A year ago, our daughter Rebecca began a What’s App group to share her thoughts on Torah and Parenting. Over the year, I have shared many of her teachings with Practical Parenting readers after editing them to make them available to those without a strong Hebrew and ancient Jewish wisdom background. I hope you enjoy her reflections on this anniversary.
Before I started this group I was feeling stuck. I love teaching Torah, and I love teaching parenting, but I was so busy in the throes of parenting, working, and running a home, that I didn’t have time to teach any classes. When I thought about waiting until all my kids were out of the house to begin teaching again, I was disheartened. Frankly, I didn’t want to wait another 15 years to do something that is so important to me, and I also thought that at the pace the world is changing, in 15 years my perspectives on parenting may well be out of date and irrelevant. So I felt stuck.
Ironically, I felt barred from teaching Torah and parenting because I was taking my parenting so seriously that it filled up my days and I knew I didn’t have time to give to others or teach Torah to others. I didn’t like feeling stuck.
That is when I realized that I can do what’s important to me – I can teach Torah and parenting, if I do it in bite sized chunks of a few minutes at a time only on the days that my life allowed me. This group was born. Honestly, I didn’t know if anyone would join, and mostly I didn’t even care – I was doing this because this is what I wanted to do with my life! On January 1, 2019, I shared the link with my sisters and a few friends—I really didn’t think most people would be interested. But I was wrong. In addition to being blessed by doing what I truly love, there is now a group of well over 200 women learning together about Torah and parenting.
I’ve been blessed with reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. I’ve been inspired and blessed by friends who don’t have children, who listen and comment. I’m greatly inspired by grandmothers who have such vast experience in their own parenting lives who listen and graciously reach out to me. I’ve been incredibly blessed by friends of my mother who listen and tell me I occasionally remind them of my mother and grandmother teaching Torah. I’ve been blessed by each one of you who reach out to let me know that something I’ve said has touched you or resonated with your life.
I think there are things we all feel stuck about. Goals that we once had, or may still have that we give up on, because life is too full and busy, to live our secondary dreams as well as our primary dreams of our homes and families. And I’m sharing my story to encourage you not to give up, but to think of ways to reframe your goals in ways you can incorporate into your life as it is today. I can’t possibly commit to teaching a regular class now, but on the days I have time, I can prepare a short Torah thought and it’s more than enough for me right now! Maybe you also have a dream, a goal that you thought was out of reach. Maybe, today is the day to brainstorm what is really important to you and whether you can change the scope or size of your dream to fit your world today.
Last January 1st, I suggested we take time to brainstorm and take notes about our children’s development, physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and socially. Today, I’m suggesting that we take the time to do that for ourselves. If there is any way you can squeeze half an hour out of the day today, let’s use it to really think deeply about these questions. What do I value most of all? What arouses my passion? What brings me joy? What small step can I take today to bring me more in alignment with my deepest values?