Dear Readers ...
This chapter as with the whole of my book about Ben, Z'L I lovingly dedicate to his memory. It is nearly the completion of the sixth year of his absence. Though it may strike you as excessively"schmaltzdik" hug your children each day as if it were the last, God Forbid!
The things we do for our children: some right, others wrong, often ineffectual and misguided, but always done with good intentions, reaffirm the truism that we parents do the “darndest” things at times.
Such "primeval behavior" or, as some call it, "nesting instinct" keeps our children far from harm when still very young and even too after having done some growing up.
So it was when I tried to interest Ben in playing hockey with a group of Jewish men, one of whom I knew from my synagogue. More a social club than a team, it was comprised of a group of young men who just so happened to enjoy the rough and tumble of ice hockey.
“Perfect! Skating at which he had always excelled, hard checking against the boards, slap shots ... what could be better?"
The problem with this group was that it practiced twice a week at 10:00 p.m., but for a short while, we went. Ben played and I watched- occasionally falling asleep in the stands. Unhappily, his interest waned after about two months.
“How was this an example of my nesting instinct?"
Ben had been very athletically oriented ever since the time of his early boyhood. What I was trying to do was to show him ways by which to maximize his strengths and, as a bonus, be able to benefit from a regular exercise regimen necessary for diabetics. Secondly, I was trying to guide him toward a “better” choice of friends whom I thought more wholesome than his!
You may ask:
“What was the outcome of all of this ‘'parental engineering?"
Stated simply, it failed.
Whenever I tried to make choices for Ben or lead him toward my own-no matter how pure my parental motive-he would revert invariably to his choices. Ben's mom had always characterized our son as a very cautious child whose nature it was to survey any new situation, looking it over carefully, scrutinizing it to determine if all seemed right.
All well and good, one might think! Deliberate, cautious in his moves, like ...
"playing chess with life itself."
However much we encourage and applaud self-reliance, it is heartrending when our children make poor choices and we are powerless to prevent them from doing so. Despite the fact
we do know better, life having taught us, our children remain determined to make their choices even those we know to be wrong.