As a parent, there is one thing that can easily swell our hearts, bring instant joy and constant happiness – our children. Debbie and I have now been in the parenting business for over 19 years and we continually feel blessed by the little packages of joy that were delivered to us by the stork 19 and 17 years ago. Yes, I do not really believe that the stork delivers babies any more, even if in my mind he would be the same one that sold pickles on TV a few years ago. The pride that I feel is not always limited to my own children, but at times the children of friends and associates when they achieve accomplishments in their lives.
Last Friday night, the USY youth group that my wife and I co-chair led the Friday night services at our Jewish Center. The kids, ranging in age from 15 – 18, volunteered to participate in the service and went up when it was their turn to lead the prayers and all of them did a great job. The great feeling that we felt were not only for watching these formerly little children carrying themselves as young adults (including our Rebecca), but also the sense of what they have learned and the potential direction of their lives. Based on some of the recent reports regarding the decline of youth involvement in religious institutions, it was wonderful to see this group be involved and shows signs of remaining somewhat committed in the future. Now it is true that I do not know what the future holds for them and the direction that they will pursue, at least there is a sense that they have gained something up to this point.
Sunday, we again had the chance to kvell (feel happy, proud) as we went to watch our older daughter, Gabrielle, sing with her choir for the last time this school year. I have to say, the singing level between the concerts we went to at the end of high school and the caliber of the choirs we heard was a huge difference, with the chance to clearly hear the different vocal parts and the blending of voices. We sat there amazed that our child was a part of this group. Nevertheless, there she was, standing up there and singing.
I do not usually spend the time to gush over my children. I talk about them and their accomplishments and then move to other topics. I am, however, a firm believer in the importance of family. I value my wife and children, our brothers and their families, and, of course, our parents. I feel fortunate to be in this family. When they achieve things, I am always proud of them. OK, now that I’ve gushed, it is time to move on…