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Monthly Archives: August, 2013

Know When to Hold ‘Em

August 27th, 2013 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

She responded to his warmth, she basked in his company.  They shared a sense of humor and agreed on life goals. But every time she thought he would propose, something sidelined him. A new work assignment, a friend going through a rough time…all seemingly reasonable reasons for him to pay her less attention, but somehow she was troubled.

Her friends said, “Don’t give up; eventually he’ll come to see how good you two are together.”

Her parents urged her to cut her losses.  She’d already devoted much time to the relationship.

“You need to move on,” her parents said.

She asked me.  What did I advise her to do?

Then there was the young sales professional optimistically embarking on his first career.  He was representing a good company with a good product.  He reported to a well-regarded sales manager and he made his call quotas but he just wasn’t breaking through.  Five months went by with only a few closings and commissions to show.  Nobody wants to be a quitter, and he was no exception, but his spirits were drooping. He found it increasingly difficult to keep a smile on his face and a bounce in his step.

“Maybe this is just a bad match for me” he wondered. “Why keep on banging my head against the wall when at another company with another product, I might be doing really well by now.”

How did I respond to his request for guidance?

You’ve seen many similar situations, haven’t you?  Perhaps you’ve even been in one yourself.  Trying to break through into teaching; a career in fashion; starting your own small business; hanging in there with a long-term dating situation that isn’t moving toward marriage; writing a book.  Persevere and persist? Or quit, move on to something more promising and cut the losses?  How to know?

Ancient Jewish wisdom springs to our assistance.  Here are two versions of one verse.  Without peeking into a Bible, which do you think is correct?

And Jacob worked seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him like just a few days because of his love for her.
(Genesis 29:20)

Or:

And Jacob worked seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him like forty years
because of his love for her.
(Genesis 29:20)

Surely the second verse, right?  Imagine being head-over-heels in love with beautiful Rachel, but not being able to clasp her into your arms for seven long years.  Surely those seven years felt like forty.

But no; in reality the first verse is correct.  The difference between my two versions of the verse is the difference between love and infatuation.  When infatuated, delaying consummation is intolerable.  When in love, each day of progress is thrilling.

Infatuation we pursue regardless of physical, emotional, or financial depletion.  Love doesn’t deplete—it regenerates.  An infatuation distorts reality and dominates life; love integrates into one’s life.

The young lady I described above was in a state of infatuation. She was ignoring negative clues because she wanted the relationship to work. On that basis, I sided with her parents.  The sales professional, however, was seeing monthly improvement in his numbers; it was slow but it was steady.  There were real skills he could work on that would lead to his goal. My advice to stick it out paid off handsomely.

Are you in love with your project, your ambition or a person?  Or are they infatuations?  Are you goal-oriented and clearly see the path to your aim, or are you fantasizing upon the outcome without seeing steps on the way to getting there? Jacob was in love, not infatuated.  He didn’t relish the delay, but each day gave him opportunity to become more of the man that he wanted Rachel to marry. He stuck it out with excellent results.

We read of best-selling authors, prosperous business professionals and enviable relationships. We didn’t witness the obstacles they faced and overcame, but they persevered for a goal they loved. In Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money I help you set a path for a real economic future. Invest in yourself or jumpstart the life of someone you wish to bless.

P.S. I’d like to invite you to sign up for the FREE live webinar that Susan and I will be hosting this Friday. We will be discussing my new series, “10 Commandments to Achieve FINANCIAL PROSPERITY,” as well as the intersection of marriage and business. Join us on Friday, August 30th, from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm Eastern Time (Noon – 5:00 pm Central Time, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm Mountain Time, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm Pacific Time).

We expect the Webcast to be exciting, informative, and it will definitely change the way you think about what “money” really means!  Plus, we have lined up some great surprises.

To join the free Webcast just sign up here.

_____________________________________________

This week’s Susan’s Musings: The Buoys of Summer

Tod. Sidney. Montague. Glen. These are a few of my true loves, complete with my husband’s blessing. In fact, he is in love with them as well. Their full names are Tod Inlet, Sidney Spit, Montague Harbour and Glenthorne Passage. They are among our favorite stopping points when we boat around the Canadian Gulf Islands.

