Different Strokes for Different Folks

A ‘Your Mother’s Guidance’ post by Rebecca Masinter

Recently, I found myself with two children who, one right after the other, made identical comments that were not appropriate for that time.  You may or may not be surprised to hear that I responded very differently to each child even though the issue was identical.  Why would I do that?  Well, the same reason you do it!  As any mother or teacher knows, the point of responding is not to get anything off my chest or to play my scripted role and simply say lines that are pre-determined as the response for this particular action.  No.  My response isn’t for my own sake, but for the sake of my child. Therefore, my reaction had to be different to each child because each child is different and each one needed something different from me in that moment. 

We have a reminder of this principle in chapter 20 of Numbers.  Here, we have the very enigmatic story of God commanding Moses to speak to the rock to bring forth water for the nation. Instead Moses struck the rock, leading to the decree that Moses wouldn’t lead the nation into Israel.  There are so many questions and so many lessons we can learn from this story, but I would like to share just one angle with you today.

Forty years before this point the nation also needed water (Exodus 17), and believe it or not, God commanded Moses to hit the rock to make water flow.  Why was hitting the right response at that time, but 40 years later hitting was inappropriate and talking should have occurred?  What’s the difference? 

The audience is different!  40 years earlier, the children of Israel had just left slavery.  They were just beginning to come together as a spiritual nation and they still, so to speak, spoke the harsh physical language of slavery. Hitting and physical force seemed a natural and appropriate step for people who had just come out of 210 years of physical slavery.  But now, 40 years later, it is a new generation which needs water. This generation has had 40 years of Moses’s leadership and Torah learning, and they are about to enter Israel, a land sensitive to subtle spiritual behaviors.  This generation didn’t need to learn about physical force, they needed to learn how to use subtle and spiritual powers like speech to influence nature. 

This explains why God tells Moses, “Since you HIT the rock rather than speaking to it, you will not lead the Jewish people into the Land of Israel”.  The nation needed a different style of leadership at this point in time than the one they needed 40 years earlier.  The desired result was identical – water from a rock, but the response was different because the nation was different and needed to learn something different.

I believe serves as a powerful reminder to us parents to modulate our responses to each child individually.  One size does not fit all; rather it’s different strokes for different folks!  It’s empowering for our children to know that we speak to each of them h individually and treat them individually because they are individuals. We honor and respect their individuality by acknowledging who they are apart from their siblings and trying to give each one what they need from us one by one.   We can ask ourselves before we speak, “What tone of voice, what words, what response does my child need from me right now?” and try to act accordingly.

This Women-for-Trump Group Isn’t for Me

For years, mainstream media has pretended that women make up a monolithic, liberal group. A number of years back, one could expect most articles concerning women to include a quote from a NOW (National Organization for Women) spokeswoman despite the fact that it represented its members only, not the totality of women. Conservative women’s groups, no matter how large, were routinely ignored. Today there is still a pretense that abortion rights are a united liberal “woman’s issue” even though the majority of women are not in favor of the radical abortion policies the Left is increasingly espousing.

Portraying President Trump as an enemy of women is part of this media lie. As a female supporter of the president, I would like to add my voice to those women brave enough to make their stand public, despite the bullying that often follows. I eagerly clicked on this article: Women for Trump -There’s No Conceding the ‘Women’s Vote’ to Liberals in 2020.

Unfortunately, I can’t march in this particular parade. As one of their “selling points,” this group mentions President Trump’s support for paid family leave. While it doesn’t diminish my support for the president’s other policies, one of my biggest concerns is how to make sure that the president and members of Congress know how many women think this legislation would be a terrible idea. I certainly do.

How many times do we have to face dire ‘unintended consequences’ before recognizing that when the government imposes social engineering, it usually leads to damaging and expensive costs? If every government program had only its promised and intended result we would be living in Nirvana. We aren’t. In fact, many studies seem to show that, as a population, we are less happy than we used to be.

Yes, women are in the workforce and yes, it is difficult to meld working with having a family. However, no single prototype represents “the working mother.” The government can help by lowering taxes, reducing regulation and encouraging freedom, thereby reducing the cost of living so that everyone can make his or her own free choice. The government promoting one way of life by subsidizing it is the wrong way to go.

I know many young women who wish they could spend their days building their homes, nurturing their marriages, raising their children (and having more children) and being involved in neighborhood and community organizations. They are working because they and their husbands do not see how they can make ends meet on only one salary. Many of these women are accomplished professionals. They enjoy their work and it is valuable. But in a world restricted to 7 days in the week and 24 hours in the day, they cannot have everything. No one can.

