Monday, December 17, 2012

"find another solution to the anger pollution"

In the chorus to the song entitled, "Stop, Think, and Control" (words and music by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek) children learn not only to sing the words, but to internalize the message that that we all  get angry, but that there are ways of dealing with those feelings. The words go like this:
 "STOP, THINK, TAKE CONTROL of yourself, 
 You've got to STOP, THINK AND CONTROL. 
Find another solution to the anger pollution.
 Gotta Stop Think and Control"

Very young children know about feelings. They want and need the tools to express those feelings. They need the words, they need the role models.  They know very well that we ALL get angry. They- as well as all of the adults in their midst need to  learn to USE WORDS. But to be really effective, they need to learn this in a society where the adults are also learning to find other  solutions to the ANGER POLLUTION in our culture, and in the world.

It is only too easy to point fingers to "mental illness" and "gun control" very big, 'macro issues' Yes, certainly  more gun laws need to be enacted, and understanding, treatment, and legislation of mental illness need to change.

Words like "EVIL"  are hard to grasp. Using words like "Sick" or "Bad" should be used very cautiously with young children because all kids get sick, and a situation like mass murder is well beyond 'bad.'  Think about how terrible things can happen when people lose control and stop thinking.  Help children talk about what to do when they get angry.  This is a conversation that should be part of our every day conversations not just in response to tragedy. 

How to help change a culture? Culture is the language we use every day. Culture is  the ways we relate to each other. It is the lyrics of our songs. It is what we believe in and how we work and play. It is what we eat and how we share meals together. Our culture is the little things that we do everyday. Those little things become the culture which defines us.

Keep it simple. While we call for changes in the entertainment industry, turn off the TV- the news as well as the 'drama' and the eliminate violent video games. 

While we call for gun control legislation on the national level, on a  personal level, let's think about some non-violent solutions to the 'anger pollution'  we all confront each day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Boomerang of "Nachas"

Nachas- that special feeling of pride and satisfaction you get from others.
Interestingly you can't 'give' it to yourself. "Yidishe Nachas" is that special feeling that mothers and grandmothers would/do feel when the 'kinder' the children, or the 'anechkla' (grandchildren) do something that we value. And that is the point of the story. We show pride in certain actions, words, achievements, accomplishments, and sensitivities in our kids and that's one of the ways they learn what it is that we value.
I would do anything if only I could see again the smile of my own mother a"h. Her smile meant everything to me and I learned all those behaviors, words and kindnesses that I could do that would make her smile.

Nachas 2.o - this is what I call the next stage of nachas. When after years of 'input' -living a life of smiles and encouragement, directions and support it comes back to you. The first level is the direct sense of pride when the next generation is learning and the nachas you get is direct from their actions. The second stage is when they call to tell you what they know will give you nachas!
Case in point: After a recent plane ride with his young sons, my son called me with a "nachas report"
" Mommy,You are gonna love this"- he said knowingly, "When Yosef looked out the window of the plane he saw the incredible sunset, and he said 'Wow, I got to paint that!" as he tore open his backpack of art supplies."
"Yidishe Nachas" not only comes at the Seder. It is based on sharing our passions, our values, our appreciation every day of the year. My kids know how I love the mountains and the sunsets, the birds and the flowers and basically all of the natural world. It is sursprising that I still have full use of my arms from all the times I spent pointing enthusiastically and screaming "Look at the sunset, Look at the mountains"- But my kids learned, and have called me from wherever they are when they see a spectacular sunset.
2.0 nachas- seeing that we can transmit the values we live - by age 6 a child can respond to the natural world, spiritually with Brachot (blessings) and with a desire to engage with the world, and make it a part of himself by translating it into his art!
Trust me - for an artist, and a bubbie like me, this is real nachas!
So, nu?
What brings you nachas?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Don’t be a chicken!

But be sure to come meet ours in March!
Don’t miss out on an inspirational Shabbaton filled with learning, celebration, and groundbreaking Jewish thought.
Join an intergenerational, pluralistic community of Jewish farmers, rabbis, educators, scholars and consumers from across the country. Register now before it is too late!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Beit Midrash at Kayam Farm

While the words "Beit Midrash" and 'farm' don't frequently occur in the same sentence, they have become a combination over the past three years at the Pearlstone Retreat Center in Reistertown, MD.
The first time we attended the Kayam Farm Beit Midrash, I told my husband it would be a glatt -kosher experience, a Shabbos of learning, in a beautiful setting with more than adequate accomodations. Afterall, farming is not camping, and you do need a good night's sleep. I did not tell him in advance what the median age might be.
Let's just say that we helped to make it a truly intergenerational experience. We were so impressed with this younger generation and their enthusiasm not only for sustainable agriculture, but for really wanting to look into classical Jewish texts, and to see what Judaism has to say and teach us about our relationship to the land- the land of Israel, as well as the land we live on. and for many, work on.
This is a serious enterprise of combining Torah with cutting edge- sustainable, organic agricultural concepts. I was so impressed by the commitment to learn, live, eat, and pray in new and in traditional ways. This is an opportunity to see how some people who may never have opened a Jewish text have now found a reason and a way to delve into the learning.
Come see for yourself, spend a Shabbat on the farm- check out what is already growing in the green house, taste the homemade cheese and find a study partner who may be double, or half your age.
Take a Risk.
To be a 'green bubbie' you don't need your own children, you can nourish local sprouts! There is a wonderful crop of new sprouts out there and they are growing up Jewish, and healthy!
Come for Shabbos!
contact me for details on registering