Tod Inlet2smaller

Without wanting to sound heretical… READ MORE

 

 

She responded to his warmth, she basked in his company.  They shared a sense of humor and agreed on life goals. But every time she thought he would propose, something sidelined him. A new work assignment, a friend going through a rough time…all seemingly reasonable reasons for him to pay her less attention, but somehow she was troubled.  

 

Her friends said, “Don’t give up; eventually he’ll come to see how good you two are together.” 

 

Her parents urged her to cut her losses.  She’d already devoted much time to the relationship they reminded her.

 

 “You need to move on,” her parents said.  

 

She asked me.  What did I advise her to do?

 

Then there was the young sales professional optimistically embarking on his first career.  He was representing a good company with a good product.  He reported to a well-regarded sales manager and he made his call quotas but he just wasn’t breaking through.  Five months went by with only a few closings and commissions to show.  Nobody wants to be a quitter, and he was no exception, but his spirits were drooping. He found it increasingly difficult to keep a smile on his face and a bounce in his step. 

 

“Maybe this is just a bad match for me” he wondered. “Why keep on banging my head against the wall when at another company with another product, I might be doing really well by now.”

 

 How did I respond to his request for guidance?

 

You’ve seen many similar situations, haven’t you?  Perhaps you’ve even been in one yourself.  Trying to break through into teaching; a career in fashion; starting your own small business; hanging in there with a long-term dating situation that isn’t moving toward marriage; writing a book.  Persevere and persist? Or quit, move on to something more promising and cut the losses?  How to know?

 

Ancient Jewish wisdom springs to our assistance.  Here are two versions of one verse.  Without peeking into a Bible, which do you think is correct?

 

And Jacob worked seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him like just a few days because of his love for her.

(Genesis 29:20)

 

Or:

 

And Jacob worked seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him like forty years because of his love for her.

(Genesis 29:20)

 

Surely the second verse, right?  Imagine being head-over-heels in love with beautiful Rachel, but not being able to clasp her into your arms for seven long years.  Surely those seven years felt like forty.

 

But no; in reality the first verse is correct.  The difference between my two versions of the verse is the difference between love and infatuation.  When infatuated, delaying consummation is intolerable.  When in love, each day of progress is thrilling.

 

Infatuation we pursue regardless of physical, emotional, or financial depletion.  Love doesn’t deplete—it regenerates.  An infatuation distorts reality and dominates life; love integrates into one’s life. 

 

The young lady I described above was in a state of infatuation. She was ignoring negative clues because she wanted the relationship to work. On that basis, I sided with her parents.  The sales professional, however, was seeing monthly improvement in his numbers; it was slow but it was steady.  There were real skills he could work on that would lead to his goal. My advice to stick it out paid off handsomely.

 

Are you in love with your project, your ambition or a person?  Or are they infatuations?  Are you goal-oriented and clearly see the path to your aim, or are you fantasizing upon the outcome without seeing steps on the way to getting there? Jacob was in love, not infatuated.  He didn’t relish the delay, but each day gave him opportunity to become more of the man that he wanted Rachel to marry. He stuck it out with excellent results.

 

We read of best-selling authors, prosperous business professionals and enviable relationships. We didn’t witness the obstacles they faced and overcame, but they persevered for a goal they loved. In Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money I help you set a path for a real economic future. Invest in yourself or jumpstart the life of someone you wish to bless.

 

P.S. I’d like to invite you to sign up for the FREE live webinar that Susan and I will be hosting this Friday. We will be discussing my new series, “10 Commandments to Achieve FINANCIAL PROSPERITY,” as well as the intersection of marriage and business. Join us on Friday, August 30th, from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm Eastern Time (Noon – 5:00 pm Central Time, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm Mountain Time, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm Pacific Time).

 

We expect the Webcast to be exciting, informative, and it will definitely change the way you think about what “money” really means!  Plus, we have lined up some great surprises.

To join the free Webcast just sign up here.

The Buoys of Summer

August 27th, 2013 Posted by Susan's Musings 6 comments

Tod. Sidney. Montague. Glen. These are a few of my true
loves, complete with my husband’s blessing. In fact, he is in love with them as
well. Their full names are Tod Inlet, Sidney Spit, Montague Harbour and
Glenthorne Passage. They are among our favorite stopping points when we boat
around the Canadian Gulf Islands.


