This morning I was thinking and reading a little about the four children in the Passover Hagaddah, which are usually depicted as the wise child, the wicked child , the simple child and the child who is too young to ask. Every Haggadah will interpret these children a little differently, but they all have suggestions on how to parent each child according to their needs. While not directly related, I was also inspired by this piece by the Velveteen Rabbi about parents obligations at Passover to children. And since the children were playing with magnetic tiles for a long time this morning, I played with the idea a bit and turned it upside down for one more version.
The Four Grown Ups
The Baster: For the parent who is in the kitchen when the Seder is about to begin and says “go ahead without me, I am basting the brisket, ” you should praise this parent on her lovely alliteration and then gently remind her that as we once fled Egypt with unbaked bread, so tonight we can eat a brisket with one less basting.
The Helicopter Parent: For the parent who is so involved in teaching the children that he doesn’t learn a single grown up thing at the Seder and says, “go ahead without me, we are making baskets for baby Moses from these grape vines we gathered,” the helicopter parent should be reminded that parents have an obligation to learn on Passover too. The vines should be gently removed from his hands and he should be handed a grown up Haggadah, preferably by Maxwell House or the New American Hagaddah Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander.
The Zealot: For the parent who is so involved in discussing an obscure midrash that she shoves off her child who has lost his page in Sammy Spider’s First Haggadah, she should be reminded that on Passover we also have an obligation to teach and to learn.
The Auntie: For the Seder guest who is not yet a parent and does not know what to ask, we should calmly explain that each child is different. There are millions of different kinds of children and parents, so four is kind sort of an understatement to say the least.