Reflections of Light
As I sit here contemplating the sadness of the Fast of the Ninth of Av, the day that both Temples were destroyed, a thought comes up about Presence.
On a daily basis, we may feel G-d’s Presence around us. We see it in the smile of our child, in the miracles that unfold in our day-to-day life, in our hardships, and in our greatest joy. We may feel Divine Intervention when we meet up with someone who happens to have the opportunity we have been waiting for. We may feel G-d’s design when things just click into place so easily. And we may feel that He is not by our side in times of great distress, only to realize later that it is because He was carrying us through it.
And yet, even with feeling His Presence around us, it is a known concept in Judaism that while we are in Galut, exile, G-d’s Presence is only a shadow of what it feels like when He resides in His Temple. What we feel now is minute compared to the way one may feel His Presence when He rests here with us, among us, in His Home.
And that got me thinking about parenting.
Presence is, I believe, one of the most powerful aspects of Positive Parenting.
An infant feels secure, and is thus able to grow and develop at a healthy rate and to his greatest potential with greatest ease, when he feels constantly the presence of his parents. The constancy of touch, communication, quick response, even just hearing the parents talking from the next room, provides a deep level of security for which the infant can then base his further growth and development physically, mentally, and emotionally. As a toddler, this child, being secure in the knowledge that his parents are a constant presence, is more willing to move away from Mom’s side to meet new people and engage in new activities. (This is not just from my experience, there is research to back this up…) He knows that Mom/Dad is always there and has that image, or imprint, in his mind to give him the strength to try new things. As a child in school, that security and constancy provide him with the ability to form new relationships and feel secure in new environments. This is, of course, providing that the parents are maintaining this status of strong presence in their growing child’s life. They may work full time, but they are there for the child when the child needs them. They are there to put their child to bed and help them prepare for life when necessary. They are available to talk about issues that come up, and make it clear that their child is priority one in their lives.
As important as this may seem for the formative years – and I believe that it is crucial – it shows is worth in gold during the teenage years. The more one feels the presence and support of his parents, the more one has habituated himself to talking about issues with his parents, the more one feels in his heart and is secure in the knowledge that his parents love him and want what is best for him and is their number one priority no matter what – that teenager is so much more likely to come to his parents before he does something not right. And he is much more inclined to tell his parents when he has done something wrong. A question about ethics or peer pressure comes up? They will come talk to you about it. They need advice about how to deal with a friend who has confided something that can be harmful to him or your child? They will seek and respect your advice about how to proceed.
BE a strong presence in your child’s life.
I see it this way. G-d is a Being of Light. When His Presence is close by, great reflections of that light come to each of us and we feel G-d on a strong level. When we are in exile, the light has to travel a distance to reach us, so the light is felt, but not as strongly. We are forced to stumble and find our way (more so) on our own than we would if we dwelled among the greatest strength of His light.
Be a strong reflection of light in your child’s soul. Be that constant presence and plumb line. That reflection keeps him grounded in what is right. Discerning good from bad is easier when the reflection of all you have taught him is strong inside him. Be that strength for your child. Be the light to illuminate his path.
Feeling that love and security and support and safety - that helps a child move to his dreams. It gives him a better chance at success, at moving faster toward the realization of his potential. It breeds greatness.
May we all be that light in our child’s soul. And may we merit today the return of the greatest light in all our souls, with the Redemption and rebuilding of G-d’s Home in this world, and the return of the full force of His light shining on all His people. Let us do our part by opening our souls to shine as much light as possible, pulling G-d back to us, filling this world with His light by our actions, kindness, and with our love.
With love and serenity,
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Beit Roga News
- This past week's event was wonderful! I will keep y'all updated on when Coffee with Devorah will be starting regularly, G-d willing, this Fall.