Yomim Noraim, Chuppah, parenting, gratitude, perspective, equal opportunity parenting
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KJ Hannah Greenberg

"Channie"

Although big children are required, upon reaching their twentieth birthdays, to turn over their copies of Advanced Methods for Adolescent Insanity to their younger siblings, my "adventures in good parenting" continues with them all the same

September 2012 Posts

Archives

Life With Teens & Twenties
Blog Entry

More Passages: Weddings and New Years

Sunday, September 16th 2012 @ 6:09 AM    post viewed 1336 times

Whereas I have not yet morphed into a little Jewish grandmother, who is: capable of using her elbows in the shuk, adept at calmly daven Tehillim amidst throwing-taffy children, and skilled in harrumphing unfair prices quoted by cabbies, I am evolving, nonetheless. One is never too old or otherwise too far gone to be nudged to new levels of challenge. My children’s growth attests to the contrary. 

According to the mavens populating my household, learning new aptitudes is tough. Falling impacts more than the soft parts onto which we land. Those most delicate moments, especially when generated by our kids, need to be answered with care.  Responses that might bring about major upheaval in our sons and daughters’ sense of equanimity remain undesirable.

For example, if my stressed out kallah dumps on me because, to her, Mommy still feels like the safest person in the universe, I must not snap in answer. Rather, I need to reinforce my boundaries and remind her of all of the good communication skills of which she is possessed.

Similarly, if her younger sister tantrums, I do well to recall that teenagers lack the social toolboxes that are taken for granted by adults and that my little one’s having to suddenly separate from the only other female child in our home is a tough transition. That is, compassion, not stringency, is the reply I ought to offer.

Furthermore, when my younger sons shrugs and retreats to his room, having mouthed that “at least” his big sister is getting hitched, in that case, too, I am well advised to react by paying close attention to my parental responsibilities; my son and I are both well served if, rather than, in frustration, figuratively throwing my hands heavenward, or, feeling pushed against a wall, literally get grumpy in his direction, I invite my child to articulate all of his feelings and I persuade him or work with him to discover the happiness that is part of our new situation.

Perhaps my younger son can immediately accept my offer. Perhaps not; the next hour or the next day, likewise, are good times for him to realize the positive in a confusing circumstance. Transitions might be tough on grownups, but they are that much more difficult for adolescents.

What’s more, during this time, when the forthcoming simcha is spinning our familial energies, as the mom, I need to help my kids contextualize these changes. Marriage is a big deal. Additionally true is that, at the same time, other vital movements have not stopped taking place. The kallah’s siblings’ conversions might not “sound” as loud as does her metamorphosis, but they are of equal importance. My husband and I, no matter how preoccupied we become with the approaching chatunah, carry on being our other offsprings’ parents.

For instance, another important transformation on the horizon is our older son’s entrance into the IDF. Although that event is scheduled for around Purim, it already feels big. That occasion ought to feel big; it is significant. Our older boy will be the first member of our family to experience army. He deserves (as does his bride sister and as do his younger siblings) 100% of his mom and dad’s attention.

In addition, that son is to be entering the service during a time when political hot potatoes are getting tossed around the Middle East. While he trusts in Hashem, his histadlut included his knowing what is being asked of him. A lot is being asked of him. Per his major test of emunah, my mantra to him, to myself, and to the rest of our family is that The Boss never sleeps and that The Boss protects and favors Am Yisrael. May Hashem protect all of the soldiers in the IDF!

Then there’s the New Year. On the one hand, we’re supposed to be in the business of making teshuva on a daily basis. On the other hand, the Yomim Noraim help us focus on our self-development. Without distractions like work, school, and other worldly matters, the High Holidays gift us with an exceptional opportunity to look at and to improve our connection to Hashem.

Correspondingly, these days endow us with an exceptional opportunity to look at and to improve our connection to other people.  We are awarded a heightened awareness not only of mitzvot bein adom l’Makom, but also of mitzvot adom l’chaveiro.

To wit, “being there” for one of our children is insufficient; we need to fully parent all of our children. Consider that no matter the pain or elation any one of us feels, HaKodesh Baruchu continues to be available to each and every one of the rest of us. Death, unemployment, infertility and other horrendous hurdles does not make less the suffering of members of the klal faced with illness, underemployment or secondary infertility. We need not have the most extreme seeming challenge in our to feel Tatty in Shamayim’s consideration. 

We Jews are supposed to emulate the Aibishter. We’re supposed to encourage all of our kids to seek access us no matter how important the issues in their lives are relative to the importance of the issues in the lives of their siblings. My kallah has a home and future to think about. My yeshiva bucher has army enrollment. My two younger children’s current growth opportunities, though, are no less important, just different.

Moreover, just as Hashem takes pleasure from our goings on, we need to remember to take pleasure from the goings on of our children. We can glean overt and hidden beneficence from their thoughts, words and deeds if only we make the effort to uncover and, more so, to cherish all of the varied aspects of their souls. Surely, after 120 years, we don’t want to have to explain, to The Boss, why we failed to garner all of the riches available to us through those lovely conduits for joy, to which we gave birth.

It’s the time of the year when we beseech Hashem to inscribe and seal us for all manners of good living. May you and your loved ones be inscribed and sealed for all manners of good living!

As well, may you and your loved ones reap all manners of nachot from all of your children! May you be able to see and to enjoy all of their dimensions! Shana Tova.

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