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Psa: When they say they don't want to speak
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, Jan 29 2023, 2:10 am
A while back, I wrote a PSA about a new (to me) word that was being used by yeshiva bochurim. I felt it important to let mothers know what their sons are talking about when they use strange new words.

Now I am back with a new PSA, to tell mothers of yeshiva bochurim something that maybe they don't know on their own. At least, I didn't know this. But maybe you are much smarter than me (probably). So here's the PSA for those mothers as clueless as me.

So we were a few weeks before an upcoming family simcha, and my son called me from yeshiva. He said to me, "I'm not going to have to speak on Shabbos, right? "

I was caught off guard by the question because it was totally random and wasn't something I had given any thought to. I didn’t want to lock myself into anything, so I didn't give a straight answer. ( A trick I learned from my sons, by the way.)

I asked him if he doesn’t want to speak, and he said absolutely not. There is no way he was getting up in front of everyone and speaking. I reminded him that he spoke before the whole parent body in his yeshiva at the recent melava malka, and he said that that's different. That was "Toyra" not a speech.

Okay, I wasn't going to push it. I said I would discuss it with his father, but if he was insistent on not speaking, he certainly won't be forced.

I promptly forgot about the conversation, as there were a lot of other things to do before the simcha. He did ask me a few more times, and the conversation was pretty much the same each time.

Shabbos morning of the simcha dawned, and between the kiddush and the meal, we were lingering around. My son came over to me, to remind me, to make sure that he won't be asked to speak. I assured him that he won't, and he could relax.

"Good," he said, and he released a sigh. "So should I tell you what I would have said if I were asked to speak?"

shock

"Yes" I said.

And he proceeded to quote a gemara, with a Tosfos and a Rashi. Then he brought in a Rashba which was choilek on the previous pshat, and he resolved it all with a nice diyuk which connected neatly to the simcha at hand.

"Beautiful!" I exclaimed, "Why don't you want to speak? I think you should say exactly this!"

He suddenly got all panicky. "Because I have nothing to say!"

"Yes you do, what you just said is beautiful!"

"You understood it?" He asked. (Pro tip- boys will always assume their mothers don't understand anything they say.)

I assured him that even I understood it, and I thought it's perfect for the occasion. He continued insisting that he has nothing to say, but I told him that he will be the first to go up, so he won't have to be too nervous.

Sure enough, he was called up first, and blushing furiously, he made his way to the shtender. He said his piece and I was proud as a mother peacock (which technically is called a peahen, but not sure if even the grammar police would catch me on that one).

And that's my PSA for today: when your son repeatedly tells you that he doesn't want to speak (especially if you never asked him to), he actually has a fully formed speech prepared and you just need to call him up.

But you probably knew that. I think I was sleeping when they taught this in mommy school.
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amother
Eggplant


 

Post Sun, Jan 29 2023, 7:22 am
That’s actually a beautiful story
But it’s specific to your son
I don’t have teenage boys yet, but I do have a husband who wouldn’t speak in public if you paid him a million dollars. I have a couple sons who are the same way.
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esuss




 
 
    
 

Post Sun, Jan 29 2023, 7:31 am
Mazal tov on the simcha and mazal tov on your sons beautiful speech!
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, Jan 29 2023, 9:37 am
amother Eggplant wrote:
That’s actually a beautiful story
But it’s specific to your son
I don’t have teenage boys yet, but I do have a husband who wouldn’t speak in public if you paid him a million dollars. I have a couple sons who are the same way.


Does your husband go over to the baal simcha and tell him that he won't speak?

When I told some family members that my son specifically told me that he doesn't want to speak, they all seemed to understand- that means be wants to speak!
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amother
DarkRed


 

Post Sun, Jan 29 2023, 9:51 am
Many bochurim hate speaking, and may have the ideas but are not comfortable speaking in public. Many hate being expected to speak because they are a yehsiva bochur, and want to be able to just go to a simchah. Many have the pilpul down but aren't great at drawing the message in. And many aren't great speakers. Even if all of this is true, a bochur who is anxious enough may come up with a whole speech so he shouldn't be embarrassed if they call him up when he's not expecting it.

