Recently, at a Shabbos meal, I found myself sitting across from a five year old who on many occasions has made her feelings about me very clear. More often than that, she has made sure to let me know what her feelings toward my husband are. I generally find it hilarious, as this kid has quite a mouth on her. This time, I decided to make my stance pretty clear, cuz why not.
Kid: *stares me down* I only like Shmuel
Me: That’s nice.
Kid: So, you live alone?
Me: Um, no. I live with my baby
Kid: ok, so just you and the baby.
Me: Incorrect. I also live with Shmuel.
Kid: (Thinking I said I love instead of live) I love Shmuel.
Me: You’ve made that abundantly clear. Guess what? I LIVE with Shmuel. Because we’re MARRIED (read capital words as though spoken to someone hard of hearing)
Kid: *glares at me*
It’s a little pathetic that I was fairly satisfied with the conversation. I was proud of my responses and my humor. Then it hit me: I’m priding myself on winning an argument with a five-year-old. True, this kid is beyond average intelligence and has the candor of a teenager, but nonetheless, it was a new low.
So often we choose to defend ourselves, “defend our honor”. As someone with a public social media account, I often receive messages that can easily be taken as critique. I used to feel the need to defend myself, as I felt that someone who did not know me was making assumptions about me that I did not appreciate. Looking back, I realize just how ridiculous that was. Why should I spend my time defending my choices, or try to clarify someone’s misinterpretation of my actions? From what I’ve seen, those who initially seem to be picking a fight usually are, so why fight back? That’s just about as productive as defending my marriage to a preschooler. It’s hard not to let others’ opinions get to us, but let’s try to make sure the opinions we care about come from those we deem worthy and qualified to vocalize those opinions.