A while back my daughter told me she wasn’t sure if she believed in G-d and asked me what I thought.
I told her I didn’t have a problem with that and explained that our views evolve and change over time and gave her a few examples of how mine have.
She nodded her head and we talked for a bit longer and then I watched her eyelids flutter and she fell asleep.
And then I thought about a couple of things she said.
A few years ago we all flew to New Jersey for my oldest nephew’s Bar Mitzvah. It sticks out in my mind for a host of reasons, not the least of which is the memory my daughter shared with me.
We arrived in town a few days before the Bar Mitzvah and the entire family went to see my nephew’s basketball game.
In between quarters all of the kids in the stands would run down from the stands and onto the court. That isn’t unusual or noteworthy there, it was a regular occurrence.
What was irregular was the woman who yelled at my kids and their cousins. She called them a pack of wolves and said they were ill-behaved.
That lead to the moment my daughter remembers.
The one where she watched my little sister, myself and her mother confront this other woman.
What Is Important
I told her that what was important to remember about it isn’t that we are not afraid of confrontation but that we pick and choose when to fight and when not to.
My sister knew the woman who yelled at the kids. This lady didn’t know my kids but she knew my sisters and she didn’t say anything to my sister. Never asked her to ask the kids to calm down.
Nor did she say anything to the other 30 kids that were running in there too.
I told my daughter that I wouldn’t let random adults yell at my family. I also reminded her that I am not the father who says my kids never do anything wrong, but in this case they hadn’t.
She looked up at me and said she didn’t think my little sister needed any help and I smiled. “Once a big brother, always a big brother.”
That made her shake her head and remind me that sometimes little sisters are just fine but she did tell me that she felt badly for the woman we were arguing with because we were relentless.
“That is what parents do when they are protecting their kids.”
Everyone Needs A Code To Live By
I have heard variations of that line in movies/television and read it in books more than once. I like it and I see merit in it.
At the end of the day when the lights go out and we are alone with our thoughts we need to be able to close our eyes and sleep.
A personal code helps make that happen.
We can discuss, debate and mull over the specifics of what such a code should be but if I had to sum up what I want for my kids the words below cover most of it.
I’d add not to fear making mistakes or admitting we are wrong about something, plus something I shared on Facebook.
“Sometimes you have to make hard choices but the trick isn’t making them, it is living with the consequences.”
That is of special import to my teenager and I. Being your own man isn’t always as easy as just saying yes or no or choosing the road less taken.
This parenting gig is one hell of a ride.