As parents we are constantly faced with challenging parenting moments. Sometimes they are the more basic frustrations like waking up to a crying child who needs a new diaper or a bottle, and sometimes they are the more annoying moments when you need to resolve silly sibling disputes, or the inevitable my-teacher-is-picking-on-me scenarios.
All of these test our mettle as a parent, and in moments of strength and resolve (usually that coincides with a good night’s rest) we show up with our best self and do our duty with aplomb.
Then there are those seriously difficult moments when you – if you are honest – ask yourself? What was I thinking? Was this (child) a mistake? Is it worth it? What resources can I draw upon to have a better approach to my parenting dilemma (being kind) or crisis (being honest)?
There is a story told of a father who confided in the Lubavitcher Rebbe that he has a temper and on occasion he hits his children. The Rebbe responded, something to the effect of, “if they were your neighbors children would still hit them?” To which the father of course replied that he would not.
The Rebbe then went on to explain that in fact, each of our children is also God’s child and as such ought to be viewed as not – exclusively – your own and just as you’d never hit your neighbors kid, don’t hit your own.
This is a great lesson though we are not always in the learning mind frame to truly incorporate this approach to our own child rearing.
We often have more patience for the neighbor’s kid than our own. I know, at times, that is me. As a Chabad Rabbi, the craziests looniest folks will often walk through my doors of the Chabad, and for them I have a hug, an offer of a cup of coffee and a kind word. If if my child came in looking/acting that same way, I’d have far less patience for that kind of behavior?
Perhaps an even deeper appreciation of the Rebbe’s word above about God being a partner and therefore parent to my child might help me get into the right mind frame.
The Torah in multiple locations has God referring to the Jewish people – the regular folks like me and you, not just Moses – as His Children. (Exodus 4:22) And you shall say to Pharaoh, “so said God, My firstborn son is Israel.” (Deuteronomy 14:1) “You are the children of the Lord your God.” and many other examples.
So clearly, we need to be viewing our children as God’s children, not God’s grandchildren. In fact, the Talmud (Kiddushin 30b) states clearly that there 3 partners in creation, mother, father and God. Each contributes components. The parents give the physical “whites and reds” meaning the bones, the blood, the genetics, and God gives the soul. The energizing force to the physical contributions of the mother and father.
This is a very deep idea but critical in solving the parenting crisis that arises. If we realize that our child is annoying us on the mild side or killing us on the severe side, either way our reaction has to be that of a person viewing their neighbors child. Or more accurately, a child that is not only my own.
However, it gets even better. Since this child actually also belongs to God, then everything he is going through that is creating problems for you is actually by design. It is a direct result of his 3rd parent, God.
Furthermore, since it is coming from parent number 3, and parent number 3 is omnipotent and omniscient we know that we are up to the task.
Finally, since this child is a son/daughter of God, certainly God will provide him/her and me/you the parents the resources both mental and material to withstand whatever this child may throw at you (literally at times).
While this 3-way-marriage is always true, when we truly become aware of it, and take it into our essence, then it is worthy of an anniversary celebration.
The bonus is, learn into your spouse, God, He’s got it.
הַשְׁלֵ֚ךְ עַל־יְהֹוָ֨ה | יְהָֽבְךָ֘ וְה֪וּא יְכַ֫לְכְּלֶ֥ךָ לֹֽא־יִתֵּ֖ן לְעוֹלָ֥ם מ֗וֹט לַצַּדִּֽיק:
Throw your burden on the Lord, and He will bear you.
RECOVERY – Part 3