My baby is not yet two years old and she is already covering her eyes with one hand and saying what she thinks is the Shema.
Somehow she figured this out from me but as a new mother I am learning some things are ingrained in her already like the ability to dance. My husband and I don’t remember ever dancing in front of her and but one day there it was; the cutest little jitterbug which is now used for any melody she hears at all, even a ringing doorbell.
What concerns me isn’t her ability or aptitude for learning on her own but what we are teaching her and what she sees on a daily basis. In Los Angeles this is: bulletin boards with obscene and completely immodest pictures, random people swearing at each other and technology that has unfortunately worked its way too much into our home.
What can be done? I have an aversion to Mea Shearim (call it my Jewish self-loathing) and am extremely rebellious so shutting her away in an insular environment just won’t do it for me. On the other hand, I am not as much of a hippie as I would like to think I am.
Mainly, I don’t want her to grow up hating Hebrew school like I did. It’s scary to know that if I want her to grow up to be a kind, holy young woman that I need to educate her the right way. I understand slip-ups happen and I don’t worry easily but I can only hope that the path she takes will be striving to achieve her own personal greatness, and that this includes loving G-d and His/Her creations.
I’m already proud when she waves goodbye to people, and saddened by her (frequent) breakdowns, but as much as I want to mold her to be an upright citizen, I know that she is a part of my husband and I -so some of her DNA is already set.
Supposedly all the small daily occurrences like her baby Shema, and the Shabbat book she loves to look at will get me through this chasm of uncertainty about who she will be. And I hope deep down that all the wisdom and experiences I gained throughout my years will be part of her deciding to take positive actions in her own life.