It is said that we were given two eyes. One for seeing good in others and one for seeing our own faults.
Of course the reality is somewhat distorted! It is much easier to see our own good and the faults in the world. As a parent we spend much of our time shaping our kids, parenting them to become goods people, well balanced adults and role models in society.
Part of this teaching and nurturing is certainly teaching our children to use the correct eye for the correct purpose as described above but I know only too well that I often use my eye that I should be looking critically inward with to see faults in others and situations. I have grumbled about bad service at a restaurant, a nasty taxi driver, an ungrateful event attendee. Our kids are sponges and pick up our view of the world. A few years ago after a taxing day in Israel I came in and complained to Gavin about a rude shop assistant and a taxi driver that ripped me off. I then said in the midst of my frustration I could never live in Israel. That night as I was brushing Temira’s teeth (age 6 at the time) she said “Hey Imma we will never live in Israel because taxi drivers rip you off and shop ladies are rude”. I was stunned and horrified that words speaking of sweeping and unfair generalizations had so negatively clouded the world of my innocent six year old
When we are traveling it is even harder to use one eye to see good. The stress of packing is harder than ever with baggage fees for each bag, rushing to an airport, getting through security etc. Gavin and I usually pull all-nighters working before we leave so we have sleep deprived and add crankiness to the already stressful mix. So it’s always the test when we arrive at our budget hotel to see the good in the situation. We are of course starving kosher travelers to boot. Under stress is when we have the ultimate teaching moments for our kids and growth opportunities for ourselves.
We have used travel to teach our kids to see beauty in the world, to appreciate culture, to be flexible in sometimes crazy situations and to remind them they are Jews no matter where they are – whether its putting up a pop up succah in a national park or eating crackers with peanut butter for days on end in Romania. I hope we have also taught them to use one eye to see good in the world and hopefully with time they will use their other eye to see their own faults and improve their characters and become young adults with 20/20 vision.
Originally published: October 4, 2012