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Tuesday, October 24, 2006


TV vs The Real World

I don’t get many opportunities to come into contact with the secular and non-Jewish world.
I don’t exactly live in a secluded place far away from civilization.
I cross path daily with gentiles but rarely exchange more than a word or two.
I studied a couple of ears amidst mostly non-Jews, but I haven’t remained in contact with anyone and my co-students were young and unmarried.

My whole concept of how average, poor and rich non-Jews live comes from television.
Although a little naïve in general, I’m not to the point where I believe that TV series and even ‘reality’ shows portray real life accurately.
Young fathers are never quite as patient as in sitcoms and women are hopefully nothing like they are represented on dramas and as desperate as shown in ‘reality’ programs. And sadly kids are rarely as street smart and wise as depicted.
A repeated theme though caught my attention as almost every show, by different writers, have a recurring line that bothers me greatly.
When moms address they children and refer to that child’s father they always do exactly that.
‘Your father’….
In my sphere a mom talking to her child will say ‘Daddy(tatty, pa) is very proud of you’.
Never ‘Your father is very proud of you’.

When I first noticed a TV mom doing that, I started paying attention and see if this was a one-time line.
But it wasn’t, and it weren’t just the divorced mom’s talking like that to their two year old and 18 year old it was every mom, even the happily married ones.
As if they needed to confirm over and over again that the men in question was indeed the child’s father.

“Mommy, can I play outside?”
“Ask your father”, she answers.

Is this just the language of a few writers, or is this common in this world I know so little about

Great observation! Using at phrase like, "Your father is proud of you," seems to distance both parents from each other. When my wife or I speak to our kids, it's always, "We are proud of you", even if one parent is at work.
Neil-well the idea is that the mom is talking specifically about the father.
yes this is how it is in the real world too
"your father said"
"go to your mother"
"ask your mother"
"go ask your father"
hear it all the time everywhere jewish and non jewish
happily married couples and not happily married
Sending my kids to their father buys me time!!
va chez ton pere..
attends que ton pere rentre du travail..
on ne dit rien a ton pere!
i think ure right about the observation.. :)
Interesting observation, but I don't think it's exclusive to non-jews.
I do occasionally say 'your father' - it's usually when they're really bugging me and I'll say something like, 'oh, go and ask your father' - roughly translated it means leave me alone and go drive him mad instead!
Intersting observation.

I too think that the your father is a rather impersonal way of interacting and/or communicating with a child.

Us Jews express ourselves so differently. Maybe it comes from the colorful language of Yiddish (at least from my grandparent's generation.) I often think that my own children will miss out on this experience, having grown up in a community with so many goyim. It will be intersting to see.

Of coure, there is always the command, and nagging, and telling one's children, go do this! I cannot get away with that anymore sadly.
I think that some people immitate tv, not the other way around.
YY-I guess it’s more common than I thought.
I still think it’s too impersonal.

Kasamba-To do what?

Mookie-It sounds better like that

va chez papa..
attends que papa rentre du travail..
on ne dit rien a papa!

Doesn’t it?

Nemo-I never hear it, but I can’t claim to know all Jews :)

Jemima3-if you do it exceptionally then it will have the desired effect.

Barbara-You make a good point, saying “your father” in Yiddish wouldn’t work at all coming from a child’s mom.
Do you understand Yiddish?

Muse-unfortunately I think you’re right.
Very good observation, I never noticed that before. My mother always, to this day, refers to my father as "Daddy." I can't remember her ever saying "your father."

And when speaking to my kids, I always refer to my husband as "Abba." I don't think I've ever once said "your Abba." I've never even realized that I do that, but now that I think about it, it would sound very formal and distant to add the "your."

Very interesting!
RR-I certainly meant that it should be spontaneous without thought.
I think it's the healthiest way to talk to the kids about either parent.
I have heard people say that in real life it does sound distant and strange. Never thought about it. Great point.
my mom used to refer to my dad as "ur father" when she was upset with him!!
on another note I it irks me when spouses call each other mommy or tatty the first time my husband called me mommy (even though he was doing it infront of the kid who asked him something and he said lets ask mommy "mommy....") I was like " i sure as hell aren't ur mommy!! that put a stop to that!
To do anything because I know Hubby will come and ask me what to do!
It buys me crucial minutes!
Interesting! You're right it's weird. Or what you also hear is when parents speak to each other and say: "Guess what your son/daughter did today?".
Maybe a mother feels odd to talk infront of their kids about daddy. Because for her a daddy is her father and not her husband.
very interesting observation, I shall pay attention to it in future. In my world nobody talks this formal and distant, maybe this is indeed TV talk :D

I think that reality shows are showing a certain range of people and even though a lot is a set up I think these people exist. The worst must be the families shown in the "super nanny"... but there must be families like this living among us... or what do you think?
My mom talks like that when she is annoyed or upset (negative), then she would say "Oh you just wait until your father gets home!" for something "positive" however it would be as you said "Oh tatty will be so proud of you"

Just a thought:

Negative = distancing = father

Positive = embracing = daddy
Social-I agree, it has a distancing feeling to it.
How do you do it?

Anon-I certainly didn’t mean to each other, and when upset it’s sets the tone quite well.
Fill in: “….. is very proud of you”.
Now that you mention it, it does kind of sound odd.
The other one 'Daddy...' sounds much better.
The only time I ever heard your father was when I was in trouble. And even then most of the time it was wait until totty comes home. But If I heard father I knew I was in some prety big trouble.
hmm interesting..
converseley...a generation ago...no one called the father Dad..or Totty..(in jewish circles)..rather always in 3rd person out of respect...Der Totte....
Lvns-it certainly does.

Sara-if there's a specific intention behind it, it's a great way to let the kid know he's in trouble.
But that only works if 'your father' is the exception.

David-true, and kids had more respect towards their parents but absolutely no bond.
i try to stay away from saying that - even when im upset about something...
i find the feeling is disharmonius - when expressing 'YOUR father' - rather than Dad..
Funny you wrote this post, I was thinking about my secular western influences and how Jewish Culture embraces them. I call my mother «mother» and if I talk to another person about my mother I will say «my mother». The reason? First the native language, mommy is considered a childish word said by an adult. Second, because of respect and not distance. It's your and her knowledgement that you are an adult and she helped made you one. Is this Western influence, it might, but in the bereshit we were already there.
In a world where the mailman could be your father, reaffirming that your father is actually 'your father' by saying so, is important.... I guess...:)
Seriously, though, it's interesting how everyone has such different views on this one. I personally say the 'Daddy, Totty' line rather than 'your father'. 'Your father' sounds like I'm talking to my neighbor or something.
Emanuel-Nice to see you here again!
You are right that it is more respectful like that.

Working Ema-exactly, your father is perfect when talking to someone about their father, except when that father happens to be your husband.

i think depends on the person, their mood and the situation... not necessarily to with not being jewish.
One of the downfalls of my marriage was that I wasn't the perfect TV husband/father that my ex wanted me to be.

I threw out my TV when I got divorced. She got a bigger one.
hey i like that. i like that you noticed that. its true. i like observant jews. (absolutely no pun intended)
Interesting! yet another one of those things that I'm totally desensitized to but find fascinating when someone points it out...
Interesting! yet another one of those things that I'm totally desensitized to but find fascinating when someone points it out...
heard a woman say to another, the other day, 'as soon as i tell his father....' (in reference to her child and husband)

thought of you immediately
the sabra-Where is your blog?
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