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DMCs: Roll of the Dice

As told to Ariella Brown

The thing is that it’s not my problem anyhow; it’s my father’s problem. By default, though, it’s a problem for everyone around him, but if he doesn’t think it’s a problem, then it’s never going to change, because a person can only change if they really want to. And he says he doesn’t have a problem. So that’s the end of that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

shiur

Photo: Shutterstock

Whenever I read DMCs or true stories in frum teenage magazines, I see a pattern: kid has an issue and it gets solved. In the rare cases where it doesn’t get solved, at least, at the very end, the kid learns something valuable. 

My story is ongoing. There’s no end yet, and no end in sight. And worst of all, I don’t think it will ever get solved. I’m not trying to be pessimistic here. It’s a fact. The thing is that it’s not my problem anyhow; it’s my father’s problem. By default, though, it’s a problem for everyone around him, but if he doesn’t think it’s a problem, then it’s never going to change, because a person can only change if they really want to. And he says he doesn’t have a problem. So that’s the end of that. 

The only thing I’ve really learned from this experience that I’m about to share with you is that we can’t change others, we can only change ourselves. 

You’re probably wondering what on earth I’m talking about. I guess I am kind of going in circles. So let me start at the beginning. 

I’m a fairly typical teen in a fairly typical frum school. My parents are married to each other; I have a handful of younger siblings. Nothing about us stands out in any way.

Photo: Shutterstock

A few years ago, my father lost his job and probably quite a lot of self-respect along with it. He complained that he was older and it was hard, if not impossible, to find work in his field. Around the same time, my grandfather (his father), who he was very close to, died suddenly. My youngest sibling had just started first grade so our house was empty all day (my mother works outside the home) and I learned quickly that my father was extremely bored and lonely. 

I’m one of those people who don’t always notice subtle changes and I wasn’t really in tune with what was going on at home. I was wrapped up in my friends and the drama that is girlhood friendships. 

But eventually, I noticed things I hadn’t noticed before. Things were getting tense around my house. Probably a big part of it was because of money. I heard, “We can’t afford that” a few times until I learned to stop asking for things. I learned to do without things that I didn’t need. My school had an optional expensive trip which I opted out of; I didn’t even bother telling my parents about it. Why make them stress out even more?

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