web analytics
May 27, 2015 / 9 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Self Do It!

A little past her second birthday, my toddler has entered into a new phase of independence.


“Sara Leah do it!” and “Self do it!” These phrases are repeated countless times. Sara Leah will insist on eating her soup independently, even if more spills from her spoon than enters her wide-opened, expectant mouth. She will demand to climb the stairs by herself; or dress up her dolls, even while stopping midway to insist just as strenuously, “Mommy help you!”

 

It’s often very tempting to scoop Sara Leah into my arms as I observe her exerting herself as she climbs up a particularly steep set of steps. It’s also far less tedious (and messy) to guide her spoon and fork myself, just as it’s far less exasperating to dress her dolls for her than to watch her trying to clumsily contend with the buttons. But I restrain myself from providing this assistance because I realize that her growth is achieved through exertion, by stretching the parameters of her comfort zones. Struggles are the water and life force prodding our budding but latent talents to bloom and develop fully.

 

Sara Leah’s vacillation between dependence and independence expresses itself throughout the day. Moments after succeeding at doing a task herself, or midway through it, Sara Leah will often want to be helped, cuddled or hugged. An expression of pride fills her determined features after accomplishing one of her self-appointed goals, just as a look of tender contentment crosses over her soft face as she nestles up against my shoulder enjoying a moment of protective snuggling.

 

I think of Sara Leah’s determined look every time I venture into a project or situation that requires me to extend myself beyond my comfort zone. When those queasy feelings rise in me as I undertake a new challenge, I silently repeat to myself her mantra of “self do it!” and picture Sara Leah’s satisfied pride after she has mastered her task.

 

Watching Sara Leah in her newfound quest for independence has made me think about the biggest challenges in all of our lives–not ones which we have voluntarily undertaken, but the one task which has been thrust upon us and has become an integral part of our existence.

 

“There are three things that G-d created that He regrets – one of these is exile,” quotes the Talmud. An omnipotent G-d obviously cannot “regret” something or that thing would cease to exist. The Chassidic masters explain that for G-d to “regret” means that on a conceptual level, He desires and enjoys some aspects of exile while regretting others.

 

Like any mother watching her children struggle to gain their independence, G-d too “regrets” some aspects of the difficulty He has imposed upon us. G-d suffers together with us as He watches us cope with the whole spectrum of human challenges. He “regrets” our tears of frustration, our sorrow, our loss of dignity and our hopelessness over each small and big challenge in exile.

 

But He also realizes that at the conclusion of our efforts, in the time of our redemption, the pain of these struggles will no longer be palpable or even remembered. What will remain is only the accomplishments, the growth, the strength and the well-deserved pride and feeling of a job well-done.

 

Because nothing looks more radiant than Sara Leah’s proud face after accomplishing one more of her “self do it!” goals.

 

Chana Weisberg is the author of several books, including the best-selling Divine Whispers – Stories that Speak to the Heart and Soul and the soon-to-be released book, Tending the Garden: The Role of the Jewish Woman, Past, Present and Future. She is a columnist for www.chabad.org and she lectures worldwide on a wide array of issues. She can be reached at weisberg@sympatico.ca.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Self Do It!”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Organization President Mohammad Sarafraz.
US Claims ‘No More Extensions’ on Nuclear Talks with Iran
Latest Sections Stories
Road sign in Russian and Yiddish greeting visitors on the road just outside Birobidzhan. (photo by Ben G. Frank)

Birobidzhan railway station sign is the world’s only one spelling the town’s name in Yiddish letters

Ayelet Shaked

She’s seen as a poster child for The Jewish Home’s efforts to reach beyond its Orthodox base.

Teens-Twenties-logo

Girls don’t usually learn Gemara. Everyone knows that.

Lewis-052215-Jewish-Soldiers-logo

Mordechai and his men shared a strong mutual loyalty.

“Can I wear tefillin in the bathroom?” That was the question US Private Nuchim Lebensohn wrote to Mike Tress, president of the Agudath Israel Youth Council, in a letter dated November 18, 1942. Lebensohn was not your typical young American GI. Polish by birth, he was forty-three years old and married when he was drafted […]

To what extent is your child displaying defiance?

This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.

Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.

“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.

Two weeks of intense learning in the classroom about Israel culminated with Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Students attended sessions with their teachers and learned about history, culture, military power, advocacy, slang, cooking, and more.

The nations of the world left the vessel to sit rotting in the water during one of the coldest winters in decades and with its starving and freezing passengers abandoned.

Rabbi Yisroel Edelman, the synagogue’s spiritual leader, declared, “The Young Israel of Deerfield Beach is looking forward to our partnership with the OU. The impact the OU has brought to Jewish communities throughout the country through its outreach and educational resources is enormous and we anticipate the same for our community in Deerfield Beach as well.”

Our goal here is to offer you recipes that you can make on Yom Tov with ingredients you might just have in the house. Enjoy and chag sameach!

More Articles from Chana Weisberg

We’re on one of those really long family road trips. The kind that parenting experts advise will imprint fond memories on your children’s psyche. (How’s that for guilt?) And the kind on which you never leave home without a bottle of Tylenol and your favorite cup of strongly caffeinated, black coffee.

We’re on one of those really long family road trips. The kind that parenting experts advise will imprint fond memories on your children’s psyche. (How’s that for guilt?) And the kind on which you never leave home without a bottle of Tylenol and your favorite cup of strongly caffeinated, black coffee.

Last week, I bought a new brand of detergent.

It promises to remove all stains, even those stubborn, impossible to remove ones–or your money back. Guaranteed.

Last week, I bought a new brand of detergent.

It promises to remove all stains, even those stubborn, impossible to remove ones–or your money back. Guaranteed.

From the great synagogue in Tel Aviv to his performances in the role of Jean Valjean in the hit Broadway show Les Miserables, Dudu Fisher is an international star singer and cantor.

From the great synagogue in Tel Aviv to his performances in the role of Jean Valjean in the hit Broadway show Les Miserables, Dudu Fisher is an international star singer and cantor.

He looks at me with such a wistful expression in his clear blue eyes. His young shoulders are sagging and he appears to be carrying the world’s burdens.

He looks at me with such a wistful expression in his clear blue eyes. His young shoulders are sagging and he appears to be carrying the world’s burdens.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/self-do-it/2006/08/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: