Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ethical Will

The fourth grade at our shul has been working on Ethical Wills. The idea of an Ethical Will is that, when one shuffles off this mortal coil, one should be leaving behind more than just stuff.

You should leave your progeny some sense of what you think is important and what you hope for them.

Monkeyboy's religious school teacher, Dr. W., already got one glowing review here. This is another. RFB and I are blessed that she and his spectacular Hebrew teacher, Mrs. T., have had him under their wings this year.

The final homework assignment had me listing some things for him and then him listing things for his someday-children.

It's sorta like a cross-generational meme:

My Answers:

Three Things I Believe:
It's better to be nice than to be mean.
You've got to work to repair the world.
A sense of humor makes life better.

Three Things I've Done
Performed at the Kennedy Center.
Been arrested protesting at an embassy.
Worked six years as a Legal Aid lawyer.

Three Things I've Learned
Mom's usually right.
Making friends is very important.
Telling the truth rarely makes things worse.

What My Dream Is For You
Happy Life.
Fulfilling relationships.
Varied experiences.

After reading mine, here's what Monkeyboy wrote:

Three Things I Believe
Make the best of your life.
Don't argue to much.
Humor's beter than nothing.

Three Things I've Done
Performed in front of thousands.
Eaten lots of chocolate.

Three Things I've Learned
You can be right and wrong.
Be a good friend.
You can have very bad days even if you do nothing bad.

What My Dream Is For You
Be a nice neibor.
Eat lots of chocolate.
Good life.

What great teachers.

What a great kid.


Moonbeam said...

I think this is so nice. Thanks for sharing. My homework assignment for myself is to do an Ethical Will to leave for my kids and grandkidlets.

Oh thing for sure, Chocolate and humor do soothe your soul in so many ways.

This reminds me of a standup bit George Carlin used to do about "stuff". How people have too much "stuff", it was hilarious. This Ethical Will is a nice way to forget the "stuff" and leave parts of ourselves and how we think and feel.

Val said...

Very sweet.

Mrs. Hairy Woman said...

That's a great list from both of you.. You've got yourself a great kid.. That is something everyone can do whether they are Jewish or not...

Mrs. Hairy Woman said...

Do you mind if I borrow the questions for my blog?

Ezer K'negdo said...


ANON1 said...

Maybe I should do one of these. Smart kid that MIDC!

laughing said...

There's only two things in the Three Things I've Done part. Is that a mistake, or could he not think of a third thing?

Remind him that he's taking care of a hamster. Taking proper care of a pet should count for a lot, especially if you're a kid.

David in DC said...

Moonbeam: I'm happy to share. Your kids and theirs should definitely get your take on these issues.

I quite agree about humor and chocolate, too.

I remember that Carlin bit. I loved it.

Val: Thanks.

Baby Bull: The Ethical Will site I linked to offers John Ch. 15-18 as an example of reference to ethical wills in the Gospels. It lists all sorts of organizations putting on workshops on the topic, including a church.

Of course you can use the questions on your blog. I'd be pleased.

EK: Yup, I'm k'velling.

A1: I highly recommend the exercise. I've done it at a few different points in my life, and it's a great personal values clarification device.

The site I linked to offers more adult resources on the topic than the four questions Dr. W. culled out for fourth graders.

Laughing: I'd like to think he was making a conscious statement that chocolate counts for two. But I suspect it was just 9-year-old carelessness.

I agree with you about caring for an animal. He probably would too, if you brought it up to him. He just didn't think of it at the time.

Tara said...

Humor is better than nothing! Very true!
And mom is usually right. :)

Very good answers from both of you!

Churlita said...

Your son is awesome. How thoughtful of him.

Chocolate + humor = two great tastes in one candy bar.

Rachel said...

This is a great idea. What a way for people to remember the important things.

laura b. said...

Aw! Now there is one kid (and one dad) with his head on straight!