Tod Inlet

 

Without wanting to sound heretical, it has crossed my mind
that I would appreciate finding a missing part of the Bible listing British
Columbia as God’s suggested vacationland. Jerusalem’s spiritual air is
undeniable and the land of Israel clearly has a Godly connection that exists
nowhere else. Without negating that in the slightest, my husband and I find
that the waters of British Columbia sing to our souls.

For our first date, my husband took me aboard his sailboat
and we motored around a California marina under a drizzly, grey and windless
sky.   The message was clear; boating was
part of the deal. For years, we sailed from Los Angeles to Catalina Island, to San
Diego, and even to San Francisco. The apex came with a trans-Pacific crossing
to Honolulu, three daughters under the age of four as part of the crew.
Unbeknownst to us as we set out, a stowaway was present who would only make an
appearance nine months later in the form of our son. While I could handle
pregnancy and I could handle boating, the combination had me spending most of
the voyage hanging over the side of the boat. A year later, I still got queasy
if we drove too near the marina. Our sailing days were over.

To our delight, we discovered power boating in the Pacific
Northwest. For years, every summer found us packing up and heading out. Each time we visited favorite locations and discovered new ones. Our children made
friends in anchorages and on the docks, learned to handle lines and navigate,
and loved the experience as much as we did.


Montague Harbour

A number of circumstances led to a hiatus and our last trip,
with four of our children, one nephew, one niece and two children’s friends,
took place eight years ago. We have been living on the diesel fumes of that voyage
each summer since. This year, my husband and I headed back to the water. It was
meant to be a trip for two, though one of our daughters earned the “most hated
sibling” award by quickly booking flights so that she and her husband could
join us for a few days. (As my husband said, usually one waits to be invited,
but truthfully we were tickled that she was so eager to come.)


Toys

 

We had ten magnificent days and we feel truly blessed to
have had the gift of a boating holiday.
We head into the new year of 5774 that starts in less than two weeks
with renewed spirits, a refreshed appreciation for each other and a rejuvenated
appreciation for the wonders of God’s creation.

P.S. I’m going to be co-hosting a webcast with my husband this Friday. Sign up and call in! We will be discussing our Ten Commandments to Achieve Financial Prosperity program and the marriage program (that is part of the package) that we will be leading in Dallas in October. 

 

Admiral at work, last day

Vaccination Views

August 20th, 2013 Posted by Susan's Musings 6 comments

When I read about science pushing the boundaries so that
women can give birth in their sixties, I thank God for giving me children when
I was much younger. Not only do I look back with amazement at the energy I had
that eludes me now (and I haven’t hit my sixties yet), but today’s parents have
to grapple with daunting challenges that weren’t on my radar screen.

Jenny McCarthy’s selection as a
host of The View, along with new measles and mump outbreaks has once again put the
vaccination/anti-vaccination debate on the front pages. When I took my own
children in for their vaccinations, I did so with intense gratitude. My mother
contracted polio as an infant and spent much of her childhood in hospitals or
recuperating from various operations at home while longingly watching from the
window as her siblings went off to school or play. While my mother possessed a
cheerful, sunny personality, every once in a while I would get a glimpse of the
lonely little girl in her past. The temporary discomfort that vaccinations caused
my babies were a price I paid with great appreciation in exchange for
protecting them from similar circumstances.

What would I do if I had the
responsibility to make decisions about vaccinations today? I do not know. Many
pro-vaccination articles that I read act as if those parents choosing not to
vaccinate are low-information people who don’t know that Dr. Wakefield’s 1990’s
research linking vaccinations and autism has been discredited.  My experience is the opposite. The parents I
know who don’t vaccinate are super-high-information people. They are
intelligent and knowledgeable. They include physicians and scientists. Autism
is only one of many issues about which they are concerned.

Yet, they question authority by
not blindly accepting information from the American Academy of Pediatrics,
government sources or the media. Can I blame them? Is there any question that
the medical and scientific communities sometimes have placed, and continue to
place, political considerations ahead of medical integrity? Is there any question
that the majority of media today mostly report news that fits their social
engineering agenda while suppressing, as much as they can, news with which they
personally disagree? Can anyone really keep a straight face while asking young
parents to trust the government? When those in authority act deceitfully,
imprudently, and too frequently only in their own self-interest, they cannot be
surprised that pleas to trust them are scornfully dismissed.

