Middas Sdom & The Only Child
Even though I am married, have three children, and it has been almost 17 years since I left my parents home, I am still an only child at heart. My wife has told me that I do not exhibit the classic signs of only child syndrome, yet I know that I am still a 34 year-old only child.
My "only childness" is most apparent in my innate preference not to have guests in my home. Yes, yes, I know all about the importance of hachnosas orchim and have even probably posted quotes here on my blog before as a way to give myself chizuk in this area, nevertheless, my selfish inner only child remains uncomfortable in this area.
As an only child I tend to divide the world into two categories: mine and not mine. I am uncomfortable when someone else touches something that I label as "mine" without first asking permission.
I tend to approach hachnosas orchim with dread because guests sometimes do not know how to be guests. While I certainly make every effort to make a person feel welcome and comfortable when they are in my home, I still want them to behave with a bit of trepidation and not be overly familiar. Quite simply, I want them to be the type of respectful guest that I would be in their home.
By now, you are most certainly thinking to yourself, "I hope I am never invited over to A Simple Jew's house. He sounds like a real head case". Rest assured though, that what I have written is what I keep internally and I would certainly welcome you warmly.
While as an only child I might be more inclined to be a taker, my wife is a giver and it would physically pain her not to do something kind for another person. I have been blessed with a wife who is pure chessed and cannot help but be positively influenced by her.
Through her, I learn how to break this negative trait and redefine what I consider "mine".