The four children in the Passover Hagaddah are usually depicted as the wise child, the wicked child, the simple child and the child who is too young to ask. Every Haggadah will interpret these children a little differently, but they all have suggestions on how to parent each child according to their needs. I have always found this section both compelling and off putting depending on the interpretation. Some of the parenting suggestions for handling the defiant or wicked child can be on the harsh side. I started to play with the idea a bit and turned it upside down for one more version.
The Four Grown Ups
For the parent who is in the kitchen when the Seder is about to begin and says "go ahead without me, I am basting the brisket," you should praise this parent on her lovely alliteration and then gently remind her that as we once fled Egypt with unbaked bread, so tonight we can eat a brisket with one less basting.
The Helicopter Parent
For the parent who is so involved in teaching the children that he doesn't learn a single grown up thing at the Seder and says, "go ahead without me, we are making baskets for baby Moses from these grape vines we gathered," the helicopter parent should be reminded that parents have an obligation to learn on Passover too. The vines should be gently removed from his hands and he should be handed a grown up Haggadah, preferably by Maxwell House or the New American Hagaddah.
For the parent who is so involved in discussing an obscure teaching that she shoves off her child who has lost his page in Sammy Spider's First Haggadah, she should be reminded that on Passover we also have an obligation to teach and to learn.
For the Seder guest who is not yet a parent and does not know what to ask, we should calmly explain that each child is different. There are millions of different kinds of children and parents, so four is kind sort of an understatement to say the least.
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