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CHIZUK-----dealing with a friend at risk

SooooNot Posted - 20 October 2000 0:07

I know someone who has begun to completely go off the Derech. He stopped keeping Kosher as well as Shabbos and he took off his Yarmulka.

He is really really angry about frumkeit- I don't know why and I don't know about what, something to do with his uncle not accepting his family for being less religious then he is. I don't know what to do.

Sometimes when I talk to him I tell how wrong he's being, and sometimes I remember that you're not supposed to be harsh with people on the fringe and I tell him that I'm here for him whenever he needs to talk. Is what I'm doing the right thing?

I feel like it's not going anywhere-he seems to be getting worse and worse. What should I do? It's killing me to see him go lower and lower right before my eyes.

MODERATOR Posted - 20 October 2000 0:21

Despite the recent explosion of people and programs who are involved with such kids, there are still precious few people around who really are successful with them. The best you can do for him at this point is to make sure that he knows that you are always there for him, and that his welfare, spiritual and physical, is a major concern in your life.

You want him to know that if he is in trouble, you can't sleep at night because you worry about him.

The reason you want this kind of relationship is because it is likely that somewhere down the road, perhaps in a month, perhaps in a year, this kid will realize, in a moment of lucidity, more often than not triggered by a very bad and painful experience (such as a bad trip or getting dumped), that perhaps he ought to straighten out his life.

This thought will not last long, and if at the time it arrives he has nobody to talk to about it, it will just go as easily and silently as it came.

But if you were there for him all this time, then he may well pick up the phone and spill out his heart to you about his sorrows.

When that happens, you can then suggest a course of action and offer whatever emotional support you can to help him escape from his woeful lifestyle.

But if you weren't there for him while he DIDN'T want to change, he will not let you in the door when he does want to.

So for now, "lock and load". Be his friend, care about him, walk at his side, so that when he decides to stretch out his hand for help, you will be the closest one to grab it.

One important note: This will not work if the reason you are going to stick by him is because you are hoping to rehabilitate him. He doesn't want to be your project. You must really care about him and his well-being for this to work.

Do not be his friend because you want to help him. Help him because you are his friend.

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