Sunday, February 12, 2006

The "Parenting Crisis" II:
More Comments on the "Gedolim Card Crisis"

Like I said here, there is no Gedolim Card Crisis, but we certainly are experiencing a "Parenting Crisis." Here is yet another jem from the latest Yated from a letter entitled "A Fad Gone Bad." If the cries for help continue for one week longer, I may need to submit my own letter to the editor to shake things up.

Marking makes it impossible to fill a gedolim picture album before you have an over abundance of doubles and triples of the more common cards. It is almost like a feeling of being overcharged and money being extorted. Most parents are not willing to go along with the expenses.

Children's appetitles for more and more pictures have by far exceeded the expectations. Boys have gotten so involved that they keep asking their parents for more and more money. Parents have been complaining, asking where the limit is.

So I re-iterate my previous message to parents. The limit is where you set it. There is no need to "go along with the expenses." You are the parents. You are in charge. You control the purse strings. All you have to do is say no! You may have to say no over and over again (as my parents did when I asked for my driver's permit for two straight long, long years).

But, there is no need to complain. There is no need to feel overwhelmed. There is no need to feel despair. And, for crying out loud, there is no need to label this as a "crisis." If you are in control (which you are), there is no crisis.

Give the word no a try, and maybe by the time your sons (and daughters) get married you will be well-practiced and can save yourself $10,000 or $20,000 on the chatunah and all of the "required" expenses that seem to accompany such affairs.


Anonymous said...

The limit, SL, is at three pieces of cheese!

Yitzchak Jakobi said...

Sephardilady - can you please do a post about how much a reasonable chasuna should cost? My wife's friend is convinced that she must borrow an exhorbanant amount of money to pay for her wedding. I've been trying to convince her to scale down, but she would rather just borrow money for a one day event. I don't know if she is going to do it or not, but I am sure that there are others like her out there.

Orthonomics said...

Good post idea. I'll get to work. My rule of thumb for a wedding is that you should be able to pay for it out of pocket. I personally believe that one should not go into hock over a wedding.

I will get to work.

Anonymous said...

FWIW my wife and I were married a year ago last week. The total cost was about $10,000, with around 140 guests. It was a beautiful wedding in a beautiful old shul, good food at the seuda held in the shul basement, (fish, not meat, which allowed us to have better desserts), no alcohol, a great live band and lots of dancing. We did not borrow money for it. The fact that it was in Pittsburgh may have saved us some money. Getting married in her shul was so much more meaningful than getting married in some anonymous catering hall.

Orthonomics said...

Mazal Tov Charlie on your anniversary. I will get to a post. But, a preview, we got married in a major city with about 160 guests and very few trimmings and the cost was quite manageable. It cost more than your wedding, but not too much more. And, we paid cash.

queeniesmom said...

You're right, no is a very underused word. it's lack of use translates to bratty kids who think they are due everything. afterall mommy went out and bought me.....because i had to have it! my poor children get to hear no often and are told flat out it is too expensive, we can't afford it. oh, well...
fast forward this attitide to the wedding age and you have these over the top 300+ affairs in some hall. even worse are the rules of who buys what. no one seems to have heard of a budget. when i mentioned this to a friend, she said no one wants to look cheap to the inlaws. i was incredulous, like you, my husband and i paid cash for our wedding. neither parents were in a position to help and we weren't asking.
i live in hope that some parents will develop backbones and will halt this looney tunes. the other possiblity is that with the tuitions skyrocketting, there won't be the excess money available to fuel these attitudes. who would have thought the tuition crisis would have a silver lining?

Black Hatter said...

Forty - fifty years ago, we grew up with baseball cards. Our goal was collecting mickey mantle and babe ruth.
Today, my 9 and 7 year old boys don't know what a baseball card is.
And I'm actualy PROUD to say, that my boys can name & identify/recognize more gedolim than I can (The creator of the album thoughtfully put the name of each godol underneath his picture).

Many blogs have blogged about today's gedolim.....
Without getting off topic, I believe that we have to instill emunas chachomim in our children no matter what our opinion is of the gedolim. (If we raise our kids that today's gedolim are a bunch of clowns... I doubt if in a couple generations from now, my great grandchildren will still be frum.)
Collecting gedolim cards can only enhance emunas chachomim in my children, and if it comes with a cost, hey, you would buy your kid a $90 bike, right?

(thats 90 packs of cards)

Black Hatter said...

One more point. Gedolim cards have became our parenting tool.

"If you go to sleep on time, you'll get a pack"

If you don't clean up, your NOT getting cards"

"stop fighting or your not getting cards."

Orthonomics said...

Welcome black hatter. I'm actually quite disturbed that gedolim cards have become a parenting tool.

It is very dangerous territory to enter where you parent by bribing to get good behavior, rather than rewarding good behavior.

What a parent should be doing is motivating. And, the examples you gave are clearly not motivating. Motivation can include a reward, but what you listed is not that.

Black Hatter said...


do you have at home 4 rowdy boys + 1 girl who tries to keep up with them, all under the age of 9????????

Orthonomics said...

I don't think the number of children that I have under the age of 9 is relevant. Parenting is about the long term and whether you have 1 child under 9 or 6 children under 9 the goal is the same.

Black Hatter said...


The scene at my house this morning:

My youngest is crying because he wants a bottle.
My daughter is fighting with my 2nd boy because he took her doll away.
My middle one is jumping up and down screeching on top of his lungs.
My oldest can't find his shoe and their bus is coming in 15 minutes....

Hey boys - c'mon quiet down, OK OK I'll buy you each a pack of cards if you make it on the school bus..

Deafening silence. And they were at the bus stop 5 minutes early.

But it isn't "relevant". Right?

Orthonomics said...

Black hatter. You haven't changed my mind, but I think that you have inspired what will be my 3rd Parenting Crisis Post.

That said, I hope you will stick around here.

Black Hatter said...


Orthonomics said...

Me too. Now I just need to decide how to approach the issue.