Monday, July 15, 2013

Rethink, Revamp, Restructure: The Destructiveness of I Can't

Repost August 2011. Tonight begins the Jewish holiday of Tisha B'Av. It is said that on this day both Holy Temples were destroyed by invaders and the Jewish people dispersed throughout the globe. This is the day that we remember the evil that befell us and lament the destruction of the Holy Temples. Many have added additional meaning to this holiday in recent years. This is my take.....

There are times throughout our year that we need to sit and reflect upon our past and what our future holds. Especially when you have children, you need to reexamine how they are progressing, review their supports and decide what needs to be changed, restructured and revamped. In fact I have found that most of my time is spent trying to figure out if everything we are doing for the boys is right, not enough or too much. Honestly I have yet to figure out the answer to any of these questions.

There is no doubt that a lot of what we do is driven by guilt. A lot of parental guilt. I readily admit it. I am so afraid that if we do not try some new idea or approach to an issue and the boys’ fail or do not proceed on schedule that we did them a disservice. I know Wise Old Sage lays awake at night worried and frightened for the boys, for their future and their ability to lead a successful life. You might say that fear drives us even at times more than guilt does. I admit it. I acknowledge it. It is a failing to be driven by fear. I know that as well.

Now WoS and I do admit that there are many versions of a successful life and what that entails too. For me it is the ability to take care of yourself; enjoy your profession; find that you have enough money for the things you need and seek out a mate with whom to share your life; if not a mate then friends and compatriots who share your interests and values. Ultimately of course, a successful life lived is one that has been a happy life.

                                                                           To Have Succeeded

To laugh often and love much:
To win respect of intelligent people
And the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest critics
And endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give one's self;
To leave the world a little better,
Whether by a healthy child,
A garden patch,
Or redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm
And sung with exultation;
To know even one life has breathed easier
Because you have lived...
This is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

In all honesty I have found that this time of year is even more introspective for me. The boys have finished their summer courses and this year especially, there is a huge transition coming up for the family in a few weeks. CM2 starts college full time. (Update: CM2 is now a college junior and it is MR. GS who is starting his new masters program) That in and of itself would elicit thought provoking review, but in this season, we also celebrate the Jewish holiday of Tisha b’Av.

Loosely translated it means the 9th day of the month of Av. It is a mourning holiday. It is solemn and serene all in the name of the remembrance of past tragedies. It was the day that the first Holy Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians. It was the day the second Holy Temple was destroyed by the Romans. It is the day the Romans ended the Bar Kochba revolt and tried to turn Jerusalem into a pagan city. It is the beginning of the eons of persecution, slaughter and diaspora worldwide. It is on this day that all the major tragedies that happened to the Jewish people are remembered. For the religious they fast and pray and study Torah. For me it is a day to rethink the world around me and to figure out how to make myself a better parent, spouse or friend.

But the underlying message of Tisha B’Av is simple really. It is also not for the Jewish people alone. It is a guide to figuring out who you are and where you want to go with your life. It is a guide to figuring out your strengths, your weaknesses and your true path. Listen to the video below, the message is very simple, yet it carries with it the utmost challenge.



We are faced with many hurdles as parents of special needs children, for our children are faced with many obstacles. We don't have time for "I can't." We don't have time for "false tears." For our children's future depends on our ability to say "I can," and to take the time to rethink, revamp and restructure what needs to be done.

So in conclusion and in remembrance of this holiday I wish the following for you all: May there be no tears next year. May we no longer be afraid. May we banish fear, in order that we may realize all that we can truly be and all that we can truly accomplish. May we believe in ourselves enough to know that we can secure a joyous future for our children and even a joyous future for ourselves. May we banish fear enough to know that we can also secure a joyous present for us and our posterity.

For those of my Jewish friends who do fast, may it be an easy fast and may your study of Torah bring you great joy.