Princes and Princesses We Were

I was not given many limits as a child and was raised to think that the world was coming to me. (I do not think that many FFBs are taught to think like that.) There are obviously many negatives to being raised in that regard, and many of them become crystal clear to me when people like the guy I work with, an FFB, pronounces his disbelief with the way I went about handling any one of many situations. “Aryeh, you can’t DO that” he will tell me. Or “Aryeh, what’s WRONG with you?” he’ll ask?

Now I don’t want to comment on his delivery…whether it could or should or couldn’t or shouldn’t be better…that’s a conversation for another time. What I would like to discuss is that often, after he points these things out I find myself saying “he’s right.”

I was raised so differently than your typical FFB. It’s mind boggling to me to think that Jews can diverge so dramatically from each other after just a few generations. I mean, somewhere back in history my relatives were frum Jews, they had to be, and they were probably raised to think like FFBs. Yet only after 3 or 4 or maybe 5 generations we can slip so far from the path we once knew.

BTs need a lot of help reclaiming the way back. It’s not easy to think like a frum Jew after living like a secular Jew for so long. Old habits die hard. Middos are hard to change. The greatest gift FFBs can give to their BT brothers and sisters is their patience, their understanding, their empathy, and their encouragement.

I have made so many mistakes since becoming frum and I have benefited greatly from the kindness and patience of those whom I look to as teachers and mentors. I have been unusually blessed with incredibly special people who have helped to guide me in an effort to become the kind of Jew I hope to one day be; the kind of Jew I know my forefathers were back when my family was frum.

11 comments on “Princes and Princesses We Were

  1. My mother told me two things on recent occasions that shocked me and demonstrated how far my values have shifted from my upbringing. Now, I love my mother, and much of what she taught me I cherish and continue to believe. However, she has said to me:

    1. “In a way you and [my husband] are lucky that you can’t have children right now. Having kids ruined my relationship with your father. Before you were born, we were lovers and best friends. When I had you, you became the center of my universe.”

    2. “I made a mistake by having your younger sister. It limited how much attention I could give you.”

    Now, I must comment that I cannot imagine how I could have POSSIBLY been more spoiled and protected than I was, but apparently my mother can and wishes she could have given me that!

    I find it hard to imagine myself or anyone else steeped in Jewish values thinking about marriage and parenting in this way. Am I naive?

  2. I don’t think Anon’s community that these bad behaviors is a “modern” thing is at all fair. Bad behavior and the reasons behind it are universal. Greedy behaviors and thinking the world is coming to you are not limited to non-Jews and non-frum Jews, nor are they limited to Modern Orthodox Jews.

    They are universal problems and it seems silly to point to one group and say, “it’s their problem!”

    I go to a mixed shul (Modern Orthodox to Chareidi, Ashkenazi and Sephardi), attended public schools, taught in a frummer school, worked in a non-Jewish office, and I can guarantee you that bad parenting, incorrect messages, and more are sent in all environments (often inadvertantely) and the problem is one that we all face.

  3. Unfortunately, in rich frum communities and communities with a bigger percentage of more modern/conservadox shuls, it’s still a huge problem. I see a lot of ‘gaver-dick, ‘ selfish behviors and bad middot in kids and teenagers in these communities. It seems the behavior can emerge in even one generation, even in FFB kids.
    It might also have to do with TV and values portrayed there. These values may get absorbed in those communities. It can also do with materialism in the richer FFB communities too, which has been addressed in other posts on this site.

  4. David – which is exactly why I think it’s more common to find selfish people among FFBs. They *do* misunderstand that very concept.

  5. Beoming frum often involves taking being “raised to think that the world was coming to me” and transforming it to the appreciation and responsibility that come with “bishvili nivreh HaOlam”– the world was created for me.

  6. Two things:

    1. Without a specific example of a behavior of a “prince,” I’m having a very hard time understanding what behaviors are being addressed.

    2. “And was raised to think that the world was coming to me. (I do not think that many FFBs are taught to think like that.)

    I disagree. Spoiled behavior is universal. There are spoiled people in all societies, and frum society is hardly exempt.

  7. A good piece, though I’ll just note one little thing…

    and was raised to think that the world was coming to me. (I do not think that many FFBs are taught to think like that.)

    I don’t think that’s true, at least in my experiences. The BTs were always the ones who understood that not everything was coming to them, based on the difficulties they faced just trying to join frum society; the FFB’s seem to have an attitude that everything is coming to them, especially in non-religious matters.

  8. I think you are being too hard on yourself! You are introspective and growing, which is exactly what a Jew should be (whether BT or FFB). The Torah wasn’t given to the angels. Hashem gave you exactly the upbringing that you needed, and you did wonders with it, growing and learning and trying to always improve. May you continue to go from strength to strength!

  9. I know it’s tough if you’re a BT…but FFB’s should have more patience, by not yelling simply, “NO!!!! You don’t DO THAT!!!” I can understand why they do it (they only know one way to do things, which is good), but one should say “this is not how it’s done….THIS is the way it’s done, and here’s why, and here’s why we DON’T do it that way”, or some such explanation.

  10. Aryeh: I’m just wondering if you are referring to interpersonal relationships or business relationships when you speak about mistakes or handling situations. Everybody makes them, no matter what their background. Keep on trying to learn from others, and integrate it, and I’m sure people learn from you as well. It’s a domino effect…..

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