Advice & Input

Dear Bubby,

I am a Pre-1A teacher’s aide and I work in a local yeshivah. The Morah in whose class I assist constantly uses poor grammar and words that aren’t words when she talks to the children. For example, she will say things like, “Look what Malki brang for show and tell,” or, “Shani and me went grocery shopping.” She is a wonderful person and the children love her, but I feel she’s doing a disservice to her pupils. Other than that she’s a devoted, energetic teacher. It is really difficult to bite my tongue. Any suggestions?

Tactful Teacher


Dear (not so) Tactful,

You sound like a really caring person. However, I think in this situation you may have overstepped your position. First of all, how long has this Pre-1A teacher been working in this school? Secondly, is she possibly Israeli or Russian, etc? And third, how long have YOU been working there?

Had you said it was a higher grade in the school, I may have felt differently. But right now, Pre-1A children thrive on caring and kindness more than the ABCs. Right now, what they need is an energetic and devoted teacher, which is how you describe her.

My advice is this: go back to Pre-1A and learn how to be a caring, energetic, kind teacher. Instead of looking down – look up to her!


Dear Bubby,

It seems the children I raised and taught to write thank-you notes years ago somehow failed to teach their children the importance of being grateful receivers. My two teenage grandchildren have never thanked me for a birthday present or a Chanukah gift. I gave one of them a set of personalized notepaper, but it didn’t spur any action.

Birthdays have come and gone this year, but Chanukah is on the way. I’m wondering what I can do to reach these young people in a meaningful manner. I’m older now and don’t know if they even listen or can still be influenced to do the right thing. What advice can you give me to somehow get through to my grandchildren about the importance of saying thank you?

Grandmother w/o Gratitude

Spring Valley


Dear Grandmother

I can really sympathize with you. This is truly a dilemma in this generation. Unfortunately, the more you talk the less they listen. So save your breath. (I will be taking this advice too!) Ask your son or daughter if they could possibly tell their child to send you a card or letter thanking you for something you did or gave them. Tell them how happy it would make you.

Modeling, I find, is the best way to teach. Send them cards and letters (I do that hoping someday it will work!). Sometimes cute funny cards really get their attention and they will call to say thank you.

Good luck, but remember: You do it all for yourself! It gives you pleasure to dote on grandchildren, so please don’t stop!

The presents of grandchildren is their presence. Count yourself lucky to have wonderful grandchildren. Being around them is probably the only thanks we will get. I have a necklace that says, “Expect Nothing Appreciate Everything.” A nice motto to TRY to live by.


Dear Bubby,

Please help me and quick!

Every year we take all our children and grandchildren to a hotel for Shabbos Chanukah. It is a wonderful bonding experience for all the cousins and siblings who get to spend time with each other. It gives my husband and I great pleasure.

Last year, my son and his wife approached me and said they must go to her family for that Shabbos. There was a conflict with siblings and her mother is taking it very badly. She insists they come with them. Of course, I said we will miss you but you do what you have to and we will understand.

BUT this year, same story happened. Her mother insists that they go to her for Shabbos Chanukah. What do I do now? I want my son and his family to be together with us and his siblings. I am so angry. I think they are being manipulated.

Help! I want to do the right thing, but what is that?


Enough is Enough


Dear Enough,

Wow! I feel the anguish in your letter. My advice may be difficult to accept, but I think it will help you understand the situation a little better.

Certainly you love your son, his wife and your grandchildren (maybe not right now), and don’t want to cause friction or chas v’shalom a rift in the family.

Is it possible there is more to this story? Can there possibly be health or emotional problems that you are not aware of which are causing your children to feel the need to go to your daughter-in-law’s family for that Shabbos?

Tell your son you love him and how much you would love to spend Shabbos with him. However, you understand his position and that he must do whatever he feels is right (and mean it).

Shabbos Chanukah will pass and you don’t want bad feelings to linger and disturb your family dynamics. So take a deep breath, try to focus on the future and how proud your children will be of their mother who is a paragon of peace. Don’t we always teach by example? Here is your chance to be that role model!

Freilichin Chanukah and let me know how it works out.

(P.S. Remember next year not to invite them!)