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Who will your grandchildren be?

Who will your grandchildren be?

Who will your grandchildren be?

 

I looked at a recent picture of my oldest daughter, who is now almost 12, and I was struck by several details. Its funny how we sometimes see things in photographs that we tend to miss or gloss over in our daily, face-to-face interactions.   The face staring out of the picture was a striking portrait of the face of my mother, when she was a girl.   The details are all there, I just don’t see them when my daughter breezes by me in the kitchen on her way to dance class.  The subtle slant of her eyes and the shape of her mouth.  Amazing resemblance.  

 

As I stared at my daughter’s face, I began to reflect on the many qualities of my mother (may she live and be well) that I see emerging in my own child.  I just hadn’t really thought about it before until now.  Her sense of humor, her love of sports, her loyalty to her friends, her intense joy in going to sleep away camp: all in striking resonance with her grandmother.  

 

It brings to mind a message I heard a long time ago in a class I attended, given by an old, bearded Rabbi with a thick Yiddish accent.  I remember that I had a hard time understanding him through most of the class, but I will never forget what he said at the end.  “What defines you as a parent is not what your children become. Rather, it is what your grandchildren become.”  I had a hard time grasping what he said at the time, this was 15 years ago and I had only just started down the path of my parenting career.  I tried to ask him what he meant, but he was in a hurry to leave to catch his plane.  

 

As time has gone on and I am well down the road of raising 7 children, I have begun to have a glimpse of what the teacher was saying.  Jewish tradition describes child-rearing as a dual process.  Planting and Building.  Planting is the organic, daily work of instilling our values into our children through our ongoing and loving interactions with them.  We plant seeds that we hope will flourish as our children grow.  Building is the daily structure we provide our children that give them boundaries and discipline.  Things like encouraging regular, healthy habits and a predictable environment allow them to flourish to reach their potential.  Think of the analogy of a grape vine.  Without the structure of the wooden support, the vine would lay on the ground and die without bearing its fruit.  ( this topic is covered in great detail in the book, “To Kindle a Soul”, by Lawrence Kelerman).  

 

When we plant and build, our values and priorities that we want for our children are communicated to them as they grow up.  How do we know that those values truly take hold?  Our grandchildren.  This is what the Rabbi was teaching me.  When your own children are able to take those values that you worked so hard to plant and build and then pass them on to their own children, that is how one is defined as a parent.  

 

 

 

Posted: 5/28/2014 10:21:33 AM by Dr. Milobsky | with 0 comments


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