Sunday, February 6, 2011

Juvenile Lie Detector (Or Instilling the Fear of God Part I)

Lie Detector (Or, Instilling the Fear of God Part I)
When David was younger and I suspected him of lying I used a little trick I learned from a wise friend of mine. I would warn David that I was going to use the Pinocchio test. If he's lying and I touch the tip of his nose then his nose will grow.
At first it worked like a charm, but eventually the Pinocchio test became compromised and I was left hanging.
One day I asked David a question and I knew for sure he was lying and so I called him on it. He was flabbergasted that I saw through him and I told him that I have cameras all over the place and he can't hide anything from me. "Really?" he asked in awe. "Yes," I affirmed, "you can't get anything by me."
A few months ago David approached me in the kitchen and I called him on something. I thought for sure he was lying despite all his emotional and emphatic protestations to the contrary. I refused to budge even as he was on the verge of tears. Exasperated I finally threw my hands up in the air and muttered, "how am supposed to know if you're telling the truth?"
With tears rolling down his eyes, he answered, "please Abba, you can check the cameras."
Instilling the Fear of God Part II (Or, Instilling the Fear of Abba, Part I)
Last year David learned the middle finger in school. (Just for the record, this would be when he was still in yeshivah.) We let him know in no uncertain terms that we never want to see him do this.
One day were were in the lobby and he beckoned to me with his middle finger. Boy did I let him have it (verbally). The truth is I realized afterward that it wasn't intentional, but my mistake was worth the payoff.
The next night Kinneret was cutting his fingernails, but when she got to the middle finger he refused to extend it so she could cut it. He just kept shaking his head and finally explained, "I don't want to get in trouble with Abba."
Instilling the Fear of God Part III (Or, Instilling the Fear of Abba, Part II)
Last year I scared the crap out of David and he learned his lesson not to touch my iPhone without explicit permission. I don't recall now what happened, but I do remember that it felt really good to see him cower in fear.
Instilling the Fear of God Part IV (Or, Lack of Yiras Shamayim?)
I was recently talking with a friend of mine about parenting, punishments, bribing, positive reinforcement, etc. She has a daughter the same age as David and she said when her daughter doesn't listen she says something to the effect of "but Hashem is watching." She claims it works like a charm. I don't feel so comfortable invoking God for behavior modification, but last week I broke down and gave it a try. It didn't work.

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