Sadly, lack of principle and
uprightness in medical issues, are not new phenomena. A little research will
reveal shocking levels of malfeasance promoted in the name of science in the 20th
century, even if you remove Nazi Germany from the picture. My mother herself
had cause to be suspicious of doctors. She credited her ability to walk to
Australian nurse, Elizabeth
Kenny
(1880-1952), who was ignored, discredited and lied about by doctors
when she insisted that her methods showed greater success than the medical
community’s standard treatment of polio patients. She was right. For many
doctors who were in powerful positions at the time, their egos proved larger
than truth.

I certainly worry when I see a
recurrence of diseases from which we have been safe in the past few decades.  However, in a society where, day in and day
out, we see emperors with no clothes, asking young parents to pretend that on
one issue he is royally garbed demands a level of loyalty and respect that has
not been earned.


TT-Combo-Layout

 

Remember That Man

August 20th, 2013 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Does anyone you know speak in a bass tone? Does that make them more likely to enjoy bass fishing? That’s a ridiculous question. In English, we don’t expect words that have two meanings to be related. In Hebrew, however, homographs like these are significant.

For example, a family’s memory is commonly maintained through the male line, reflecting the reality Hebrew reveals by male and memory being the same word, ZaCHaR.

ZCHR parchment

This explains why women and children generally take their husband and father’s family name.

Every Friday night, Jewish men recite the special Sabbath benediction over wine called the Kiddush.  Guests often ask me why I say the Kiddush and not my wife, whose Hebrew skills equal mine.

The answer is that the Torah prioritizes certain roles for men and others for women. One often-overlooked benefit of obligating men with Kiddush is giving them a special role in the family.  Little children, like most young mammals, develop an instinctive attachment to their mothers. She is the source of food and comfort.  It’s not only children.  Medics tell me that severely wounded warriors on the battlefield usually call out for their mothers.  Additionally, I’ve seen plenty of tattoos heralding love for Mom, but seldom for Dad.

Even in these modern times, fathers abandon their children much more frequently than mothers do. Even when fathers are present, dad might vanish from morning to night, and children don’t always understand what he does for them during those hours.  Even women who work out of the house spend more time with their children than many fathers. Children must be taught to develop a feeling of attachment for their fathers, and nobody is better suited to do this than their mothers.

Thus, my wife, who is perfectly capable of reciting the Friday night Kiddush, helps cement the family structure by allowing me that exclusive role.  The delicious and leisured family meal, for which we have waited all week, will not start until dad says the Kiddush.  My children, who felt dependent on my wife almost from birth, recognize that they need me too.  Even more importantly, on some subconscious level, I feel especially needed.  Little wonder that Friday night is a special time for Jewish husbands and wives.

The Friday night Kiddush contains the passage in Genesis describing how God completed His work of creation and rested. It continues with a reminder of the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt, which marks the birth of the Jewish people.  Because any nation that loses sight of its origins is doomed, we Jews recall our birth every week.

Thus, the Kiddush is about remembering not only the creation of the world, but also the birth of the Jewish nation.  In Jewish life, acts of commemoration are best performed by a male, linking male and memory.

Just as nations must remember their origins, individuals must do the same.  The bond between father and child is a crucial distinction between humans and animals.  Again, we see the mystical link between male and memory.

A nation preserves its national identity by recalling its origins and can best remain durable by recalling its fathers.  Two special nations are blessed with Founding Fathers:  Ancient Israel and America.  Three times a day, Jews say a prayer that commences with the words “God of our fathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob.” America has enshrined the document containing the names of its fathers.

This in no way belittles or ignores women’s contributions. It rather recognizes that without the support of wives and mothers, men can too easily focus on themselves, relinquishing obligations. It would be hard to find a more important characteristic of stable families and durable nations than an ever-present awareness of the value of fathers.  Smart wives and mothers know this, as do wise national leaders.

If you are a new Thought Tools reader, we’d like to welcome you aboard. We have been writing weekly for over five years.  You can catch up on two years’ worth of spiritual strategies with our Thought Tool Set, currently on sale. We hope that these teachings containing practical insights help provide a sturdy foundation for you.
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This week’s Susan’s Musings: Vaccination Views

When I read about science pushing the boundaries so that women can give birth in their sixties, I thank God for giving me children when I was much younger. Not only do I look back with amazement at the energy I had that eludes me now (and I haven’t hit my sixties yet), but today’s parents have to grapple with daunting challenges that weren’t on my radar screen.

