Yesterday I discovered that my 6 year old daughter believes everything her martial arts coach says. I took her to her training session and saw how she and other little kids sat around listening to the coach intently, taking in everything he was saying. Literally everything. When we drove home and talked, I learned something revealing.
When you can’t do anything to help a child who is suffering at the hands of an evil system in a faraway land, don’t feel useless. You can do five things: 1) Pray for the child, 2) Hold your own children tighter and do everything you can to protect them, 3) Work hard, make lots of money and donate a sizeable amount to help save other children, 4) Use your voting power to keep a similar evil system from establishing itself in your own country, 5) Write to inspire people to bring about change that will help prevent similar tragedies. I am trying to do all these things. This article, that I write with tears in my eyes, is dedicated to Alfie Evans and his brave parents who became victims of the institutionalized evil.
It’s now the second day of Hanukkah. We light only two candles out of eight. There’s still more darkness than light. But each day, another candle is added, and soon the lit candles are not a minority anymore. By the time the holiday is over, all the candles are lit.
We are Jewish, we teach Jewish identity and values to our children, and we observe some of the Jewish laws and traditions in our home. Yet we don’t interact much with the Jewish community.
When I saw my two youngest children cuddling in an armchair one morning, I couldn’t resist snapping a photo. And then I thought, “I’d rather have my little ones spend their mornings cuddling with each other than sitting in a classroom listening to a teacher.”
“When I came into that empty, stuffy, dirty apartment, I sat on the floor and started crying. I was a lonely scared teenager in a foreign country, and my future seemed uncertain. My family and friends were far away and I didn’t have a phone to call them. Nobody cared about me and I had no one to ask for help. I cried for about an hour; then I stood up and got down to work.”
What many parents tell their children: