Dear Jido – July 2023

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Dear Jido, 

My father is hurt and even a little angry that I haven’t shared the latest details with him about our son’s battle with an illness. He found out about what’s going on from my sister, who just assumed Dad would know what’s happening. 

I know my father means well and I feel bad that he’s upset, but the problem is that whenever I try to talk to him about stuff like this, he immediately goes into “stand-back-because-we’re-gonna-fix-this-right-now” mode, which is exhausting, especially since I am already exhausted. Besides, he can’t really suggest anything that we haven’t already tried or that we’re currently doing for our son. I just need him to listen. How do I get my father to just listen? 

Signed,  

Exhausted

Dear Exhausted,

“Ask your elders and they will tell you” (Devarim 32:7). Sometimes you don’t have to ask and they will tell you anyway. Yes, that’s the way with some of us older folks, we think we know everything. Many times, we do.  

 

Probably the best way to get your father to listen is to get him to talk. This is my suggestion. Call him and say, “Dad, when can we talk about Junior? I need about half an hour.” 

 

Go there with pen and paper. Write down in advance all the areas of help/therapy that your son needs. Ask Dad what he recommends in each area and write all his recommendations down. Now he has told you everything.  

 

Then review in column three everything you’ve already done in each area. Undoubtedly, there will be avenues that you have already explored in each of your father’s recommendations. Review them, debate them, discuss the outcomes. Tell him what else you’ve done.  

 

If your father really is a take-charge guy, there HAS to be an area you did not yet pursue. Let him know you will look into it. Now you’ve taken 90 percent off the table. Give him the kavod of looking into his suggestions with a promise that you will get back to him.  

 

This will convince him that you are doing/have done everything that he’s thought of since you’re also going to be taking his lead on the remaining items. You’ve now covered 100 percent of his ideas in one sixty-minute session. (I know I said 30 minutes – but it WILL take longer.) You will leave knowing you have given your father the proper respect and consideration and hopefully have addressed ALL of his bravado on this very sensitive, emotional subject for the last time.  

 

Refuah shelemah for your son – all should be well.  

 

Jido