Photo Credit: Jewish Press

After a talk I gave, the line was long of people waiting patiently to ask questions. The hour was turning late and I thought that there was just one more woman who remained. But after we spoke I realized that behind her a young girl was standing. She could not have been more than ten years old. This child had not complained or given up. She simply stood on her own, silently.

“Hi,” I exclaimed. “You have been here this whole time, all by yourself, and I am so impressed.”


She smiled gingerly.

“Do you have a question?” I asked.

She nodded hesitantly.

“It’s okay,” I said. “What would you like to ask?” I leaned in so that we would be eye level.

The child began to speak but it was difficult to hear her soft voice.

“Let’s try this again,” I said.

“What do I do……” she began. She took a deep breath. “What do I do if I’m scared?”

And then her eyes filled with tears.

Our children are facing a world we could never have imagined. They have learned words like pandemic and PCR tests, seen grisly photos of war and urban shootings, and heard of ugly anti-Semitic attacks that never seemed possible.

This is besides all the ordinary stresses that children face. Emotions frayed with friendships that come and go, school pressures, and family life that may not always go smoothly.

There is one gift we can give our children that will help them not only survive the chaos, but thrive through it all.

The gift of connection.

What is the secret of connection?

The greatest wisdoms of life can be found in lashon kodesh, the language of G-d.

When we want to say ‘hope’ in lashon kodesh, we use the word ‘tikvah.’ The root of that word is ‘kav,’ which means a line. In other words. If there is a line between us, and we are connected, then we have hope together. But if for some reason the line is cut, then chas v’shalom, hope is lost. We have become disconnected.

We must remember this as parents. As long as there is hope there is life. The way to keep hope alive is by keeping the connection alive.

Give time. Put down your phone. Look up from your screen and see your loved ones. They are waiting for you to build connection.

When my children were little, we took them one Sunday to Chelsea Pier. There was a great rock climbing wall that my older children began to climb. My three-year-old at that time decided that he, too, would join his siblings and scale the looming wall. We geared him up, harnessed him, and then he began climbing. I watched his pint-size body go higher and higher in wonder.

After he finally came down, my little boy ran into my arms.

“Weren’t you afraid?” I asked, as I hugged him tight.

My son gave me a huge smile.

“Of course not, Mommy,” he laughed. “I was connected!”

That was my AHA moment.

Our children can scale high walls. They can climb obstacles and overcome challenging heights. There is only one thing that they need. They need to feel connected.

Connected to us, their parents.

Connected to their people, Am Yisrael.

Connected to their land, Eretz Yisrael.

And connected to their G-d, Avinu Shebashamyim.

As long as they feel that connection they will not search elsewhere for love, for acceptance, or for understanding. They will feel strong because they have an identity. And they will feel alive because they have meaning and purpose in their lives.

As summer approaches, let us remember to give our children this incredible gift. Let us use the time we have together to get to know our children better. Be curious about their likes and dislikes. Use the great outdoors to have adventures or take easy walks and bike rides. Look up at the stars. Talk more. Laugh more. Savor each delicious Shabbos. Discover the light within your child – especially that child who pushes your buttons most. He may not express it but he is the one who is craving connection.

Remember. “Yesh Tikvah” – there is hope. You must only reach within yourself and then reach out to create the ‘kav of connection.’

Your children are waiting.

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Slovie Jungreis Wolff is a noted teacher, author, relationships and lecturer. She is the leader of Hineni Couples and the author of “Raising A Child With Soul.” She gives weekly classes and has lectured throughout the U.S., Canada, and South Africa. She can be reached at [email protected].