These women, of course, are in a different category from women who work in a low-paying jobs, often struggling to support themselves and their children. The government is already responsible for misguided programs that encouraged women to have children outside of marriage. These women would benefit more from education and improving their skills than from being subsidized for having more children. We all make good and bad choices throughout our lives as well as having to live with the hands we are dealt. As a society, living with the consequences of the decisions we make spurs making better decisions. Breaking the link between action and consequence leads us in the wrong direction.

Imagine a couple who marry in their twenties and have a few children. They choose to live on a tight budget so that the wife can be home. Why should they help support someone who chose to emphasize her career during those same years and have her children, let’s say, in her mid-thirties? Did the career woman share her vacations, restaurant meals and fashionable clothing with the stay-at-home mom?

How about individuals who choose not to marry and not to have children? Do they owe something to those who make other choices? As a mother, I have tons of hugs, kisses and priceless moments. I have a family support group as I age. My husband and I (and our community) received many benefits from my not being pulled in two by an outside career. Does that give me the right to demand payment from someone who receives accolades and a substantial paycheck from a career that was her focus? What of the woman who raises her family and then, in her forties, builds a business or enters professional school. Why is her choice deemed second place? 

When companies such as Google or Amazon provide employees with campuses rather than office buildings, it isn’t a selfless gesture of goodwill. If workers can exercise, eat, send their clothing to the dry cleaner and take care of all their other needs at the campus, they will put in more hours at work. As private companies this may be very smart management. But people have the option of working there or not. By contrast, when the government sets a policy, citizens don’t have any choice.

Paid family leave is slyly misnamed. It actually puts a premium on work, not family. As a private decision, that is one individuals can make. It is not the government’s place to lay their heavy hand on the scale. Someone has to pay for paid family leave. Whether that is companies who then raise their prices to compensate for higher expenses or taxpayers who pay more, everyone is forced to support the government’s chosen ‘preferred’ category of people—working (out of the home) woman. Guess what? A lot of women would rather prioritize raising the next generation over working in an office. Do we really want to penalize them?

I do support President Trump’s re-election. I do not support family leave legislation. I also guarantee you that if Republicans offer X amount of weeks of leave, the Democrats will offer 2X or 5X or 100X. The end result will be further intrusion into the lives of individuals and the diminishing and  demeaning of families. As women who support President Trump, let us acknowledge that we can have different viewpoints on specific policy issues while sharing a love for our country and a belief that, at this time, this is the right man in the right place.

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Summer Homework – for Mothers

I loved our family’s summer boating trips for many reasons. Among them was, that as long as my husband and son were willing to heave and ho, I could bring along as much stuff as I wanted. This meant boxes and boxes of books and supplies that I used to plan the coming year’s homeschool.

Doing this in the lazy days of summer was so much fun. I could be swept away by a period of history and spend more hours reading about it than I would ever share with a ten-year-old. I could explore craft ideas and experiments without any pressure to have them ready by the next morning. Most of all, I could imagine that our children would be engaged by everything I was excitedly choosing for us to do. Of course they would want to dissect a cow’s eyeball—who wouldn’t? (That would be each and every one of my children including the future doctor and the future nurse.)

If you are a homeschooling mom who takes things easier in the summer you, too, probably use this time for planning, ordering and organizing. If you are not homeschooling, this time is valuable for you as well. A September reset button allows us to review what worked well and what didn’t over the previous year.

Maybe there were just too many activities and we became chauffeurs more than moms. Maybe our kids’ lives were so structured and busy that they had no time to be creative. Maybe we turned into grumpy crones every afternoon when a hungry family and tired mother faced each other.

Perhaps we read some books out loud and we still hear our children referencing them. Or we might have cut back on screen time, endured grumbles and whines for a few days or weeks and then found that our children were quite able to entertain themselves. Maybe we need to take the time to notice that a child we worried and worried about matured and is in a new and much more pleasant space.

Make some time this summer to think through the past year and plan for the next one. Turn off your auto-pilot and figure out what will work best for each of your children and your family as a whole. Enjoy these precious days before ads for school supplies set you back on a treadmill that may not be the one you want to ride.

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Socialism and atheism – why do they go together?

Could you further explain the following passage from your book Business Secrets from the Bible?

“One would have expected the political left to excuse what it calls the “greed” of capitalism and to recognize it as nothing other than Darwinian law applied to the life of modern man. Yet, this is not possible; something as truly spiritual as commerce simply cannot coexist with socialism. The atheist himself recognizes that, to be true to his credo, he must reject the free market because of its godliness.”

Why can’t socialism exist with commerce when socialism also helps those that are less fortunate?

Why would you assume an atheist would reject a free market because of its spirituality when his basis for understanding spirituality is different from yours and he may himself benefit from capitalism if it allows him to benefit himself?

