The Purim Roundtable
Moderated by Fiveish; Questions are welcome at Purim@Yated.com
Should I donate my kid to Kids4Kars?
At Kids4Kars, he’ll learn to be aggressive, pushy and bossy. Do you want him to learn these traits? Of course not, but you have to pick your battles. If you stay close by, if you watch his mileage and road performance, you may be able to keep him somewhat in line. But as we always stress, look at the whole picture. What you see in front of you is not the end of the road. It’s only a short distance until the next marker. Keep him on a one-way street, stay away from dead ends, and keep his ego tank full, and you’ll see a pleasant trip with only tree-lined roads ahead.
May you make the right choice, and may you always get more for your miles. Steer clear of the pitfalls we all face, take many short brakes, and may your child give you miles and miles of trouble-free traveling.
RABBI YISROEL HISIGER
Longtime Mechanech and Kashrus Expert
Brooklyn, New York
This is a most sensitive question which occurs frequently in chinuch situations. Of course, we must guide parents regarding the mainstream, vital, non-car-donation topics of education, but at the same time one must capitalize on the available automobile and motor vehicle-related opportunities to broaden his child’s horizons by considering such a donation, regardless of whether it is embraced by the general chinuch establishment.
A child who is donated to Kids4Kars must understand that his peers who are not donated are growing up in different circumstances and cannot be judged with the same yardstick used for him now that he has such an enriched chinuch and Yiddishe life.
My yedid once asked RavYitzchok Hutner zt”l whether a mechanech should suggest to a parentto have his child donated to such an organization. Rav Hutner first wished to know if the parent had considered it on his own or not. He was very hesitant to offer an across-the-board answer. He was concerned that the boy will lose love and respect for his parents and will also, as a result, lose respect for his rabbeim. Maintaining respect for parents is paramount when considering questions such as yours.
Hatzlachah in this most delicate, but important, decision.
RABBI MORDECHAI KAMENETSKY
Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Toras Chaim and of South Shore
What a question! My zaida once wanted to donate me, but I was brought up in Woodmere, and kids from Woodmere don’t get donated anywhere.
I often quote my zaida who said that one should work on the issues that his child excels in and then, as he matures, his value will increase. The biggest problem I have with this organization is that I was taught never to call them kids, but children. But aside from this major issue, Kids4Kars does a phenomenal job rebuilding the raw material they were given into a masterpiece. They break down the metal, weigh it, and then cash in. They make millions from all these donations, and if my kid, er, child, can bring in this much desired, I mean needed, money, why pull the brakes? Go right ahead.
Anyway, what is your child doing with his life as it stands? He’s wasting away in school, being bullied by the bigger guy on the block, and having his ego knocked out of him, and it’s costing you all those high tuition fees. This way, he’ll sit in a lot, take in the sun, cost you nothing, and bring in all that cash for some organization that claims to set these children on the right path. What could be better than that? As my zaida used to say, guy foor.
So yes, donate him, and start him off young so that he can handle all the rough roads ahead.
RAV YAAKOV BENDER
Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Darchei Torah and of Far Rockaway
Your question is amazing. You must have studied at our yeshiva. If your child is worthy of being donated, he certainly must be one of our graduates.
As we know, kids can drive you batty, so they certainly are well-classified as kars. The questions are: a) Must we keep he and she kars in different lots? b) Can we help with the shidduch crisis by mixing and matching the different models? c) Should the boys learn in kollel for a few years before being karted off to the lot? d) And, most importantly, who will ensure that they will not be classified as clunkers? We’ve seen even the most outdated models become stars. No kid should ever be given up on. Our kids should never be given to Rent-a-Wreck to be rented out. Schools give up on kids all the time, but I’m sure Kids4Kars will build up their value, no matter how old they get.
In summation, if we shine them up and keep them on the derech (road) for many years, they are bound to stay out of the pound, giving you more mileage than you can handle, and thus guarantee that their children follow them down the same path. Without a doubt, donate your kids and the Geico Liz (Gecko) will have a hard time staying away.
RABBI ARON FINK
Menahel, Ateres Bais Yaakov, Monsey
Get professional help. When you face such a dilemma and you reach the point as a parent where you feel the need to ask a panel of educators who know nothing about your child for advice, it is absolutely time to seek the guidance of a mental/behavioral health professional. He or she can more fully analyze your situation and help create an individual and family approach to a successful resolution. Judging from the urgent tone of your question, it sounds like you should schedule an appointment without delay.
