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A Community For Jewish Parenting

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What to say? [Jan. 5th, 2009|10:57 pm]
A Community For Jewish Parenting


I grew up in a community with a sizeable but not tremendous Jewish community. It was normal to be invited to both Bar Mitzvahs for Jewish friends and Confirmations for Catholic friends. We had High Holiday off, and often Passover as well. And what happened to us yesterday, I can't imagine it happening where I grew up.

We were out, and my husband was holding Naomi. An elderly woman, my guess is that she was in her 70s or 80s was nearby and admiring and cooing over the baby. And she proceeded to tell Naomi (who is eight and a half months old, so this question is really a future reference kind of thing) that "Jesus loves the little babies." Nothing more than that, but she said it several times..."Jesus loves the little babies....yes he does."

Now as an adult, I can certainly say in a firm but polite way that we're Jewish and while we appreciate her good thoughts and wishes for us, Jesus isn't a part of our lives and that we're very happy with our spiritual relationship and all that. But children don't have that same ability to express it in a firm but polite way, and it's entirely within the scope of possibility considering where we live, that Naomi will come in contact with well-meaning adults who say this kind of thing to her.

So...child-friendly (in other words, vocabulary and concepts that a toddler or pre-schooler would understand) but polite responses to adults who might say similar things to her? I ask because I don't know what to expect from a preschooler, as my daughter is still an infant.

Thanks for your help.

[User Picture]From: mercy_rain
2009-01-06 02:18 pm (UTC)
I would probably smile and nod without comment. If there's an outright question posed, I think something like, "Thanks, but we're Jewish" will usually do. My son's a little older, 7, and when people kept asking him if he had a good Christmas, he'd just smile and say, "We celebrate Hanukkah!" Never had anything but good responses to that.
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[User Picture]From: countfroggy
2009-01-06 03:12 pm (UTC)
I would agree with mercy_rain, pester and diffusedglow. It is clear from the rest of the context you provided that no harm or insult was intended by the woman. Good wishes were clearly intended. As to what would be appropriate for a (slightly older) child to respond, I'd suggest "Thank you, but I'm Jewish.". I'd add the 'thank you' for courtesy instruction for the child and acknowledgement of the original comments intention.
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