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Lost and Found

When we know who we are and live that truth, when we find G-d and acknowledge His daily Presence in our lives, we have a solid foundation for raising our children...


Educating Children:  A Lesson in Identity


Too often we find ourselves relying on distractions to keep us happy; the same diversions we use to distract our children from feeling sad or upset.


Why do we do this?  The basic reason is that we don’t see the bigger picture. We prefer the temporary pleasures rather than getting involved with our true purpose, so we refrain from digging deep. When we feel lost, fragmented, and confused, we drown out these feelings by over-emphasizing short-lived pleasures of the body like food, passive entertainment such as television and movies, video games, shopping, sports, and working overtime at our jobs.


Living on auto-pilot can lead to all sorts of problematic behaviors, including addictions and thrill-seeking. Facing reality can be tough. However, there are ramifications when we believe the fallacious philosophy that ignorance is bliss, because when G-d’s plan is complete, those who live in oblivion will feel tremendous regret, and that is a very painful place to be. When we become excessively permissive with ourselves, we tend to raise our children in the same manner because we know of no other way. We fear upsetting them and adversely affecting their self-esteem. We come to their defense in every possible situation. We coddle them, but we often ignore the important messages they are sending us:  Our children are telling us that they need our full attention, a foundation to ground them, a spiritual connection, and less material stuff.


When we are perplexed, so are they. This emphasis on self-esteem has led many to loosen the reins to the extent that children feel and act entitled instead of confident. So many adults act exactly the same. The modern lifestyle teaches “freedom without boundaries”, where each person’s sense of entitlement seems to take precedence over the feelings, opinions, and rights of others. The over-emphasis on freedom without boundaries has failed to set us free. On the contrary, it has put us in shackles, as we have become prisoners to our lusts and desires. Thus, we over-eat, over-work, spend too much money on things, and over-indulge in pastimes and hobbies. As time flies by, we find we have no particular direction. Our lives are fractured and lack meaning.  We know not who we are, and we’re not trying to find ourselves because we’re not sure where to start. If this sounds typical, it’s time to take responsibility for discovering ourselves through Judaism. The world was created to spread the light of our Torah.


We are not small and insignificant, so we must stop trying to fill the void from the outside with things like competition, money, recognition, honor, and material amenities. We need to shift. How do we do this? We shift our attention to contribution by focusing on the part we all play in the bigger picture of life - in G-d’s plan for us as the Jewish People, the guarantors of the Torah way of living. A plan that must come, in one way or another, to fruition, for it is the Plan of the Almighty. Our strength is spiritual, and we garner our empowerment from our connection to each other and to G-d. We must discover our core essence and live and teach Torah values and truths to the next generation. We must become givers and play a role in bringing G-d back to the Holy Temple so He can watch over His people once again. When we connect to each other, we bring light to the world. It is critical to our children’s sense of self that we teach them to speak about and thank Hashem. We need to place a priority on learning with them. This, in itself, will help promote Jewish continuity.


When we know who we are and live that truth, when we find G-d and acknowledge His daily Presence in our lives, we have a foundation for raising our children. G-d is facilitating this sense of connection, of belonging, by way of the advancements in technology. We need only seize the opportunity and use it for a Divine purpose rather than for a distraction. When we feel dispersed, alone, and unclear, the antidote is to join with others to learn what the Torah expects of us. We unite in that soul purpose, and we open up doors for our children by creating a legacy----a raison d’etre, a reason for being.  Then the fragments of our lives come together to propel us in the direction we need to go. 


Life is changing from a linear perspective, where we follow a hierarchy of leaders, to a circular formation, whereby we turn to G-d in the center, as He is our Master Teacher. We are all being prodded to join hands and contribute to the masterpiece we are creating. We begin to form a beautiful tapestry as we answer the call to talk to G-d in personal prayer. We realize that G-d desires that we unite with Him and each other, in joy and in sadness. Then with every act of Jewish unity, of kindness to those who are different from us, we contribute to a better future for our children.  We work on ourselves and spread the light we ignite within to others. We are able, then, to raise children that understand the world that we as parents embrace - not the world out there, but a life based upon Torah values, which is opposed to what the modern world is currently exhibiting.


We discover that life is not about things. “No-thing” can compare to the beauty of true relationships of love, understanding, commitment to G-d’s Plan, and unity. We are souls having a physical experience that is geared toward our ascent. When we respect our G-d-given mission and our ability to carry it through, righteous representatives of the seventy nations of the world will join us in support, and anti-Semitism will diminish commensurate with our growth as a nation. We must no longer expend our energy blaming the increase in hatred toward us on our antagonists because blaming others, even our enemies, will not empower us. When we take responsibility and love each other as we love ourselves, the strength of this unconditional love will dispel the darkness of hate. Hashem will help facilitate the process energetically because He will be proud of the achdut (unity) of His children. Then we will feel supported as we guide our own children in a world headed toward peace and completion.


It’s time to take responsibility. Do it for the children. They are our future, and they feel unsteady when the foundation is weak. This is what G-d wants. The time is ripe for change. Believe in yourself because G-d believes in all of us.  He wants all His children to return to Him.  He, too, wants to come home. We must cry out to Him. We need to show Hashem how much we need Him. Our children need us to strengthen our own connection to G-d, Who is beckoning us to grow and identify with our souls. May we, the Jewish People, merit to spiritually strengthen ourselves and bask in the glory of Hashem’s love.  He is awaiting our return.

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  1 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  Well done!
perel9/25/2016 10:56:52 AM

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