I'm glad it worked out for you.
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amother
Blue


 

Post Sun, Jan 29 2023, 9:51 am
Your posts are awesome and right up my alley

Keep ‘em coming. Im taking notes…

Much nachas always!
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professor




 
 
    
 

Post Sun, Jan 29 2023, 10:02 am
Thank you for this beautiful story! You made my day happier.
I highly doubt all boys have the same language, but this was soooo cute!! Your son is precious!

My boys never insist on NOT giving a speech because they wouldn't be asked to and they wouldn't want to lol
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, Jan 29 2023, 10:22 am
amother DarkRed wrote:
Many bochurim hate speaking, and may have the ideas but are not comfortable speaking in public. Many hate being expected to speak because they are a yehsiva bochur, and want to be able to just go to a simchah. Many have the pilpul down but aren't great at drawing the message in. And many aren't great speakers. Even if all of this is true, a bochur who is anxious enough may come up with a whole speech so he shouldn't be embarrassed if they call him up when he's not expecting it.

I'm glad it worked out for you.


Your points are well taken. I guess there are all types of boys out there.

I know there are some yeshivos that make it a point to have each bachur give a chabura, on a rotation basis. Those roshei yeshiva feel its important that every bachur get the practice and confidence to get up and deliver a shtickel Torah. As mentioned, this son had just been asked to speak at a recent yeshiva event. And he accepted. So I knew that he didn't suffer from terrible stage fright.

In terms of a bachur being expected to speak at a simcha, I think that the expectation might be there when the bachur is a sibling of the chosson/kalla, or bar mitzva boy, not if he is a further relation. In our case, though my husband and I certainly had no expectations, my older son spoke at the Friday night meal, and I think possibly that's what gave my younger son the confidence to speak at the daytime seuda. But he was still too shy to offer to speak, and that's why he did it in a roundabout way. I'm still not totally sure.

I am the kind of person that takes what people say at face value. Always. If someone says they don't want to speak, I don't assume that they want to be asked. And this replays itself in other ways as well.
What I learned over here is that being a mother of teenagers is like a walking a tightrope. You never really know...
Somehow I often seem to get this wrong. Can't Believe It

But BH this worked out well:)
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amother
OP


 

Post Sun, Jan 29 2023, 7:29 pm
amother Blue wrote:
Your posts are awesome and right up my alley

Keep ‘em coming. Im taking notes…

Much nachas always!


Thank you! And much nachas from yours:)
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amother
Blonde


 

Post Sun, Jan 29 2023, 7:35 pm
I love the way you write LOL but sometimes when a person says they don’t want to do something they really mean it. I guess it’s hard to know.
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ShishKabob




 
 
    
 

Post Sun, Jan 29 2023, 7:53 pm
Are you venturing out of the woodworks? pkl?
Love the way you write.
And I guess your son is not gonna need too many lessons on understanding that when a woman says no she means yes! lol
Lots of nachas!
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amother
OP


 

Post Mon, Jan 30 2023, 4:18 am
amother Blonde wrote:
I love the way you write LOL but sometimes when a person says they don’t want to do something they really mean it. I guess it’s hard to know.


You know something? I'm a bit surprised by the responses here. I thought I would tell my story and everyone would say, "Well, duuh!!!!!??" Like, obviously he was asking to speak, what took you so long to figure that out??

But the replies here are making me feel a bit better about myself for taking my son's insistence at face value.

I guess the point is that you never really know. Not with teenagers or with anyone.

Personally, I'm like Horton the elephant. I say what I mean, and I mean what I say. And I tend to assume others mean what they say as well.

But other people are a bit more complex, and you need to use context clues to figure out what they really mean. This is not my first child with this type of tendency.

