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Posts Tagged ‘change’

According to Rabbi Yissochar Frand in one of his annual tshuvah drashas, there are 2 central axioms on which the Jewish concept of tshuvah (repentance)  rests.     The first premise is that all human beings have the ability to change.  No matter how far we may have strayed from the path, Hashem tells us that we can change.  We can grow. We can repair.  We can return.  We can find closeness with G-d.   We can reach inside and find the strength to fulfill our fullest potentials.

As parents, this is our template for helping our children to grow.   Their young lives are all about change.   When a child does not live up to an expectation, our job is to hold their highest potential in our hearts and minds. We do not label them or lock them into patterns that do not represent their best selves. Instead, when they breach a limit, we strive to re-establish trust as soon as possible.   We give them every opportunity to change and grow.    We believe in them so much that, one day, they will learn to believe in themselves.

Rabbi Frand continues by explaining that the second key element of tshuvah is the idea that human beings are resilient.  We struggle with life’s challenges and sometimes we fail to meet them.  But, as long as we manage to get back up again, we are still in the game.   Here our children have much to teach us.   Little toddlers fall once, fall twice, fall three times.  But they always get up again.  This quality of resilience shows us that human beings are born resilient.       We should take a lesson. We must learn to never give up  on ourselves even when we have lost our way, and even if we feel regretful, disappointed or heartbroken. We can set our sights on our goals again and keep striving to attain them, regardless of the external or the internal obstacles.  Our job is to keep showing up for life, for as long as we live.

As we enter the Aseres Y’Mei Tshuvah (10 days of repentance),  may we always remember to  keep our children’s infinite potential in mind even when they experiment with new behaviors.  And, may we acknowledge our children’s lesson of dogged persistence, and pull  ourselves together again after every setback.  We are all here to help each other to grow.

On behalf of myself and my family, I send you and all of Am Yisrael my sincerest good wishes for a healthy, happy, productive and safe New Year.

©2009 Debbie Katz , JPARENT, LLC All rights reserved.
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Question: I’m quite worried about my 4 year old daughter, Suri. Lately, she has not been sleeping well at night and is very clingy. There have been several changes in our lives recently. We have a new baby and she recently started in a new school after we moved to a bigger house. Is there anything I can do to help her?—Rivka, Wilmington, DE

Transitions of all kinds, even positive transitions, can be stressful for people of all ages, and especially for young children. Happily, most children are very resilient. Nonetheless, when our children are hurting, we hurt as well. Having a plan can be very reassuring to parents as well as children.

We want to help your daughter to feel secure and relaxed at home so that she will be able focus her energies on meeting her new challenges at school with a more confident mindset.
With the new baby, your family routines may have changed a bit. The addition of each new family member shifts the family dynamic. It is important to maintain, to the extent possible, your customary morning, mealtime and bedtime rituals so Suri will be reassured that her old life is not gone.

Spend as much one-on-one time with her as you can. While together, give your daughter a chance to express herself in her own unique way. Depending on the age and personality of a child, she may choose very different activities. For example, she may want to draw, play board games, dictate a story, or run off some nervous energy around the house with you. Encourage her expressiveness by describing your impressions, without judgment. “I see you have drawn a large school with a lot of children in it.” Surround her with her favorite things, especially soft, textured objects like blankets and other loveys. Your touch is very reassuring , so hold her when you sit or read together. She may even enjoy a shoulder massage at night. If you feel comfortable, you can help her compose a prayer to Hashem that expresses, in Suri’s own words, her wishes and concerns.

The more your child believes you care, the easier it will be for her to adjust to her new circumstances. Be watchful. Be patient. Be present. Allow your child to move at her own pace. All she needs is to know you are there, providing the constancy, understanding and encouragement she needs to meet her challenges.
©2009 Debbie Katz , JPARENT, LLC All rights reserved.
___________________________________________________________________________________
Want to ask a question? Click on the Ask Debbie page at the top of the blog to submit your questions!

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