I saw what was happening once in a yeshiva. The student was speaking to his English principal about his Rebbi, and the way he spoke was the way anyone of our age people would not dare to speak in public. He's dorky, his appearance is not as cool, he is stupid because he makes him do more than what's fair, and he should get fired for... being an idiot. What's wrong with this picture? When the boy went away, the secretary asked, how could this boy be possibly talking about his teachers that way; the reply was simple. The kids are different today, what we can't even imagine of doing or saying about or to our teacher, kids just don't feel embarrassed. In our days if you did something like this you'd get it, if not from the school then from parents, what can we do with them now?
That hits it right on the button - students are not humiliated or punished or even judged, upon mouthing off on their teachers and not only teachers, anybody who is halachically an elder in our society, or a respective individual. I grew up when it is just started but these kids were in the minority, and you would always see their parents backing up their actions like "You judging my kid, my kid is really innocent, he just had his emotional reaction, he is challenged, oh... it is all your fault not his, etc., etc.
While yeshivas have to teach our kids almost everything especially for arm and leg they charge, but the foundation of learning must be provided by parents. Your job as a parent not just to protect but guide your children through the life. What do I mean? Senseless protection takes guilt feeling away from child, he is being told that somehow he is an angel whatever he does. Parents always say bad things about teachers even if not true. Especially if they happened to go to same class as kids. Everyone is so much into having a perfect name that when some kids went on shoplifting in Boro Park, parents were covering it up, so their families could have a good name. When principal tells you that you playing an appropriate music in this school, you go off the Derech only to find a sympathetic radio show that will bring principle to apologise in front of the entire audience?! What message does that bring? And finally, one Yenta in a business suit and published in a chareidi newspaper, decides to call your "so called good kids (or easy) - autopilot kids", plus don't PRAISE your autopilot kids in front of your trouble making kids (oops, teens in pain), they might FEEL BAD OR JEALOUS, oh yeah and please praise your teens in pain for at least coming out of their gutter they spent the last night in and coming back home for breakfast. In other words "Thank you living and breathing, my pained one".
Today, if a student does not feel like going to school we don't hesitate to attack Principal's lack of Armani sucks and demand that he puts them on if he is not to be blamed for that student's drug problems than to ask ourselves question - can we also demand something from our kids? I mean if you see some boys or girls today on streets what is your reaction for someone who is approaching them to correct them? Who are you angry at today? Yes the guy who judged them. Did I mean he sentenced them? No. He just thought they were engaged in inappropriate behavior.
And there is more to parental problems, that is before we came to mention our institutional or school problems. Lets just take a short look at those.
Where did this all start? In our institutions? Schools? Rabbis issued it? No. The roots are elsewhere. It starts with American elite families and elite schools, the most influential force on social issues. They brought up students (since 50's) or even their own kids in a post-WWII era that we won't have any challenges after that war and that no major threat to our economy will ever come from second half of 20's century on. We only needed the religion to keep the spirit of population before our common enemies, now that reason ceased to exist and religion should be looked upon as something of a burden and a stop to a great progress of the next stage of human development, the post industrial age of reasoning, where people are sophisticated enough to reason what's best for them without any interference of old dogmas or doctrines or religious beliefs mixed in the process. And what about all these wars and conflicts that we had since than? They could have been avoided (according to them), if we did not stand up for our prejudices of our past. Like our belief in capitalism caused the Cold War, our preference to our western heritage and for Israel caused 9/11, Vietnam could be avoided if we did not stand up for some democracy in the far east. Yes, you guessed it - the hippies. Many of you will be surprised of this finding, but why would all hippie events took place in most prestigious places in US and around Western Europe.
Well although we did initially jump on the same wagon with them, we rejected them later on (within 10 years or so). Our complains: too much crime, unwanted children, disorder in streets and so on, but most of all high divorce rate and attack on morality.
Hippie movement did not really die, it took another approach, these rich kids became our politicians, lawyers, doctors and most of all scientists and college professors. Now our politics and science is in their mercy, especially psychology and social science, out of all things.
There is another powerful ally, who by their claim have a right to hate America (though admire their freedom), Hollywood. The secular Jewish elite, who saw the cure to anti-semitism in destroying all religious values and old political institutions that represent original cultures that look different, like Irish, German, Russian, Jewish. For as long as we had our uniqueness, they reasoned, we stand out as Jews (bingo!) and there is room for anti-this and anti-that and anti-semitism. They saw any religious person as a danger, even a Frum Jew.
So after losing battle in 60's, they wanted to shake a strong fundamental that held our identity of origin - family. In late 60's and early 70's a bunch of media releases about family violence flooded our media, movies about worthless fathers, enslaved mothers and promises of emancipation from what we call a hell of family life, (OK may be it isn't that good, but is there a better option - just something to think about), useless monster we call father, or the act of extreme selfishness we call having more than one child. All this was portrayed as typical life in American family. If they lied about the scope of abuse or usefulness of the father, what else did they make up? The laws and the way the students were taught about outlook on education, family attitude on authority and so on. And all this is sipping slowly into our communities. Now keep in mind, this is not to make a family safer, that is mantra, the real deal is that our social engineers are in a progress of destroying everything old and build all things anew.
So what did we accept from them? The child is not brought up right if: he has limitations, being told "NO", experiencing any feeling that is uncomfortable, has to obey the so called authority, or being criticized, disciplined, or being told what to wear or eat (which goes directly opposite of what orthodox Jews are practicing). Where do you think we are heading with this? Sodom and Amara. And didn't my first two paragraphs described Sodom, where Youngsters are pushing elders, elder pushing the authorities. Since its nine days - one of the reasons why temple was destroyed was precisely because youngsters pushed elders and elders the authority! I like to share the Rebbe's thought on that. The reason for naming Jewish children's organization as Tzivos (ARMY) was not done for violence of it but for discipline and respect to your superiors, what bothered Rebbe the most was what Rebbe observed as moral decay of America since the time he came here until that letter was written (in late 70's) with reason for calling it Army. Rebbe's legacy to children was to have what we lost - the discipline and respect.
It should finish right here, but one more thing, we did not even start mentioning our yeshivas for FFB kids ...