Sunday, December 04, 2011

GoofBoy's Biblical Wrath

GoofBoy is heading towards adolescence. We are not looking forward to this. He is getting angry and stubborn at unexpected times for vague reasons. At our Friday night Shabbat dinner we had a recent, unexpected flare-up.

MamaGoof makes a very nice lentil soup, but GoofBoy has never cared for it. MamaGoof insisted that he try just a little. I have often tried to explain to my children that when their mother puts food in front of them, they must eat it – whether they are hungry or not.

It makes life easier.

There are two types of parents in the world. Parents who worry if their children are eating enough and parents that don’t. I am of the latter category, but MamaGoof is very much in the former. I figure they aren’t going to starve whereas MamaGoof is very concerned that they just might. Unsurprisingly, she is much more passionate about this then I am. Also, I prefer she not worry about things (giving her free time to find new things to worry about.) So I push the kids to just eat whatever she gives them.

But GoofBoy really dug in his heels about the lentil soup. He stared at it, pushed it around the bowl, and kept muttering something. As MamaGoof pressed him, he left the table and stormed up to his room.

I went up to talk to him. Not invested in the issue I took a jokey approach, but he began yelling at me to, “Get out! O. U. T. Out!”

I am, despite my antics, still the adult so I rebuked him sharply and left.

He came back downstairs after a while and we returned to our typical Friday night activities of wrestling, laughing, and (for the adults) drinking wine.

The next morning over breakfast GoofGirl began telling us about the Torah portion for the week. Going to a Jewish day school, this is a big part of their studies. It was the story of Jacob and Esau. They were twins, but Esau was born first and the favorite of their father Isaac. But Jacob tricked Esau into giving Jacob his father’s birthright. Esau, a hunter came to the tent, starving and insisted Jacob make him some stew. Jacob said he could have the stew in exchange for the birthright. Esau said, “Sure!”
Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised [his] birthright.
MamaGoof looked at him, “Did you not want to eat the lentil soup because of Jacob and Esau?”

GoofBoy nodded.

“Buddy,” I began, “I’m not the great patriarch Isaac. I don’t have a birthright to give or withhold. We weren’t asking anything for lentil soup, just that you try it ok? Remember, honor thy mother and father, please.”

He didn’t look convinced. It is going to be a long decade.

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