Our five-year-old Yishama started Kindergarten this week. We were very excited for him to go to the Carmel Academy. His brother Yadid loves the school. While Yishama’s experience has been amazing so far, I did not prepare myself for Yishama’s issues around this transition. Yesterday Yishama got into a bit of fight on the bus.
At the end of Ki Tetzei, this week’s Torah portion, we read:
Remember what Amalek did to you, on the way when you were leaving Egypt, that he happened upon you on the way, and he stuck those of you who were in the rear, all the weaklings at your rear, when you were faint and exhausted, and he did not fear God. ” ( Deuteronomy 25:17-18).
We are commanded to remember what someone did to us while we were in transition from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the land of Israel. It is obvious that transitions are always hard. It is in this time that we are the most vulnerable, but it also during this period that we can grow the most.
As we are making our way into the next phase of our lives, we should not take these transitions for granted. This is a time to remember. We are all pushed to next stage of our unfolding success. As an adult I pause to realize that I have spent the better part of my life putting my best face forward to succeed. When have I taken the time to deeply explore my failures?
As a parent I want my children to have success. I cannot just focus on what drives them forward. I need to also empower myself and my children to connect to the weaker parts, those parts of ourselves that might push to the rear. If we do not deal with them in a time of safety, someone else might exploit them later. As much as Yishama might have been a bully on the bus, it was out of weakness. While we might have punished him for his behavior, he needed to be supported to deal with it. This morning Yishama took responsibility for his actions and made up with the other child. And yes they hugged. I am confident that this was a huge growing experience for him. Now we just need to deal with Yishama’s difficulty in getting dressed in the morning. I think Yishama might still turn out alright, I just need to give him more time to pick out his pants. We do not want to get left behind and miss the bus.