Jenny McCarthy’s selection as a host of The View, along with new measles and mumps outbreaks has once again put the vaccination/anti-vaccination debate on the front pages.… READ MORE

Angels Can Be a Bad Sign

August 13th, 2013 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Have you ever noticed how sometimes one carries out one’s work effectively but without joy?  There are other times when every task is exhilarating and uplifting.  In both situations, the work gets done and your business progresses, but in the latter case, there’s an additional bounce in one’s step.

Building a marriage and building a business share many similarities.  There are times in every marriage when the marriage functions, but it operates mechanically.  Husband and wife carry out their duties and obligations but without passion.  At other times, every moment of life is enhanced by the magic of the marriage.

A peculiar few verses that help us understand this dynamic appear in Exodus soon after the Ten Commandments are given at Mount Sinai.

Behold, I send an angel before you, to guard you on the way, and to bring you to the place…Take heed of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions; for my name is in him…if you obey his voice and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy to your enemies…For my angel shall go before you, and bring you to the Amorites…and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off.
(Exodus 23:20-23)

Israel has never before been told to follow an angel.  We’ve been told to obey God; we’ve been told to obey the Torah and its commandments, but an angel?  Never!

Furthermore, God repeatedly assures the Israelites that He will Himself be among them to protect them.  In fact, He even commanded them to build a Tabernacle for Him so He could dwell in their midst.  So what is with this angel?

Perhaps catching a glimpse of him elsewhere will provide some insight.

I will send an angel before you and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite…and the Jebusite to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in the midst of you; because you are a stiff-necked people…and the people heard these bad words and mourned…
(Exodus 33.2-4)

The second case that sounds so similar to the first one makes clear that there is a problem. Despite the fact that the Angel is a messenger of God that will lead the Israelites to victory, the presence of the Angel conveys a lack of God’s direct intervention.

Ancient Jewish wisdom explains that there will be times when Israel will step out of line and no longer merit God’s direct involvement.  At those times, His support and guidance will come indirectly.  The practical results will be the same. They will still have to obey whatever the angel conveys, and they will still be protected.  However, the spiritual dimension will be weakened.  They will still be under the Divine wing, but the joy of being at one with God will be temporarily absent.

Both accounts of the angel are followed by details of restoring the relationship with God.  We are reminded of our duties and obligations.  What a blessing that even when Israel falls out of favor for a while, there is a road to restoration.

In the same way, when we fall out of love with our work, there is a way back.  When we fall out of love with our marriage, there is a way back.  In all these cases, the road to rebuilding and restoring is by fulfilling our duties and obligations.  Instead of allowing the temporary dissatisfaction to fester into a crisis, we focus on what we ought to be doing.  When Israel resumes loyalty to God and His commandments, God returns to dwell in their midst.

At work and in our marriages, the bumps in the road that strip the excitement and happiness from us are often temporary.  We can mistakenly respond to the lack of joy by making poor choices and doing things that magnify the problem, or we can continue to do what needs to be done. That path leads us back to where we wish to be, living a fulfilling, harmonious life.

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This week’s Susan’s Musings: A Library Love Letter

I had an hour’s vacation the other day. While I live about four minutes from a public library that I regularly visit, there is a much larger regional branch about seventeen minutes away from my home. When I was actively home schooling, the kids and I went there often, but in the past year, I haven’t been.

Last week, I treated myself and visited the large library… READ MORE

A Library Love Letter

August 13th, 2013 Posted by Susan's Musings 9 comments

I had an hour’s vacation the other day. While I live about
four minutes from a public library that I regularly visit, there is a much
larger regional branch about seventeen minutes away from my home. When I was
actively home schooling, the kids and I went there often, but in the past year,
I haven’t been.

Last week, I treated myself and visited the large library. I
enjoyed browsing the biography section and finding tales of fascinating people
whose names I didn’t recognize. I meandered through the fiction section,
looking not only for well-loved authors, but also for books whose spines cry
out, “I’ve been on this shelf for a very long time.” Not all these books are
gems, but they are almost guaranteed not to be filled with profanity and TMI
about the protagonist’s sexual activity.  If the book is boring, the gift of the public
library kicks in. I can read a few pages and decide to go no further.
Borrower’s remorse is never as painful as buyer’s remorse. I lingered by my
favorite Dewey decimal numbers. After all, any number that identifies Cheaper
by the Dozen
must shelter more treats as well. 

