By Laura Seymour
The Torah is an amazing book for so many reasons for so many people. For me, one of the most amazing things is how, at every stage in our life or every situation we are in, the Torah has something to say.
You think you are experiencing something new? The Torah says, “Been there, done that.” Another wonderful message from Torah is that it does not “preach” — we learn how to do the right thing by watching our “heroes” mess up.
Just recently, something came my way through an interesting website listing chapter and verse from the Book of Genesis on what you can learn about parenting. It was so neat and easy, I had to pass it on. Get out your Torah and check out these verses. It may help or not, but it will inspire conversation.
21 Parenting Tips I Learned from Genesis By Lisa Port White
1. Children will do things you tell them not to do (2:17).
2. They will blame each other (3:12).
3. You will curse at them, or perhaps want to (3:17).
4. Not all siblings get along all that well (4:8).
5. Children babble and make a lot of noise (11:19).
6. Your children may have to go off on their own journeys (12:1).
7. You may love your children so much that you put yourself at risk (19:26).
8. Do not, under any circumstances, let your children get you drunk so they can have sex with you even if they think it is the end of the world (19:32).
9. It’s possible to become pregnant even if you aren’t expecting it (21:2).
10. Be careful whom you invite to your weaning party (21:9).
11. Listen to your partner, even if you disagree with him/her (21:12).
12. It’s hard to watch your children suffer; keep your eyes open and look for the well (21:19).
13. You might sometimes want to kill your offspring, but keep your eyes open and look for the ram (22:13).
14. Don’t play favorites (Rebecca and Isaac re: Jacob and Esau; Jacob and Joseph).
15. Stay out of your children’s negotiations (25:33, 27:8-10).
16. Sometimes children have to struggle on their own (32:25).
17. Sometimes children change their names (32:29).
18. Sometimes siblings reconcile after long-standing acrimony (33:4).
19. Sometimes siblings want to avenge the honor of their sibling: this should be tempered (34:25).
20. Sometimes it is not only the child who feels as though s/he has been abandoned in a pit of despair (37:24).
21. Family is hard, but love is strong, forgiveness is powerful, and redemption is possible (45:4; 50:24).
Laura Seymour is director of Jewish life and learning and director of camping services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas.