Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Shevat 5763 - January 29, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

Why Doesn't Shmuly Want to Go to Gan?
A true story by Rivka M.

Hello. My name is Shmuly. I am three-and-a-half. The oldest in my family is Moishy, then comes Rochel, then me and then the baby, Chani. I already have a yarmulka and tzitzis and payos just like Moishy and Tatty. I love my Tatty and Mommy. My Tatty plays with me when he is home and loves to test me on the alef-beis. I already know up till yud. My Mommy takes good care of me and she gives me star stickers when I do something that makes her proud.

A month ago we moved to a new neighborhood and I started going to a new gan. I go every day and when Mommy asks me if I had a good time, I say, "Yes." I like to put stickers into the circles that Morah Chaya makes. I also like to paint and glue and I love to listen to the parsha stories that Morah Dina tells. And when Morah Dina shows us the alef- beis, I feel glad when I can recognize all the letters. I know them, but I'm too shy to say so...

My Mommy thinks that I like gan but really, I only like to do the things we do in gan, but I don't LIKE gan at all. I don't like Morah Chaya because she never talks to me. She never says to me, "Oh, you're so cute," or "Wow! You know how to put the stickers in the circles so well," even though she says it to the other children. And I do it just as well as they do.

She just gives me orders, like, "Sit down", "Stand up!" or "Go there" or "Put that away." Sometimes she barks, "Shmuly! You had an accident AGAIN!" or "Shmuly, come back! Where are you going?" Then all the other children look at me and I feel very silly or bad, so I try to do what she says as quickly as I can. And I try hard never to cry because then they all call me a crybaby. It happened once...

I like Morah Dina a little bit. She tells nice stories and sometimes she even smiles at me.

Most of the time in gan I watch the other children and I see how they play together and laugh and even fight with one another. But I stay by myself. At home I laugh and giggle with Chani and chase her around on the floor. I do puzzles and build with Lego with Moishy and Rochel, and sometimes we fight about whose turn it is or because I want a toy they have. But in gan it's different. I don't know how to make friends. Everyone plays and talks with the others, but I'm new still and I feel strange.

When they come in the morning, they start playing and talking with one another. They tell Morah Dina all kinds of things that happened to them the day before. But when I come in, Morah Dina just says, "Hello, Shmuly," takes off my coat and then goes away. So I go into a corner with the trucks and push them around until it's time to put them away. If someone wants one, I let them take a truck and I don't say anything.

Today something happened that made me feel bad. Morah Dina and Morah Chaya said that since it was such a nice day, we would go to the park. There was another gan there when we came, and there were lots of children in the sandbox. I stood by the side, not far from the benches where the teachers were sitting, Morah Chaya and Morah Dina and the two from the other gan. They were talking about all kinds of things.

Suddenly they started talking about me. I know, because I heard one Morah say, "Hey, what's with that kid over there? Why isn't he in the sandbox with all the others?" Morah Dina looked at me for a second and answered, "Oh, Shmuly." She shrugged. "I don't know what's with him. He doesn't open his mouth. He's with us already for a month but he doesn't participate in anything."

"That's so strange," the others said. "Why is that?"'

"I really don't know. His mother says that at home he tells her all about what we did in gan, so I don't know..." She shrugged again.

Then I heard Morah Dina continue, "He's three and a half but his mother hasn't yet successfully toilet- trained him." She rolled her eyes. "Don't ask how many times he's had accidents in gan!"

The others looked like they felt sorry for her. "So how do you manage?" they asked.

Then Morah Chaya spoke up and said something that made me very scared. "If he dared to have an accident in MY house, I'd throw him right out the window!" she said with a half sneer, half chuckle. The others laughed.

I don't know why they laughed. I'd be terribly frightened to fall out of a window, especially if it's a high one. I'm so happy that my gan is not in Morah Chaya's house!

The more I think about all the things they said, the sadder I feel. I don't like ANY of the Moros sitting on the bench. They think that because I don't talk, it means that I can't hear. They think I'm just a thing, like a park bench; they think I don't understand anything.

I wish my Moros would treat me like a real person. I wish they would care about me and like me and say nice things about me. I wish they would talk to me like they talk to the other children. Maybe I'd even answer them and tell them about Chani, and about the new puzzle Bubby bought me that I did right away, without any help...

I'm going to tell Mommy that I don't want to go to gan anymore. Maybe she could find me a different gan. Not the one with those two other Moros, but a nice gan where the Moros will love me, the way my Mommy does. Maybe... I sure hope so!


I was one of those four teachers on the bench. I couldn't help noticing Shmuly's crestfallen look. He must have overheard our conversation! I felt terrible!

Later, I went over to him and talked to him in a friendly way and patted his cheek. He responded amazingly, answering questions, volunteering information in full sentences. In fact, the words began gushing out of his mouth and I saw him visibly relaxing. When it was time for all of us to go back to our respective kindergartens, he clung to me and didn't want to leave me. He even looked scared...

Sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of caring, respect and sincere interest in a child to understand his feelings and help him solve his problem.

I guess this applies to adults as well...


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