Sunday, March 11, 2012

Conformity and principles

Over the Purim seudah, at my sister-in-law's house, I managed to cut back on the ribbing by sticking to two subjects--the weather and my health.  (It takes all the fun out of trying to get a rise out of me when I only smile and answer, "Lovely weather we're having, isn't it?")  Thank you, George Bernard Shaw.
And then Builder opened his mouth.  He announced to everyone that he could get the Things into Prospect Park Yeshiva without even an interview because he knew people.  "Oh, yeah, that's a great idea!  It's a wonderful school!  Your kids would do so well there!"  Sure, it's a wonderful school--an hour away!  I'd never get to see the Things at all, except to rush them through homework and dinner.  Not to mention the twenty grand in school fees that I'd rather spend on museum memberships, trips to see that there's a world outside of Flatbush, and real literature rather than the frummie books with no discernible plot!  (OK, vent over!)
So, I responded that I would continue to homeschool the Things as long as they enjoyed it.  Now, my family can't really argue with that.  They can't get into academics, because my kids are where they should be, if not beyond.  They can't get into "socialization", because the Things are so polite and well-spoken.  So, they fell back on their last resort.  "It Just Isn't Done!"  "Frum people don't homeschool their kids!  Nobody does that!  Your kids will be Different!"
Really?  This is your best shot?  Because, the last time I checked, I really don't give a damn.
See, if I cared about "what Just Isn't Done!" I'd have started wearing heavy make-up, using foul language, and smoking when I was thirteen.  Because eschewing those activities, while continuing to read the classics, Just Isn't Done!  When I was fifteen, I would have stayed in public school.  Because running off to boarding school a thousand miles away, and dropping out a year later to homeschool myself Just Isn't Done!  When I was in college, I would have spent more time attending raves than classes.  Because caring about my grades when I was eighteen Just Isn't Done!  When I was an adult, I'd have stayed in the Conservative movement.  Because moving from hard-core Conservative to full-on Orthodox Just Isn't Done!  When I worked as a cube drone, I'd have spent all my spare time watching reality TV and evening soap operas.  Because that was what Is Done!  (After spending eight hours at work staring at a screen, I really didn't want to do that in my off-hours.)  Running off to New York City without knowing a soul Just Isn't Done either, nor is marrying a man three decades my senior.  So, if I gave a damn about what is and is not done, we wouldn't be having this conversation now, would we?  See, that's the thing about adhering to one's principles--it usually means that I will make choices that you don't agree with!


  1. If these people are worried that being unconventional will make it harder for the kids to find shidduchim, I am here to say that I would gladly allow your kids to marry mine.

  2. Having a rough day?
    If it helps, Avraham Avinu homeschooled Yitzchak Avinu until he was older. So you have precedent on your side. Plus the halacha is that a child's education is the responsibility of the parents and it's only if they can't do it well that one sends off to school. So you have that on your side too.


I'm not Monty Python. I hate SPAM.