Friday, March 30, 2007

Just Say No

From this week's The Jewish Week (link):

Just Say No

What are we thinking when we put a 14-year-old child wearing a $1,000 gown and $400 shoes into a limousine to attend a prom?

What are we thinking when put a television in a child’s bedroom? Why do we not simply put a sign up that says, “Please — do not use your imagination and do not read?” Why allow an Internet connection behind a closed door, knowing that the Internet, alongside its blessings, is a sewer of pornographic, violent, hateful and dangerous ideas and images?

What are we thinking when we send children to parties where there will be drinking, drugs, and people treating their bodies as though they were disposable? Why bring a 10-year-old to a concert where the principle virtue of the performer is that she is scantily dressed and exudes sexual allure?

Parents are the first and most important teachers of their children. So here is a word to teach: NO.

Melville wrote about Hawthorne that he knew how to say “No! In thunder.” In other words, to say “no” when others are saying “yes,” to say “no” when “yes” is the easy answer, to brave the conflict and anger and recrimination that “no” will bring.

For each of us the day comes when decency, family, integrity — maybe even sanity — depends on being able to say “no.” God help our children if we have not taught them to say it.

David Wolpe

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