I am trying to test my previous ways of thinking and understand ideas and thought processes that I have never considered before.


Dear Alo,

We are delighted that you are reading Business Secrets from the Bible so carefully and actually thinking through each point.

We disagree with you that socialism helps those who are less fortunate. Its proponents gain control by promising to do so, but the reality has never matched the promise. As Winston Churchill said in the House of Commons on October 22, 1945,

‘The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.’

The only ones who do not share in the miseries of socialism are those in power. Somehow, they manage to live quite well, even opulently, as those who foolishly bought into their promises suffer, some of them even starving to death. We encourage everyone to learn history from fair and honest sources. Sadly, the information taught in schools and universities today is often neither. Unfortunately, you needn’t restrict yourself to history. Search out information about what is happening in Venezuela and other socialist paradises today.

Now, to get to your main point. We must acknowledge that when we write words such as, “the atheist,” we do not mean to say “each and every atheist.” Individuals do not fall 100% into categories. The atheist philosophy rejects the idea that humans are uniquely  touched by the finger of God. We insist that this spiritual distinctiveness is precisely what allows humans to make individual decisions on thousands of large and small subjects. No lion decides to be a vegetarian and no kangaroo chooses to carry her babies on her back rather than in a pouch. People, however, can live not only with great variation but even with inconsistency. By “the atheist” we mean a philosophical idea rather than a specific person.

Also, you refer to spirituality whereas we tend to talk of Judeo-Christian Biblical thought.  Sometimes spirituality is a word used as a synonym for “new age” thinking.  We are talking of the set of Bible-based values that created the wealth and freedom of western civilization.

In 1000 AD the world’s population was about 200 million.  Life was short, and dangerous for almost everyone.  Disease and poverty were rampant.  Even kings lived far worse than a lower-income individual in a large western city today.  Yet, in less than a millennium, global population has grown to over five billion people the overwhelming majority of whom live in a state of health and comfort their ancestors could only dream of. According to David Landes an economic historian who is not in any way a religious man or Bible believer, this astounding progress is largely due to Judeo-Christian Biblical thinking

We see how a secular society grants full license to concupiscent behavior because it recognizes it as barnyard behavior and views us as no more than sophisticated animals.  Regarding money however, its spiritual nature–no animal understands money–causes discomfort to the secularist.  It’s no coincidence that atheistic societies have never succeeded in building effective economies.  Nobody can succeed at something he deep down considers to be morally reprehensible.

In our writings, CDs, appearances and DVDs, we make the point that money is spiritual. We cannot condense thousands of words into a short few sentences here. But, when a society doesn’t acknowledge that money is spiritual then it is left to treat making it as immoral and selfish. It needs to reject the free market and capitalism. This, unfortunately, plays out in history over and over again.

Keep reading and asking questions,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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  • Do the First Time Right! July 15, 2019 by Rabbi Daniel Lapin - Do it right the first time!  How many times have you heard those words?  How many times have you uttered that phrase?  You’ve heard it from your parents, from your educators and from your boss at work.  You’ve said it to your children, to anyone you’ve been responsible for training, and to your employees.  Why… Read More


  • Socialism and atheism – why do they go together? July 16, 2019 by Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin - Could you further explain the following passage from your book Business Secrets from the Bible? "One would have expected the political left to excuse what it calls the “greed” of capitalism and to recognize it as nothing other than Darwinian law applied to the life of modern man. Yet, this is not possible; something as… Read More


  • This Women-for-Trump Group Isn’t for Me July 18, 2019 by Susan Lapin - For years, mainstream media has pretended that women make up a monolithic, liberal group. A number of years back, one could expect most articles concerning women to include a quote from a NOW (National Organization for Women) spokeswoman despite the fact that it represented its members only, not the totality of women. Conservative women’s groups,… Read More


  • Join Us in Prayer July 15, 2019 by Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin - Most of the time in formal Jewish life, men and women are referred to as, “So and so, the son/daughter of (insert father’s first name). So, on a marriage contract or when a man is called up to the Torah that is the nomenclature that is used. The exception is when we are beseeching God… Read More


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About Rabbi Daniel Lapin

Rabbi Daniel Lapin, known world-wide as America’s Rabbi, is a noted rabbinic scholar, popular international speaker and best-selling author. He hosts the Rabbi Daniel Lapin podcast as well as co-hosting the Ancient Jewish Wisdom TV Show on the TCT network with his wife, Susan. He is one of America’s most eloquent speakers and his ability to extract life principles from the Bible and transmit them in an entertaining manner, thus improving peoples’ finances, family and community life  has brought countless numbers of Jews and Christians closer to their respective faiths.





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