What’s It Like Raising FFB Kids as a BT?

What’s it like raising FFB kids as a BT?

How do your kids feel about it?

In what ways do you feel deficient?

In what ways do you feel being a BT makes you more qualified?

How do your kids feel about it, are they glad they have BT parents or do they wish their parents were FFBs?

What advice would your FFB kids have for BT parents?

13 comments on “What’s It Like Raising FFB Kids as a BT?

  1. My Zeidi dis not suffer from a personality disorder. He was totally normal. Or perhaps if it was a disorder it was so prevalent that no-one thought of it as such.

    I am describing the norm of Chinuch in Europe.

    As my zeidi used to say when he was beating up my father (who was dislexic, but who new anything about that at the time) “Tears wash out the brain!”

    Of course there were variations, but violence was the norm. It wasn’t considered dysfuctional because it was so acceptable.

    My point is that you need not feel sad. Don’t idealize the past. In many ways we are in a much better place.

  2. Nathan, are you serious? What you’re describing is abuse. Abuse happens across the board. Abusive people suffer from a personality disorder. Is there a prevalence of personality disorders amongst FFB’s? I don’t know. Yes it’s more acceptable for a Rebbe to potch, but the Zeideh relationship you describe is that of a twisted individual.

    The Zeideh I described is well known to me, a real mench, Talmid chochom & Oheiv Yisroel. That child is very lucky to have such an example.

    Your description fills me with pain, I cry for the child/ren you describe. But please keep in mind that such twisted individuals exsist in our B.T. world too. My childhood was not much different except it was at the hands of parents & the subjects were secular.

    Maybe there should be a discussion of personality disorders on this forum..

  3. To Yiddishe Mama at comment #3

    I have seen the picture to which you referr, or at least one of the many just like it. I am an FFB, and this picture doesn’t give me a good feeling. It fills me with dread and anguish, because in my mind that sweet zeideh in a few short minutes will here the sweet little boy make a mistake reading. He will fly into a rage and strike the child repeatedly calling the child bad, good for nothing useless. The child will cry miserably, but no-one, not even the childs mother, will be able to save him. It will go on like this day after day year after year, untill that child grows up and provides the same traditional, warm, vibrant chinuch to his own children.

    Please, feel good you are a BT. Bless Hashem that he has let you see something else. Bless hashem that because of the influence of people like you cruelty and violence are no longer considered acceptible vehicles for chinuch…which doesn’t mean that all Rebbes have stopped hitting… but at least they know someone thinks its unacceptable.

    Bts are the salvation of frum Judaism. We owe you the world.

  4. from “What are the Challenges that FFB Children of BT’s Face” December 30, 2009
    These are comments referred to in #9

    My post–…”You are absolutely correct that the “youngest child of this particular family may have a very different perspective from the oldest”. There are 16 1/2 years between my oldest and youngest. Our 2 older girls (25 & 21 yrs) say they were raised by “different parents” than their younger sisters…we were definitely holding in a different place spiritually as young parents than we are now.”
    “…I’m sure there are times our kids are embarrassed by non frum relatives, our lack of knowledge & frustrated that we could not help with Limudei Kodesh homework past a certain grade. I know it has been painful for them not to have family simchas to go to or extended family…we still have a depth and breadth of everyday halacha you can only have from life experience…”

    from my daughter—“For me, the FFB daughter of BT parents…the biggest challenge was my parents…not being the same as my friends. My mother didn’t go to Bais Yaakov; my father didn’t learn in yeshiva…Other times I felt different because my parents didn’t have frum siblings. We didn’t participate in family simchas or get together for shabbos and yom tov unless it was in our house….”.

    “…Looking back, the embarassment and discomfort seem juvenile and immature. I am lucky that I have had so many opportunities to share my Torah knowledge with my parents and extended relatives. My going to yeshiva day school pushed my parents to become more strict in certain aspects of halacha, and I am lucky to have been a part of that process…”

    “…As the oldest child, I am the only one of the children who remembers my parents in the earlier years of their growth. Because of this, I can best appreciate how much they have grown…”

    My FFB daughter of BT parents has now B”H married her BT husband (a real mensch!) and is having to face the challenges she knew lay ahead. In the future I’m sure there will be more not thought of but that’s part of life and to be expected.

    I think watching her husband struggle with certain familial relationships has given her a new perspective on just how difficult our own(her parent’s) journey has been.

    Her own children will likely have a much different childhood experience, because her kids will have one FFB parent, a set of frum grandparents and aunts (& uncles & cousins IY”H).

    We have 3 frum nieces who flew in for my daughter’s recent wedding. My other kids commented that one of the best parts of the simcha was that they had frum family to share it with.

    BTW, ALL of the non frum relatives from BOTH sides had a GREAT time at the wedding. We had sent out a synopsis of exactly what to expect in the invite so there were no surprises. Many people commented on how much they appreciated the outline and were truly overwhelmed by the love, respect & liveliness of the ceremony & reception.

