I want to begin by clarifying a few things. Firstly, HASHEM LOVES YOU! He really, really loves you, and all He wants is to be close with you! Secondly, we are not in the “Results Department” in this world. We are in the “Desire Department”. As a matter of fact, we are 100% in charge of the entire “Desire Department”, whereas Hashem is 100% in charge of the entire “Results Department”. This clarifies what free will really is. I can use my free will to desire to improve my character, but only Hashem can actually come through and give me the desired results. That is all we are- our desires.
This is really good news and takes all of the pressure off of us to “play G-d”, as it were. As well, Hashem only holds us accountable for our “desire” (Please listen to “Most of All Desire” CD). Isn’t that fabulous?! All ya gotta do is want it! That is the first step. Step two is to ask Hashem for it. This is where personal prayer comes in. Rav Arush explains that our prayers create vessels for Hashem to fill!
So, if all we are accountable for is our desires, then lets get busy! What do you really want? Who do you really want to be? Do you really want to be close to Hashem? How do you want your marriage to be? How do you want your children to be raised? Do you really want to break the cycle of negativity and criticism that you were raised with? All ya gotta do is want it!!! Lets begin:
“Hashem, I know you love me, and all I want is to be close with you! I want to be a kind and patient mother and wife. I want to only focus on the positive in my family members, and in everyone I meet. Hashem I desire this so very much. Please, please help me. Please strengthen these qualities in me, for Your sake, and for my sake, and for the sake of my family, and really for the sake of Creation. Each person that you help improve, makes the world a better place. Thank you so much, Hashem, for being with me, and listening to my words of prayer, and for strengthening my desire to be close with you. I love you Hashem. I believe in myself, and I trust you!!”
I know that the teachings in The Garden of Education will help you so much in becoming the parent you want to be. Rav Arush’s message is that our children are our mirrors from Hashem. Parenting means changing the parent. Everything boils down to personal prayer! How else can I change the parent that I am? I must work on myself through personal prayer, wanting to improve. Hashem will do the rest.
So, lets do an inventory. Lets look at one major area that we want help improving. What is your number one priority? Is it your family or is it your friends? Is it Facebook or is it the news? Is your number one priority a clean house, or running off to the gym? Please be honest with yourself so that you can ask Hashem to strengthen you, because if your family is not your number one priority, then you will never focus on improving your role as a parent/wife. Is being short-tempered the main concern for you? Do you get overwhelmed and lose your cool? Think about it, and just pick one thing to focus on:
“Hashem, I am so grateful for all of the teachings that Rabbi Arush has brought into my life. I only get one chance to raise my children, and I learned that I must improve myself in order to be a good parent. Hashem, help me be clear on the main area that I should start focusing on in my personal prayer. I am very unhappy with myself when I speak critically to my children (Hashem really does send ideas to you when you ask Him to). This is an important area to begin, don’t you think? I want to see only the good in my children. This will build them up into confident and loving adults. Please help me strengthen my desire to make only positive and loving comments to them, instead of letting off steam, and projecting my own negative fears on them. I want to break the cycle of negative speech in my home. Please help me, Hashem! Please, please, strengthen my desire to do your will and parent with emuna, patience, and love, please Hashem, please!”
This is the kind of conversation that you can have with Hashem. Sometimes, when Hashem lets you fall, and maybe you raise your voice, or speak critically, your repentance can sound something like this:
“Hashem, I am so sorry that my desire to do your will was not strong enough. Please forgive me for hurting the beautiful sweet children that you entrusted me with. I am frustrated with myself because my desires were focused on getting the dishes washed more so than being patient and loving. Forgive me, Hashem? I want to do better and I want you to strengthen my desire. I want to raise healthy and loving children, Hashem, for Your sake. I want you to be pleased with me as a mother. Please strengthen me, and help me to know that the dishes don’t care if they are dirty, but my little children have lots of feelings! Help me internalize all of the teachings in Rav Arush’s parenting book. Help me, please! I do not want to do any more damage, and I do not want to disappoint you! Thank you Hashem, for bringing me closer to you by letting me fall, and showing me where I need to improve. You are really there for me, and you really love me!”
You just have to want it, and then ask Hashem for it! With Hashem’s help, we will break the negative cycle of parenting we were raised with and bring confident and spiritually healthy children into the world!