Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Researching Boys II

Continuing with examples of questions to ask when researching a boy.
It might look that some of the questions have been asked before, but sometimes when you did not get the answer you needed the first time it is worth it to re-frame the question and re-ask. Also, sometimes the question is similar but not the same, you are getting to a different aspect of the person. And again sometimes you just skip the question you thing repetitive because you got your answer previously.
  • Is he working?
You may or may not know the answer to this already. If he is a boy who’s learning, he may be working some hours a day. He may be tutoring or teaching. Or if he is a “working” boy, he may be studying for a future career but not working, or he may be working part time and studying part time.
Let's be realistic. If a bocher is a certain age, he is working even if he wants to go on shlichus. In fact if a 28 and older bocher is not involved in something I would be surprised. Of course you have the exception, Bochrim who have such a kop for learning that it is what they do all day with full committment. That is possible, but seriously how many can do that?
Others might keep busy teaching, or being involved in organizations, or helping shluchim, or go into some kind of business or learning a trade.
One has to understand that a lot of these bochrims are true gems, but they could not wait to get married to start life, so do not categorize them in a lower level just because they picked themselves up and did something with their lives.

  • Is he driven (trait not car!), forceful, high strung or sedate?
Give examples of what you mean (subjective question). Are you looking for someone who is out thee looking for opportunities, ambitious, driven to succeed in whatever path he has chosen? Or are you looking for someone who get things done but quietly and calmly, or someone who has a laid back attitude, doing what he has to do, but letting things also take their course without pushing, etc. Describe what you mean with your question, you will get a much better answer.
  • Is he sociable, or reserved?
Give examples of what you mean. This is not the same question as in the last post. One may be laid back but not sedate. One may be a bit wild but not enterprising. Before you were asking more in reference to the world at large--whether in regard to shlichus: can he fund-raise? Or in regard to business, does he look for opportunity or does he wait for it to knock? Now, you are asking about a personal character trait: is he the first to jump in or does he observe what others do first? Is he calm and contained or is he always on the edge of his seat? Again, use your own examples that will give you the insight you want. One can be reserved but rise to the occasion. When necessary, they can be sociable. Or are they reserved and prefer to avoid social situations that will spotlight them?
  • Does he have a temper or an even temperament?
Give examples of what you mean (subjective question). Everyone gets angry sometimes, but you wish to know if he is easily angered, or if he holds a grudge, and it takes ages to get him out of a “sulk”. As Pirkei Avos says, there are 4 types of temperaments: easily angered and easily appeased, slow to anger and slow to be appeased, slow to anger and easy to be appeased, and easily angered and slow to be appeased which we all know is the worst combination.

We all give in to anger sometimes, but it is good to find out what one does when angry. Stay and yell, storm out and calm down outside, etc. Explain what you feel is excessive anger and give examples. (We are not taking here about abusive behavior Ch’V. If you have heard rumors of such, do not rely on rumors but try to find out the truth and speak to a mumche, a counselor)
Anger is one of the 3 facts the gemorah tells us reveal the character of a person (Kiso, Ka'aso, Koyso, his pocket - financial -, his anger and in his cups)

  • Is he neat (his room, his papers), organized?
Give examples of what you mean (subjective question). Neatness and organization might matter greatly to some and not at all to others. If it is important, be specific with your examples. Do you want to know if he is neat in dress, orderly with his personal belonging, with his books or files etc.? (Some people may be sloppy at home but greatly organized at the office.)
If a girl is always very neat and orderly in her life and she marries a slob, there will be issues that both have to resolve. She has to accept the fact that he is not very concerned with neatness and orderliness and can live with this fact. She should not think she can change him after they are married. Similarly if he grew up in a house where his mother was a great balabusta and everything had its place and there was not a crumb left in sight before going to sleep, but the girl he is looking into is more relaxed with the household and if the dishes stay for the next day it is just fine, he has to decide if he can live with this attitude, maybe pitch in to bring things to his own standard, but again he should not think that she will become the balabuste he wants just because he is marriying her.
This is not a deal breaker as long as both parties go into the marriage knowing the shortcomings of the other and ready to accepting them.

  • Is he fashion conscious (i.e., his shirts must be a particular brand name, only 100% cotton ...)?
  • Does he dress sloppily or neatly?
Give examples of what you mean (subjective question). How concerned are you with his mode of dress? Does he have to be neat or does he have to look well-dressed? Explain your level of fashion so you can get a proper answer. Is it important to you that his shirt is tucked in? His pants color match the jacked color (common blue pants with black jacket)? Does he look like he slept in his clothes etc. Consider that if for the girl it is important that his pants be pressed and his shirt uncreased, she can make sure of that after they are married. He may not care, but she can make sure that his closed is up to her par. On the other hand, she may want someone who will be concious of his own appearance without her imput.

  • Does he help around the house?
Mamy bochrim have been away from home from early adolescent, which makes it difficult to get an answer but, they do come home bein hazmanim, and they stay by shluchim and so on.
Some bochrim are always ready to lend a helping hand, some are not. Some only do it outside their own home or dorm.

  • Does he get along with his siblings? (subjective question)
Explain what you mean by getting along: some families are a loose unit--everyone is friendly and close, but each is an individual and independent. Some families are a tight unit, very close to one another even though geographically apart. In one case an occasional phone call or visit is considered fine. In the other case it would be considered a distant relationship. If the girl comes from a tightknit family he has to realze that she will keep this close contact even after marriage. It is not a negative or positive trait, it is just a fact. When both sides come from closeknit families and they live in separate cities there are more compromises to be reached as to when to go where, for Yom Tov, for visits etc. It is just an item to be considered, nothing to agonize over.

  • What are his hobbies?
  • What does he do in his spare time?
It may give an insight into other interests the bocher has. Maybe he is a nature lover, or a photographer or an artist, etc.
  • Does he go on mivtzoim?
  • Is he well liked by his friends, neighbors, fellow students, staff, Rabbeim?
  • Does he have a sense of humor? (subjective question)
Is he the resident clown or does he have the right “bon mot” at the appropriate time? Can lighten up a conversation with a well-said joke? Humor is also “in the ear of the beholder”. What is funny for an Englishman might not be for an American. But humor makes life so much easier. It is a great thing to be able to not take oneself too seriously. On the other hand someone who cannot be serious is a challenge.

  • Is he a graceful looser?
We are not talking about games really. It starts with games when the kids are small and continues in school, business and life. Sometimes a student is rewarded when another should have been, or the learning of one is praised more than a second one; or one boy's idea is rejected but accepted when repackaged by a different boy, etc. What is the boy’s reaction in such life situations? How gracefully does he accept life’s “unfair hits”?


Anonymous said...

its loser not looser