Moreover, I think he really believed that he didn't want to speak. Just at the same time, he was hoping we would insist that he should. And I'm pretty certain he was happy he did it at the end, judging by his big smile as he walked back to his seat. Ultimately, a short talk like this, given in front of an audience of 100 or so people, gives a kid enormous confidence. I'm really glad for him that he ended up doing it.
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amother
OP


 

Post Mon, Jan 30 2023, 10:41 am
ShishKabob wrote:
Are you venturing out of the woodworks? pkl?
Love the way you write.
And I guess your son is not gonna need too many lessons on understanding that when a woman says no she means yes! lol
Lots of nachas!


Thanks!
I go in and out of the woodworks, much like many other Imamothers, I guess.

My son is a long way off from marriage, lol. Right now, the woman he knows means no when she says no, you know? Very Happy
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amother
Natural


 

Post Mon, Jan 30 2023, 11:52 am
Many bochurim really do NOT want to speak.

I would think if my son says he doesn’t want to speak, then he is pretty serious about it.
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amother
OP


 

Post Mon, Jan 30 2023, 12:47 pm
amother Natural wrote:
Many bochurim really do NOT want to speak.

I would think if my son says he doesn’t want to speak, then he is pretty serious about it.


Ok, here's a question-
Should a bachur (or girl for that matter,) be encouraged to speak, if you know he is capable and the occasion is appropriate? You know he is just scared and that it would give him confidence when he gets up there and conquers his fear?
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amother
NeonGreen


 

Post Mon, Jan 30 2023, 1:22 pm
amother OP wrote:
Ok, here's a question-
Should a bachur (or girl for that matter,) be encouraged to speak, if you know he is capable and the occasion is appropriate? You know he is just scared and that it would give him confidence when he gets up there and conquers his fear?

No. Imagine I forced YOU to speak. Some ppl really hate it. It’s a personality thing. Let’s not force everyone into doing something WE think is good


Last edited by amother on Thu, Feb 02 2023, 6:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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amother
Anemone


 

Post Mon, Jan 30 2023, 1:28 pm
PKL?
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amother
OP


 

Post Mon, Jan 30 2023, 1:38 pm
Forward wrote:
No. Imagine I forced YOU to speak. Some ppl really hate it. It’s a personality thing. Let’s not force everyone into doing something WE think is good


I didn't say force, I said encourage.
I believe that this is a policy in many yeshivos, to have every talmid occasionally give a chabura. Many kids will say they don't want to, but after they have done it, they are proud and happy they did it. And they are eager to do it again.
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mrsnistar




 
 
    
 

Post Mon, Jan 30 2023, 1:46 pm
Chiming in here... I deal with teen girls a lot (I teach and mentor, and I also work with them on extra-curricular stuff for school), and I also am in a position to mother some of the teen boys in our family.
This is so, so, so classic of teens! I can't tell you how many teens - boys and girls alike - do things like this... Not all, and of course you need to know the kid before you take their "no ways" as "please-please-please! I'm dying for this!". But there are so, so many times that teens act like this... And I can't tell you how many times I think to myself, "Well, thank You, Hashem, that I know better than to just accept what it sounds like you're saying! BH I know to interpret things..." sometimes it's a klal of מכלל הן אתה שומע לאו or מכלל לאו אתה שומע הן, if you get my drift. (And yes, I know that that's not what that klal literally means!)
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amother
OP


 

Post Mon, Jan 30 2023, 2:02 pm
mrsnistar wrote:
Chiming in here... I deal with teen girls a lot (I teach and mentor, and I also work with them on extra-curricular stuff for school), and I also am in a position to mother some of the teen boys in our family.
This is so, so, so classic of teens! I can't tell you how many teens - boys and girls alike - do things like this... Not all, and of course you need to know the kid before you take their "no ways" as "please-please-please! I'm dying for this!". But there are so, so many times that teens act like this... And I can't tell you how many times I think to myself, "Well, thank You, Hashem, that I know better than to just accept what it sounds like you're saying! BH I know to interpret things..." sometimes it's a klal of מכלל הן אתה שומע לאו or מכלל לאו אתה שומע הן, if you get my drift. (And yes, I know that that's not what that klal literally means!)


Exactly. Or in English, we would say, "Thou doth protest too much!"
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