Tales of a Seasoned Broker

Many of my contemporaries have been sharing bedrooms with one person or another for most of their lives. Growing up in Boro Park, before it was common practice for homes to be knocked down and rebuilt to twice their size, most of my friends and I shared bedrooms with a sibling and in some cases, even with a grandparent. It’s not that we loved living with a brother or sister, it’s that the phenomenon of a child living in a private bedroom was something we never heard of, it just wasn’t something available to us. Even our parents shared a bedroom with each other. 

It’s only when families left the cities and moved to the suburbs, where space, grass and spare bedrooms were available, did the notion of “one bedroom per child” enter our reality as something to strive for.  Even after my husband and I moved out of the Teaneck apartments into our first 3 bedroom home on Edgewood Ave my boys shared a room for many years. It was certainly not without complications and with the temperature increasingly rising between the two of them it was decided, through negotiations with my mother in law, to make a wall of furniture down the middle to separate and create more of their “own” space. This did not make the situation any better as the barrier only made incursions to the other side even more fun and enticing. 

It was shortly after, as I’m sure I was lamenting to friends and anyone willing to listen to my bedroom woes, when the great Chasidesh Rebbe’s wisdom was imparted to me. The “Mashal” goes as follows: A poor farmer comes to his Rebbe and pours out his frustration to his wise leader. “We have no space in our house, the kids are sleeping wall to wall and every day my wife complains more and more to me that we need a bigger home but we have no money for a bigger home. What should I do?” The Rebbe calmly tells the farmer that he has just the answer. “Move the chickens from their coup inside your home.” The farmer isn’t sure at first but he knows of the Rebbe’s wisdom. A few days later he comes back to the Rebbe and humbly bows his head and says that the home is even more crowded and his wife is even more upset. Perhaps he didn’t follow the Rebbe’s advice carefully enough. The Rebbe says that he did exactly what he was supposed to and now he has to do one more thing.  He needs to move the goats, cows and horses too into the home and all his problems will be solved. Incredulously, the simple farmer goes home and follows his Rebbe’s words.  Sure enough he finds himself back at his Rebbe even more embarrassed than before and describes to the Rebbe a home in utter chaos, so filled with things the home is ready to burst and now it’s not only his wife but even he who cannot live like this anymore. “Ok”  the Rebbe says “Now you and your family are ready to fully appreciate what you have. Go home and remove the chickens, the goats, the cows and the horses from your home and once all the animals are out it will feel like you and your family are living in a new home.”

I wasn’t ready to move farm animals into my home but I was ready to teach my children lessons in sharing and what better way for a child to learn how to live with another person than to send them off to sleepaway camp where they can share a room and bathroom with 15 other kids! The smiles on my boys’ faces upon coming home, even to their shared room, was a delight to see. The fighting subsided and it was clear that a lesson in sharing was learned. 

But now a new problem arose. I had gotten used to the peace and quiet of a home with no kids in it!

Nechama Polak is the Broker of Record and Owner of  V&N Group LLC located at 1401 Palisade Avenue in Teaneck, New Jersey. Send your thoughts and comments to nechamapolak@gmail.com or call 201 826 8809