Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

Posted on 24 September 2009 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Parents,

Yom Kippur is almost here and, hopefully, we have all apologized to those we may have hurt on purpose or unintentionally. As we enter the new year, let us remember to be the best we can be and help our children develop as well. Each year at the High Holy Days we read a prayer by Reb Zusya. The commentary (the small print at the bottom) shares the thoughts of Reb Zusya: “When I meet G-d, I will not be asked ‘Why were you not Moses?’ but rather ‘Were you the best Zusya you could be?’” I am reminded of this each time we question why our children are not more this or more that — we compare and worry. Years ago, the cry in education was “LABEL JARS NOT CHILDREN!” We strived not to label children and define them by that label. Today we say “Help children develop labels to identify themselves, but remember LABELS ARE NOT LIMITS!” Let us learn to use our words to help our children “see” who they are and who they can be. Use words to reframe how we see our children and how they see themselves. To help us with this goal of discovering who our children are and how we can help them achieve their potential, I am repeating this list from previous years. It is often a matter of looking at things from just a little different perspective — a change from “half empty” to “half full.” Look through this list and start using new words to describe your child (and yourself)!

Some say … you might say …

aggressive … assertive

boisterous … enthusiastic

bossy … a leader

brooding … serious

chatterbox … communicative

clingy … loving

controlling … determined

dreamy … imaginative

fearful … sensitive

forceful … determined

impatient … passionate

inflexible … traditional

insecure … cautious

loud … expressive

manipulative … charismatic

non-participatory … an observer

obsessive … deliberate

picky … selective

self-centered … proud

shy … reflective

spoiled … well-loved

stubborn … tenacious

troublesome … challenging

unfocused … curious

unpredictable … flexible

withdrawn … introspective

(Adapted from the works of Mary Sheedy Kurcinka; taken from Kindermusik International, Inc.)

Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

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