Ashrecha to you for being proactive in ensuring that your son’s future will be al pi derech Yisroel saba.
RABBI AVROHOM NEUBERGER
R”M, Yeshiva Gedola Ohr Reuven, Monsey, NY
It's challenging to give a definitive response to your question, especially since so many people read this column, and what applies to one person doesn't apply to another.
For those considering it, chances are that you're a good candidate to give your child to Kids4Kars. But allow me to ask you a few questions:
1. Do you know your mechanic's name but not the name of your son's rebbi?
2. Are you more concerned about your car's performance than your child's?
3. Do you make payments on a luxury car but insist on scholarships for your children's tuition?
4. Are your aware of your car's odometer reading but have no idea what masechta your son is learning?
5. Do you religiously maintain your vehicle according to the manufacturer's recommendations but can't find time to go to your child's PTA?
6. Have you done more research before buying or leasing your car than you have in checking out your child's school or camp?
7. Does your car have better systems securing it than your child-accessible internet access does?
8. Do you (rightfully) not allow your young children to drive, but allow them access to material that can do them spiritual harm?
My general guideline would be: If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, it would be in your child's best interest to allow Kids4Kars to raise your child. Or, better yet, rethink your priorities and raise your child yourself.
You may not get a luxury car, but you'll get a much better child!
RABBI NOSSON SCHERMAN
General Editor, ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications
I don’t see the problem. Of course it would be nicer if children were motivated by themselves and by things of inherent spiritually symbolic or lasting value, but we must deal with reality. Children of this day and age require different modes of education and development, and Kids4Kars may be the optimum approach. I spoke to my son, Rav Yitzchok Zev, an expert mechanech, and he agreed. Parents and rabbeim must and surely do find all possible ways to imbue their children and young charges with proper values.
RABBI SHNUER AISENSTARK
Dean, Beth Jacob Seminary, Montreal
Every human being is a “taker” by nature, beginning at birth. A baby grabs his food and is determined to take care of himself in every way possible. It is a natural phenomenon that he places everything into his mouth. That is his mode of survival. As he grows, he must be weaned off this characteristic of self-centeredness and his egocentric behavior.
If a child grows without a feeling of self-worth and has nothing in which he takes pride or about which he feels very good, he will always be looking at what others have that he feels he lacks.
I think that once a child reaches the early teens, it might be a bit late but not totally impossible to find something in which the child can excel and feel very good about so that he can be proud of himself. Donating him at that point may be too late. You, as the parent, can help by nipping the issue in the bud and finding the opportune time to give your child this opportunity.
You, as his parents, are the people most responsible for helping your son feel proud about himself and his accomplishments so that he will feel comfortable in his own skin and will not feel the need to envy others. As a member of Kids4Kars, he will have that experience. I spoke to various mechanchos in Montreal, who agreed that Hashem should give you the koach to continue your efforts and the seichel to know when to step in and make such a crucial decision.
RABBI SHMUEL YAAKOV KLEIN
Director, Publications and Communications, Torah Umesorah
As a parent, it is your responsibility to relate fairly and equitably to all of your children. Donating one over the other may cause a lack of harmony in your home.
If you are able to discreetly donate your child, that's great. Otherwise, donate all of them. They’ll be better for it.
RABBI DOVID ENGEL
Menahel, The Toronto Cheder
It sounds like you have an emotionally healthy and happy, well-run home. A ten-year old child is probably too young and immature to really understand the value of kars. You might want to say to him at some point, “This is what we feel you need right now. Perhaps when you are older and in high school you will understand why we felt this was the best for you.” It’s probably not advisable to elaborate more than that with your child.
Rabbeim and menahelim deal with comparable issues several times each school year. As you have very astutely picked up, and as indicated by your question, your son may be a natural for such a change. Kudos to you and your husband for your willingness to tackle this issue and for your patience. Other parents who harshly handle their children’s car donation challenges can do permanent damage.
We all know the famous story about Rav Avrohom Pam zt”l who noticed a parent neglecting his kar and his kid and stepped in.
Assuming that there are other issues, giving him lectures and asking him to be like Yaakov Avinu won't work for him, as you have already experienced, so a warm, loving, embracing environment may be just what he needs.
Chazal say, “Yeish koneh olamo b’shaah achas.” In your son’s case, this may just be it.