This library has what I consider the best books in the
system, the ones I’m afraid are going to be culled out and replaced by a DVD
selection. As the libraries, at least in my city, try to make themselves more
‘user-friendly’ with current books, computer monitors and movies to check out
or download, I worry that diamonds and pearls will be cast aside. David
Copperfield
and Little Women aren’t going anywhere soon, but what of
less classic, though perfectly enjoyable tomes? Not all older books are good
and some newer ones are wonderful, but in general, it I find it sad that the
modern selection edges out the more traditional—and often
character-building—choices, particularly for children and young adults.


If you’ve been reading my Musings for any length
of time, you know that I adore books. If you do as well, are there any volumes
you cherish that you can no longer find on the shelves of your local library?

Aug. 7, 2013

August 7th, 2013 Posted by Susan's Musings No Comment yet

 

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This week’s Susan’s Musings: It’s (almost) September: Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

During the 1960’s and onwards, a New York TV station prefaced the 10 o’clock news with the phrase, “It’s 10 PM. Do you know where your children are?” As a child, in the safe boundaries of my urban middle-class neighborhood, I assumed it was a reminder to parents that their kids might still be on the street playing hopscotch or punch ball. Apparently, it was actually tied into youth violence and curfews, drug use, and later used to highlight child abduction.

The fact is that for two summer months… READ MORE

 

Travels in Taiwan

August 6th, 2013 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

I recently returned home from a one week speaking tour to Taiwan.  The stimulating audiences I was privileged to address in Taipei ranged from intimate gatherings of sixty or seventy influential CEOs to over a thousand readers of Taiwan’s premier business weekly, Smart! Magazine.

When not on stage or in meetings, my gracious hosts shared many of the wonders of Taiwan with me.  I saw a few of the priceless early dynasty artifacts in the National Palace Museum.  I travelled faster than I have ever done outside of an airplane, during a one hundred and twenty mile smooth and silent ride on Taiwan’s high-speed train.  I ascended to the top of the technologically remarkable Taipei 101, a skyscraper that for six years enjoyed tallest-building-in-the-world status until it was eclipsed by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa in 2010.  I was even taken boating on the South China Sea by the owner of one of Taiwan’s premier yacht builders.

But perhaps the highlights for me were when I was welcomed as a family friend into the homes of some of the Taiwanese people with whom I became close.  I felt a natural and authentic warmth from them and I hope they felt the same from me.  How we, from such different backgrounds, transcended our ethnic and linguistic barriers and felt such friendship intrigued me.

Like most of Taiwan’s business elite, the people I got to know are Bible-believing Christians.  With a common reverence for the Word of God, they from a Christian perspective and I from a Jewish one, we shared much.  Their commitment to family, faith, and finance felt comfortably Jewish to me.  Additionally, most of them had studied in the United States and were providing their children with the benefits of an American education.  Not surprisingly we hit it off and I look forward to returning.

While I obviously got to know far too few Taiwanese for a truly representative sample, I was struck by their very small families.  Many of the older generation of Chinese grew up as one of six or seven siblings, but their children typically seem to have one or two children, and often none.

I wondered if the grandparents yearned for more offspring.

In the Book of Ruth, Naomi advises her widowed daughter-in-law to get to know a local nobleman by the name of Boaz with an eye to marriage.

…get dressed and go down to the threshing floor…when he lies down…you shall go and uncover his feet and lie down…
(Ruth 3:3-4)

Now I must explain that one of the marvelous methods encrypted into Scripture for decoding ancient Jewish wisdom is what, in Hebrew, is known as k’ree and k’tiv.  These two terms mean ‘the way the word is pronounced’ and ‘the way the word is spelled” respectively. K’ree and k’tiv words appear throughout the Bible and our job is to merge the two meanings thereby exposed in the text.

One of the most famous examples of k’ree and k’tiv is found in the above verses from Ruth.

In the k’ree version, the verse reads simply as I translated it.  However, as the words are actually spelled in the original Hebrew text, in the k’tiv version, Naomi indicates that she would really be the one getting dressed and going down to meet Boaz at the threshing floor rather than Ruth.

