Raffi Bilek, LCSW-C, lives in Baltimore with his three exuberant children and his loving but tired wife. He is the director of the Baltimore Therapy Center, where he enjoys working with couples, parents, families and children.
Parents are the original jack of all trades. The range of roles we are called upon to play in a single day is, if you think about it, quite staggering. It is really quite staggering even if you…don’t think about it, and if you are yourself a parent, it is likely you don’t have the time to do so anyway. The different hats we wear as parents are above and beyond the roles that adults already play in general, such as parent, spouse, employee, manager, sibling, child, friend, dog walker, barista, dish… >> Read More
This week I attended my 6-year-old daughter’s end-of-the-year kindergarten presentation. Her class was up on stage for maybe 12 minutes. They sang some very elementary songs (no pun intended) and…each child had about a two-line speaking part. “Hamilton,” it was not. It was not even a satisfying display of the skills and knowledge I am paying through the nose for my daughter to learn there. Nonetheless, I feel I got a great deal of value in her having put on this presentation, and in… >> Read More
On a recent Sunday, I took my 5.5-year-old daughter to the local park to engage in the celebrated rite of passage of learning to ride a two-wheeler. I had mixed feelings about it, because I knew it…had to be done, but I also was afraid of having to run alongside her. I don’t usually run. I’m a therapist: My job involves a lot of sitting, and that’s the way I like it. But run I did, for hours, or possibly days, I think. The last time I ran so much, “I… >> Read More
I’m a social worker. I’ve done a lot of work in child sexual abuse prevention. I have children of my own, whom I educate using the same prevention principles that I teach others. And I am opposed…to the current system of sex offender registries. Have you ever looked up the registered sex offenders in your neighborhood? It’s pretty simple. Go ahead and Google it—you can see a map of folks right around your house. (Warning: This might freak you out.) Ostensibly, the purpose of such registries is to increase your safety… >> Read More
The recent wave of break-ins and car thefts in Baltimore’s Jewish neighborhoods has naturally got many of us feeling a little bit on edge. In response, I researched various anti-theft measures and…took a number of steps to protect my property. This was a matter of surprise to one of my colleagues. We were talking about the state of municipal affairs when he jokingly suggested, “But hey, you’re Orthodox, so you have nothing to worry about, right? God saves!” And he seemed genuinely bemused when I mentioned… >> Read More
Well, that was unusual.
If you live anywhere on the East coast (or watch the news), you know that much of the area experienced a record-breaking blizzard last weekend. Here in the Baltimore area,…we received nearly 30 inches of snow in 24 hours. Crazy, right? (Well—at least for Baltimore.) Of course, after the wonderment comes the inconvenience. While it was fun watching the snow fall and the winds blow from inside our comfy home, the next day was much less fun, notwithstanding the rather enjoyable sunny and mild… >> Read More
Today, due to some unusual circumstances, I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon and evening alone with my middle daughter, a sprightly and delicious 4-year-old. You know, when your kid is 4,…it’s really not so hard to make them happy. I took her for ice cream (she got vanilla with the sprinkles already mixed in), we went shopping at the produce market, and then we went home and colored drawings of cats together (she said mine was veeery pretty). We rounded off the day with a… >> Read More
While I was waiting in the carpool line this morning to drop my 7-year-old daughter off at ballet, we were enjoying the breeze coming in through the open windows and listening to our favorite rap CD…(yes, really). When the ballet assistant came to get my little ballerina, she wrinkled her nose, had a quick little internal debate with herself about whether to say something, and then remarked with a sour sort of look, “I’m not sure I think you should be listening to that kind of music with little children… >> Read More
Here’s how it happened.
When my oldest daughter was 4 years old, my wife and I noticed that she was, to euphemize a little bit, a “strong leader.” That is to say, she was bossy. She was…telling her friends what to do and when to do it. She made up the games, she decided who played what role, and she made the rules. As her progenitor, it was rather uncomfortable to watch. To solve the problem, I sat down with her and lectured her at length about the virtues of humility… >> Read More
I have three children under 6 years old.
I am exhausted.
My rabbi is known to say that “life is not for wimps.” As a student in yeshiva (Jewish seminary school), I thought I understood his…point. Now I really understand his point. Just surviving the daily and weekly routine is hard work. My day starts long before the sun’s does and includes an hour of Torah learning, an hour and a half of praying, eight hours at work, and three hours in the car commuting (yes, it’s lousy). Then, of… >> Read More