by Lori Rubin
I woke up from a dream startled. In it, my kids were playing on a staircase in a house I have never seen before. My father was with me and I was reminding the kids to not lean on the banister. Of course, they did and the banister began to fall with the children leaning over towards the ground below. I woke up realizing that it was only a dream, the kids didn’t get hurt, the banister didn’t need to be replaced, and there must be a message to share.
In the dream, my children were about 9, 7 and 5 years old, but in actuality, they are 20, 18, and 14. I woke up with the clear understanding that every memory you make with your children informs their decisions, their intentions, and their values. In the dream, I told the kids not to lean on the banister. I watched as my father saw my kids not listening with a look of horror on his face as the banister began to lean. Two things happened there: my kids didn’t listen to something I said, and my dad was disappointed in the actions of two generations of family members. That sounds terrible. Now that I am awake, I can share with you that my kids do usually listen and my dad is really proud of us.
So, what is the big message to share? Raising children is a challenge and a blessing every day. When my kids were little, I would hear from friends who had older children to “enjoy every moment—time goes so fast.” The reaction I always had in my head was that they must be mistaken. The days were long and time moved really slowly. Now that my children are older, I can appreciate the words of those friends. Time is moving incredibly quickly and I try to share that piece of wisdom in my work with jkidphilly.
Honoring each moment in the lives of our children is challenging. Not every moment is one you want to savor. Moments when you are reminding your kids to not lean on the banister, to brush their teeth, or to clean their room are not as memorable as feeding the ducks, baking a challah, or picking apples off the tree. However, they are still important parts of our lives. They all teach Jewish values:
- Kibbud Av va’Em (honor your father and mother- 6th commandment)
- Sh’mirat Haguf (care of the body)
- Tza’ar Ba’alei Hayyim (being kind to animals)
- Respect Shabbat and keep it holy (5th commandment)
- Shomrei Adamah (guardians of the earth)
jkidphilly offers families raising Jewish children the opportunity to make Jewish memories while learning Jewish values. Those memories are not often in the synagogue, but in public spaces where you can experience activities that can help shape your lives. Through crafts, cooking, reading PJ Library stories, and building new friendships, jkidphilly helps families delve deeper in their Jewish journey. Families learn about holidays, Jewish traditions, and each other at a jkidphilly event. In addition to our programs, we also offer jkidphilly Venturers, a way to go beyond the PJ Library books and experience Jewish values in your own home. We are here to help you make your own memories at a time that may seem challenging in your lives. Who knows? Your kids might be begging for you to take them apple picking 10 years from now because you took them to a jkidphilly event once when they were four years old and now it is a family tradition. Make memories with us at jkidphilly.com and facebook.com/jkidphilly.
Lori Rubin is the Director, Family Engagement at Jewish Learning Venture. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-320-0402