Minute #651: Won’t Ask

Mrs. Weingarten was livid. She could not accept that Abie had gone with his friends to a place he certainly knew would not meet with his mother’s approval. She waited impatiently for his return, mentally rehearsing the disciplinary speech she would deliver.

His friend’s car pulled up in front of the house. Abie climbed out of the rear seat, smiled and waved to his buddies and turned towards the house.

Mrs. Weingarten’s ire went up a notch. How could he be so happy knowing he just went somewhere he definitely knows I don’t approve of?

As soon as Abie entered the foyer he saw his stern-faced mother standing at the foot of the staircase, tapping her foot. Uh oh, he thought. Here it comes.

“Hey, Mom,” he said with a feeble grin. “How’s your day going? Anything I can do to help out?”

“Abraham Weingarten!” she said in measured tones. “I know where you went today and I can’t believe you didn’t ask me beforehand for permission!”

“I didn’t think that I had to ask, Mom,” he replied. “Besides, all the boys were going. I didn’t want to say ‘Maybe my mommy doesn’t allow me to go’ and be looked at as a nerd.”

“What do you mean ‘maybe’? You certainly are clear on my opinion about such places. Maybe others don’t mind, but WE don’t visit such venues,” she said.

With no option but the truth, Abie finally blurted, “Mom, the reason I didn’t ask was I KNEW you’d say no!”

When children ask for something, it’s important that they feel respected. If they assume that you won’t even consider what they would like, there is a good chance that they’ll take it upon themselves to “do first” and face the consequences later.

Adults should show respect for children by listening and taking time to demonstrate that they’ll consider a proposal or request before flatly rejecting an idea. If children sense sincere consideration, they will accept “no” more graciously.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

The sincere Torah Jew is engaged in a perpetual quest for self-improvement. Ohr Yechezkel, Michtavim, pp. 31–32.