Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

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withdrawn … introspective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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