    I think sometimes we underestimate people. It doesn’t take as much effort as one would think to make a Kiddush Ha-shem

  5. Where are our erstwhile commentators Always a BT and Always a BT’s Daughter? They gave some valuable comments on BT’s raising FFB children on an earlier posting.

    Always a BT’s Daughter made the interesting comment that the later children in her family had a different experience from the earlier children, almost as if they had grown up with different parents. I wonder if that’s the experience other FFB children have with BT parents, particularly if the BT parents are still growing and changing during the time their own children are being born and raised.

  6. True, but many of us B.T.’s don’t have supportive parents either. Mine are very antagonistic & we have basically no contact.
    Learning in itself is not an issue either as my husband became frum young & went through the Yeshiva system. He can learn as well if not better than any FFB.
    I guess what bothers me most is a lack of mesora for our children.
    I don’t think any of my sons friends in Yeshiva know that their parents are B.T.’s, I don’t think they are embarrassed but at the same time it’s not something they are proud of. They told me clearly they would never marry a B.T. & are not to keen on a child of one either!

  7. What’s it like raising FFB kids as a BT?

    How do your kids feel about it?

    In what ways do you feel deficient?

    In what ways do you feel being a BT makes you more qualified?

    How do your kids feel about it, are they glad they have BT parents or do they wish their parents were FFBs?

    What advice would your FFB kids have for BT parents?

    Let me answer these questions as follows:

    1.I think that BT parents can add perspective to Chinuch that FFB parents lack in understanding the nature of the Jewish People.

    2. Our children have always been proud of the fact that we are BTs.

    3. I would not use the word “deficient” Would you call Avraham Avinu, Moshe Rabbeinu, R Akiva or Resh Lakish deficient?

    4. The best advice for BT parents is to find rabbinic and lay mentors , friends and role models.

    Dr Lisa Aiken’s “The BT’s Survival Guide”, for which I promised Mark a review a long time ago, and which I intend to post this summer, discusses these and many other psychological/emotional/sociological issues that BTs face with respect to their integration into the FFB world.

  8. I have seven diamonds.

    Diamonds when first mined are shapeless dirty lumps of stone. Expert lapidaries use precision tools to polish the 58 facets and turn each lump into a valuable gem.

    You have to seek guidance to learn how to polish precious stones, otherwise you could ruin them completely by a careless mistake. It’s a long and difficult process to bring out the true brilliance and light within each gem. But ah, when you succeed….there is nothing like it!

  9. To Yiddishemama #3: Remember that famous Moshe Yess song, “My Zaidy?” The last few lines of the song go as follows: “Who will be the Zaidies for our children? Who will be the Zaidies, if not we?”

    We can be the Zaidies and Bubbies for our own children, and hopefully one day to their children, our Aineklach.

    Don’t forget the sad generation of survivors after the Holocaust, who built new families in the U.S.A. or Australia after the war. They also had no grandparents for their children.

    My husband and I unfortunately did not have the bearded Zaidy to learn with our sons. But my husband persevered and took out the Alef Bina and the Chumash and the Mishnayos and finally the Gemara to learn with our sons. Now my sons are grown and my husband has truthfully become the bearded Zaidy who learns with our grandsons, kayn yirbu.

  10. yiddishe mama, just because someone is an FFB doesn’t necessily mean that they have parents and grandparents that are warm and supportive and learn with the grandkids, etc. Hashem gives us what we need.

  11. Just yesterday my friend sent me a picture of her little boy learning with his Zeida. It was a glorious picture of the two, the Zeida with his flowing white beard & an innocent little yingle.
    The picture brought tears to my eyes & I felt so envious of that child, he not only has an amazing Zeida to learn with but a tangible mesora. I hurt for my children who don’t have that & don’t even know what they are missing.

  12. Tesyaa, I think inadequate was the wrong word, so I changed the question to “In what ways do you feel deficient?”

    I’m assuming that recognizing our deficiencies is not negative as this is the environment in which Hashem has placed us and He knows what He’s doing.

  13. I don’t feel inadequate at all. My husband, despite being a BT, attended yeshiva his whole life and has a great deal of Torah knowledge, so he’s available to answer most questions, even if I am less well versed.

    I feel that I am a better parent because of my open-minded upbringing. I can choose which social practices to accept or reject without worrying about what everyone else thinks.

    I also make a point of demouncing racism and some of the other less savory characteristics that are unfortunately found in many sectors of the frum community. My kids respect non-Jews and treat them like people.

    I don’t think my kids think one way or another about whether we are FFBs or BTs, except perhaps for knowing that their grandparents and other relatives don’t observe the same way we do. Because we do not feel inferior, they do not feel inferior.

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