Friday, April 04, 2008

What Is Your Plan?

A great article by R' Horowitz about having a plan, leading to some very interesting discussion and points in the comments about the issue. A number of commenters have argued that much of the problem lies in Rabbeim and Roshei Yeshiva who discourage students from having a plan, by discouraging things like college, emphasizing trusting that if they learn, God will provide, etc. I've mentioned one of my own similar experiences in the past:
I still recall a conversation I had with a Rebbe in a certain yeshiva I was in for a few months. ...

As we started to walk up the hill toward his home, he asked me a few basic questions, including what my plans were for the coming year. I responded that I was likely going to be going to Lander College. He questioned why I was going to college, to which I looked at him, slightly confused, as I really didn't understand what he was asking. After a couple of seconds I responded that I needed to get a degree so I can make a living. He immediately spoke up and said simply
"That's a copout."
I was taken completely aback, but I recovered enough after a few seconds to mumble something along the lines of "You don't know me, you don't know my family, we don't have any money..." or something along those lines. He responded that it's still a copout and I was just looking for a way out of staying in yeshiva.
But, while I think the commenters at his site are making valid points, I also feel that it can't only be the Rabbeim who are at fault, or even necessarily primarily at fault. Parents should have been emphasizing with their kids throughout their lives that they need to have a plan, that they can't rely on other people for things like money, that it's not okay to have 'how much will the in-laws give' as a prerequisite for dating.

Of course, there are many parents who do do this, only to be undermined to an extent by the Rabbeim, teachers, and other influences in their children's lives. And of course, it is tricky to start telling one's children to not respect their Rabbeim, particularly when they're younger; hopefully, they've instilled the right balance of listening to and respecting Rabbeim while thinking for themselves what makes sense and what does not - what is right and what is not.

Have a wonderful Shabbos, and enjoy G's The Far Side, coming in a few minutes.