually right, cause now that I think of it, I can't remember the exact details, but someone who's my role model one time shook a lady's hand at work or something because he had no choice, I forgot the details.

Yoni said...

I saw my rabbi once shake an elderly woman's hand. She was a brand new ovel, her last remaining brother or something (or maybe a son) had just been burried by him, and she came up to shake the rabbi's hand and and tell him thanks for officiating, and the rabbi just shook it, he didn't even hesitate noticably. (and he's chabad.)

My guess was he saw no point in emberassing, hurting and humiliating an old lady who was already so hurt by the loss of a family member, something that she'd already seen a lot of.

MAK said...

My principal once told my class that he was talking to a woman on a plane, and after they got off, she wanted to shake his hand. So he grabbed his carry-on so his hands weren't free, but instead of taking the hint, she gave him a big hug instead.

Michelle said...

Yup= Hawaii things sounds typical...that's why ppl go to Touro- to shelter themselves for another few years...like what does that do??

(PS can u please add me to your blogroll? ;) )

frumcollegegirl said...

MAK-hello it's like ur my long lost twin: i loved tamora pierce, i'm obsessed with Artemis Fowl, and Terry Pratchett is like a genius!

Michelle-i only add ppl to my blogroll if i actively read their blogs, and so far i only check out ppl who comment alot on my blog, so keep commenting :)