How can this be?  Ancient Jewish wisdom explains that although Naomi was advising Ruth how to bring about a union, she herself would also be there in spirit, in order to assist the process that would bring her progeny.

In a Torah framework, having children is not only a personal decision for a couple to make, but it also serves the family and community, linking the past to the future. The more mature Naomi understood the blessing of children, and so she yearned for a child far more than the younger Ruth did. Indeed, it was through this adventure that Naomi attained immortality, becoming a grandmother and ancestor to King David.

It’s (almost) September: Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

August 6th, 2013 Posted by Susan's Musings 10 comments

During the
1960’s and onwards, a New York TV station prefaced the 10 o’clock news with the
phrase, “It’s 10 PM. Do you know where your children are?” As a child, in the
safe boundaries of my urban middle-class neighborhood, I assumed it was a
reminder to parents that their kids might still be on the street playing
hopscotch or punch ball. Apparently, it was actually tied into youth violence
and curfews, drug use, and later used to highlight child abduction.

The fact is
that for two summer months, my friends and I would head out each morning moving
in and out of each other’s homes and playing in the street. In pre-cell phone
days, our mothers never knew exactly where we were and simply expected us to
show up for lunch, supper and bedtime. Times have changed and very few parents
today would allow their children to roam free in a similar setting.

When my
grandparents enrolled their children in city public schools, I’m sure it was
with great gratitude. In those days, their children could acquire a free first-class
education and families could supplement religious studies, if they chose to do
so. Indeed, my mother and her siblings as first-generation Americans became
educated, productive, contributing members of society while also having the
freedom to remain true to their parents’ values and traditions. When September
came around my grandparents knew where their children were. They were safely
ensconced in the classroom, receiving guidance to help them become competent,
learned and moral citizens.

Filling in
for my husband on his radio show a few weeks ago, I asked listeners what would
need to happen for them to decide that they could no longer send their children
to public school. I discussed Eric Holder’s Department of Justice weighing in
on the issue of children being allowed to choose which gender bathroom they
wanted to use, as only one of numerous changes continually eroding the nation’s
schools. I mentioned that while many of us feel that public education has generally
deteriorated, most of us will explain that the particular school our child
attends is a good one.

Yet, as my
radio show guest, Tim Daughtry, pointed out in a later hour, liberalism is
winning the culture wars through immersion, not conversion. As uncomfortable as
it may make us, we have to recognize that teacher training in this country
tends very left. Even teachers who are personally conservative often don’t
recognize the liberal messages they are teaching. Years ago, I was a consultant
for a private school. One of the administrators showed me a reading list for
third graders filled with wonderfully written books that I agreed the children
should read. However, I pointed out that every single book focused on America’s
failures! There were numerous books on slavery and discrimination as well as
others on events like the Cherokee Trail of Tears. There were no inspiring books
on the foundations of this country or its greatness. I advised that as
important as it is for our children to know of our country’s struggles and
failings, that knowledge should be preceded and outweighed by learning about
our freedoms, principles and strengths. Schools that hold events that focus on
clean air and water (who can argue with that?) but never emphasize the grandeur
of a free business climate, automatically prime our children to be susceptible
to far-left environmental and anti-capitalist messages. Talk of tolerance and
love that suggests tolerance and love for all views and actions, but never
mentions those held and practiced by religious Americans except to point them
out as bigoted, sets our children up to scorn our teachings. Sadly, too many of
my friends are perplexed that their children, who were brought to church or
synagogue, and whom they love and cherish, have rejected their values on issue
after issue.


I used to say that while I loved homeschooling,
I didn’t think it was an option for everyone. I am no longer sure that there is
a choice. Certainly, today, each and every parent has to assume the main
responsibility for their child’s education. If the child goes to a public—or
private—school, the parents needs to be frequently, and unexpectedly, in the
classroom, monitor textbooks and hand-outs (including ones the children are
told not to bring home), and stay completely on top of all assemblies, trips
and school events. Just as there isn’t any longer a choice for most parents to
turn a child onto the street at 8 am saying, “See you back at noon,” without
any idea of where they will be or with whom, there is no longer a choice to
trust anyone other than ourselves with our children’s tender souls.


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