Sunday, April 27, 2014
Jacob was a very sad child. He constantly compared himself to other kids and considered himself to be inadequate in some way. In his own mind, Jacob wasn't smart enough, or popular enough, or athletic enough, or happy enough to deserve to be liked by himself or by others. All of Jacob's possessions - whatever belonged to him - felt defective and worthless. Anything that Jacob associated with himself - such as his family and home - were somehow tainted and cursed.
Jacob's father owned a gun which he kept in his bedroom closet. The children knew about their father's gun and had played with it more than once. When Jacob was in 4th grade, his little sister, Faith, shot and killed her girlfriend while playing with her father's gun. Jacob couldn't face the shame. He just wanted to die - but he didn't yet consciously know this.
One day when nobody was home, Jacob "played" at hanging himself out of his third story window. Suddenly, he heard a voice yelling up to him from the street: "Jacob Friedman! What do you think you're doing!? Get yourself back in the house this second!" Jacob was frightened and ashamed but also felt cared for and relieved. He listened to Mrs. Lyons, the good neighbor, and pulled himself back into his room.
Jacob's 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Mermer hated children. She claimed that Jacob wrote something derogatory about her on the wall in back of the class. Jacob didn't do it and told his teacher that he was innocent - but she accused him anyway - and shamed him in front of the class.
That night, alone in his room, Jacob unconsciously scribbled something on the margin of his homework assignment and "forgot" to erase it. The next day he handed in his assignment.
Before handing back the homework, Mrs. Mermer read Jacob's comments out loud to the class: "I hate Mrs. Mermer, and I hate my whole life. I have nothing to live for. I wish I were dead."
Jacob listened in stunned silence, as he heard his deepest, most painful feelings being broadcast like an announcement to line up for lunch. He barely remembered writing those words - he felt the eyes of his classmates on him - the class broke into laughter...continue right here...
By Rabbi Shalom Arush - Encouraging Our Children
By Rabbi Lazer Brody - Your New Name
By Rivka Levy - Back to the Future
Dr. Zev Ballen