Hudavaoff kinder

--Informant Info--
Nationality: American
Age: 56
Occupation: Retired; Former Attorney
Residence: Baltimore, MD
Date of Performance/Collection: May 2, 2021
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Context: This is a Jewish proverb (spoken in Yiddish). It was said to my father (a fifty-six year old man) growing up, and when he began raising children, he started saying it to us. It is used to treat an otherwise tense situation comedically, a way to blow off steam, and promise their children that one day they will be saying it to their own kids (more as a warning than as actual advice). It is almost always said to the child when they are misbehaving or generally being a nuisance. Children never use the saying, and it is not spoken by people who are not parents or guardians of those children. 

  • Hudavaoff kinder 
    • Transliterated proverb. 
      • Hudavaoff: go raise
      • Kinder: children

Full translation: Go raise children. 

Explanation: When a child is being annoying, disrespectful, or irritating their parents, the parents tell them “go raise children”. Part of the proverb works as an incredulous “Why am I raising these brats?” and the other is “Wait until you have your own children. See how much you like it.” 

Analysis: Hudavaoff kinder works to both let the parents laugh off a situation where their kids are being annoying (this proverb is never spoken in full anger, but rather have annoyance/half incredulity) and lets them tell their children it is time to stop misbehaving before they have to get truly upset with them. On occasions, the parents use the saying to acknowledge that the children are being irritating, but don’t want/need to punish them, and instead use it to laugh along with them. Hudavaoff kinder almost works as a form of delayed revenge; the threat that one day the child is going to become the parent, and they will be the one using the saying on them. As someone who has been on the receiving end of this proverb often, I know it means that I need to dial down whatever I am doing before I get myself in real trouble. However, the threat that one day I will be equally irritated by children of my own has little to no emotional impact.