Sometimes hearing a new idea can change everything.
Lately I have been feeling depleted as I continue to encourage, cajole and incentivize my kids to keep up with their schoolwork. Why am I spending so much time and energy? Why shouldn’t I just focus on my youngest child who really enjoys schoolwork? Deep down, sometimes I feel like giving up.
Giving up is always an option. But it is exactly the opposite of what I really want to do. And it’s exactly the opposite of what I want my kids to do too. I want them to persevere and push through difficult feelings and to work hard. Ultimately, I want them to have faith in themselves.
And if I ask myself, Ayeka? (or where am I?) I know that I need to have more faith in them too.
Faith is a big idea. It’s what undergirds religious life. It connotes the belief in a Supreme Being. It belongs to the world of philosophy.
Faith is also an idea with very practical, day-to-day applications in the intimate circles of our homes.
Faith challenges us to “keep faith” in our children and the core belief that they are born capable, with the potential to grow and change.
Faith presupposes that we also live with doubt, and to be mindful when doubt overwhelms our intimate relationships and the impact that may have on our kids.
And while faith is future oriented, it is also our inheritance from the past. It reminds us to recognize those who had faith in us and channel that energy forward to our children and partners.
I invite you to take out a pen and some paper and reflect for a bit.
Where am I with “keeping faith” with my children or in an important relationship?
What is a step I can take to bolster my sense of faith in those I love the most?
Is there a mantra or prayer that I can repeat to myself that can keep me moving forward even when the path feels too long?
Faith Can Be Redemptive
I got to thinking about faith and doubt in our relationships after a webinar I heard in tribute to the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi of England who died of cancer just over a month ago. According to Rabbi Sacks, living a life of faith, whether it’s the religious kind, or the everyday kind, can be redemptive.
In an essay he wrote in the days leading up to the Jewish new year, Rabbi Sacks wrote about the impact of God’s faith in human beings, “The one thing that can rescue us from despair and failure to fulfill our potential is the knowledge that someone believes in us more than we believe in ourselves. That is what God does. He believes in us more than we believe in ourselves. However many times we fail, He forgives us. However many times we fall, He lifts us. And He never gives up….At the heart of Judaism is one utterly transformative belief: Our faith in God’s faith in us.”
And maybe this is the kind of faith that our children ultimately need from us, too.