If you could make one character from any work of fiction come to life, what character would you select?
If you could trade places with anyone for one week, who would you want to trade with and why?
If you had to do your life over, what one thing would you do differently? Explain.
Parents often bless their children in ways beyond their understanding. What obligation do we have to share the meaning behind our actions and words?
When Rabban Gamaliel gave his daughter in marriage, she asked for his blessing. He said: “May I not see your return.” When her son was born, she asked again for her father’s blessing, and he said: “May it be God’s will that the words: ‘Woe is me’ cease not out of your mouth.”
“Why is it, my father,” asked the daughter, “that you curse me on my two days of rejoicing?”
“These are indeed blessings and not curses,” responded Rabban Gamaliel. “If peace shall abide in your family life, you will not return to my home to live. And if yoru son is strong and hearty, you will continually remark: ‘Woe is me; the child ate too little; he drank not his milk; he is late for school.'”
(Bereshit Rabbah, 26)
- Parenting – Select Quotes
- What does a healthy, wholesome relationship with kids look like?
- I Wish I Was A Better Father
- Traveling With Children
This evening my wife shared with me the story of a mother who lost her child in the tsunami brought about by the earthquake near Samoa. The mother had gone to pick up her 8-year-old daughter from school following the earthquake. As they returned home they were caught in the tidal wave. Despite the mother’s best effort to hold on to her daughter, she slipped from her grasp and was swept away as she cried out in panic for her mother to help her. They found the body of the little girl several hours later still wearing her school backpack.
My heart breaks and tears come as I think about the pain of losing a child. My impulse is to fall in line with Theoden from The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers when he says after losing his son, “No parent should have to bury their child.”
Nevertheless, they do. So perhaps a better way to think of it comes to us from the account of Rabbi Meir and his wife;
While Rabbi Meir was holding his weekly discourse on Sabbath afternoon, his two beloved sons died suddenly at home. Their mother covered them with a sheet, and forbore to mourn on the sacred day. When Rabbi Meir returned after the evening Services, he asked for his sons, whom he had not seen in the synagogue. She asked him to recite the Habdalah and gave him his evening meal. Then she said: “I have a question to ask thee. A friend once gave me jewels to keep for him; now he wishes them again. Shall I return them?”
“Beyond doubt thou must,” said Rabbi Meir.
His wife took him by the hand, led him to the bed and drew back the sheet. Rabbi Meir burst into bitter weeping, and his wife said: “They were entrusted to us for a time; now their Master has taken back His very own.”
(Midrash Mishle, 28)
If you could give some advice to all parents, what would you say?
If you were a gifted painter, what picture would you want to paint first?
If you were forced to give up one of your five senses, which one would you choose? Why?
Where were you on September 11, 2001 when you found out about the terrorists attacks on the United States?
If you could change the past, what one thing would you change?