Setting an example

So much for my blogging Elul. I haven’t been here in a number of days.

We have continued our experiment, choosing a mitzvah a day to focus on as a family, but I have seen the kids so little this week that I haven’t been able to nag them monitor their progress as much as I would have liked. They chose v’ahavta l’reecha kamocha yesterday. This mostly related to school and didn’t seem to spill over to a cessation of sibling rivalries or bickering, unfortunately. Today they chose don l’kav zchut, giving someone the benefit of the doubt. This seemed to go better, but wasn’t as relevant throughout the day as some other choices, like brachot.

Back to school and back to my full-time work load has simply been the focus this week, consuming a lot of time.

I am not sorry for staying away for the few days; I was needed in the real world, not the cyber-world, and it is an important part of my Elul experience to remember that and stay focused on it.

Jack B. put up and interesting article in June that I stumbled upon now, called “Mean Girls Come from Mean Moms.”  He has an interesting premise that basically states that girls aren’t mean because their moms are mean to them. Girls are mean because they see and hear their moms being catty and mean to other women. I never really thought about it that way before. But it is just another stark reminder that our children do as we do, more than as we say.

My eldest daughter started a blog this week. She is both more proficient and more profound than I. I am at once awed by her efforts so far, and equally unsettled by them. She spends her time singing, reading, working with / playing with little children and now blogging. Which is exactly what she sees me doing.  (To be fair to myself, she also loves to come learn Torah, something she sees me do as well.)

I suppose I should be proud. If she resented my time blogging she certainly wouldn’t emulate it right? At the same time, I never want my children to feel that my time on the computer comes before them. Sometimes they do feel that way, since I can’t always shut off work when they are home.

So once again, it all comes down to balance. I invited my daughter to “guest blog” here, even though her doing so may put me out of business.

My hope is that in sharing this on line experience it becomes family time instead of competing with it.

Now to just translate this into everything else in my life. I have to keep reminding myself every single day that my children will grow to become what they see us be, not what we tell them to be. I realized very early on as a parent that raising good kids meant raising up myself. Being a better me would make the best “thems”.  Yet I have to keep being reminded. It is so much easier to give fine speeches than to set a fine example.

So when I don’t blog Elul, you will know that I am demonstrating to my children that this isn’t my parnasa and it isn’t my family. It is my outlet. An outlet which has value and is important to me but never to the extent of eclipsing higher priorities.

And that’s me raising up myself.

Related Reading: