Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rosh hashana

So I just spent RH NOT in shul. This happened for a number of reasons:
1: it is more economical to buy just one seat
2: I have small children, even with the groups/babysitting (which did not necessarily cover babies), it did not provide enough time that it was worth it for me to run to shul with all my gear, go in for ten minute increments while i would certainly be called up to the groups for one thing or another.
3: I am not particularly good at sitting in shul.
4: My daughter decided to continue the family tradition of getting sick on Rosh Hashana.
I basically spent Rosh Hashana taking care of a sick child, preparing meals and cleaning up after said child and meals. While to some this may sound like drudgery (and i admit caring for a sick child is not fun), for me it was actually a blessing (again, not the sick child part). I spent most of my adolescence dreading the high holy days because my parents would force me to sit in shul for hours, and while I did appreciate the beauty of the service and the awesomeness of the day, I hated sitting in shul. Granted most kids do not want to sit in shul, but in my case it went beyond the standard I don't feel like sitting in shul, for me it was pure torture. Why am I telling you this? Aha, because I feel this is very important for parents to realize, that not every child will be capable of sitting in shul and forcing them to do so will only cause more issues down the line. So often parents feel that forcing a child (or teen) to sit in shul and daven will help them be a better Jew. The truth is, if they resent it, it will actually backfire and they will want to have less to do with Judaism. Of course this is not only true of davening, this is true of most things, the more you fight with your child about doing something, the less likely they are to do it.
The High Holy Days are a time of reflection and forgiveness, perhaps we should reflect on ourselves and our relationships with our parents and children. We should realize that our families are who they are and we can not change them, but we must accept them for who they are. I feel this is especially true of children, so often parents want their children to be a certain way that they forget that every child is different. Instead of cajoling/forcing/fighting with your child, let go, allow them to be who they are, if sitting in shul for hours on end is beyond them, don't force it, give your child the time he or she needs to figure out what way works for them. As long as they are not doing something dangerous or illegal give them the opportunity to understand their own spirituality and allow them to connect to God on their own personal level.  I know that for me baking challah, preparing the meals and the house for the Holiday was how I connect spiritually, I need the physical aspects of the Holiday rather than the metaphysical to connect to God.
On that note. I wish you all a Shana Tova and a Happy Healthy New year!

1 comment:

  1. When my kids were really little, I used to spend most of the Yamim Noraim in the groups. And I never enjoyed them as teen - I used to have philosophical arguments while standing next to my mother on Yom Kippur.

    This was the first my husband bought my daughter a seat (she is 8) - and she really used it! Something to look forward to for you - when your kids are of the age they can teach you their version of the beauty of the holidays.

    Oh, and it helps that I've been going to the Sephardi shul for a number of years. I love the tunes and the sincerity there.

    I still haven't made it for the night of Yom Kippur since my eldest was a baby (he's almost 16). I asked my daughter (different child-rearing style than my parents!) if she willing to go this year, so maybe.

    Hope everyone is healthy again at your home.