Friday, April 8, 2011

A Word from the Director: 4/8/2011

I would like to start by thanking all of those who came over to me with comments about the past few weekly newsletters. I appreciate the feedback and constructive criticism. Please feel free to comment. My e-mail is

When I went to yeshiva, the worst thing that ever happened to anybody was when a boy was called and told that he had to come home and deal with a parent who had just passed on. To me, the thought of sitting on an airplane by yourself going home to such a loss was such an unbearable thought. The inability to say goodbye and the lack of closure even today is an unbearable thought.

This week a student who we have known for five years had to come home to an almost similar situation. His mom has been hospitalized for the past few months while the son has been serving in the Israeli army. The father told him on Friday that the situation is deteriorating and that he should take the first flight home after Shabbos. He took the first flight and unfortunately, his mom passed away Shabbos afternoon at 6:45 Los Angeles time, while the boy was air bound. He would be returning for the funeral in Eretz Yisroel the next day. I get the chills just thinking about it.

There is no answer to why, but we can be supportive and let him know that he is not alone. The question is always how do we continue during challenging times and how do we teach our children to handle life on life’s terms. I think a possible answer is teaching resilience. We live in a world where we like to cushion our children and provide everything for them in both a physical and emotional way, and Baruch Hashem for the most part we are able to. Often providing more than what we grew up with. We often try to shelter our children from knowing about the struggles and challenges of others. I worked for many years in a high school and spent many hours with parents calling me to change or fix the kids’ grades. Of course, we want the best for them but are we teaching them to survive when the going gets tough.

Resilient children are hopeful and possess high self worth. They feel special and appreciated. They have learned to set realistic goals and expectations. They have developed the ability to solve problems and make decisions, and thus are more likely to view mistakes, hardships and obstacles as challenges to confront – rather than as stressors to avoid. Resilient children are aware of their weaknesses and vulnerabilities but they also recognize their strong point and talents. They have developed effective interpersonal skills with peers and adults and are able to seek out assistance and nurturance in appropriate ways.

I have compiled a partial list of ways to raise a resilient family:
• Communicating effectively and listening actively.
• Loving our children in ways that help them feel special and appreciated.
• Accepting our children for who they are and helping them set realistic expectations and goals.
• Helping our children experience success by identifying and reinforcing their strengths
• Helping children recognize that mistakes are experiences from which to learn.
• Developing responsibility, compassion and a social conscience, by providing children with opportunities to contribute.
• Teaching our children to solve problems and make decisions.
• Discipline in a way that promotes self-discipline and self-worth.
• Attribute positive meanings to a situation
• Maintain family flexibility

I would like to thank Moshe Fogelman for sponsoring our Thursday night barbecue at Aish Tamid.

Aish Tamid provides dinner for our 30-40 students, five nights a week. For sponsorship, please call our office at 323-634-0505. We should all have a restful and meaningful Shabbos with our families.

Rabbi Gavriel Hershoff

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