Beyond the Disguise

This is my first blog in TOI and it’s exciting.

It’s exciting to have the opportunity to share my passion.

It’s exciting to help parents get a new outlook at parenting.

It’s exciting to help them discover the joy of parenting.

Disclaimer: I do not give parenting tips or teach a method.  I teach an approach.  The essence of this approach  is based on understanding the dynamics between parents and children.  This understanding is what can empower today’s parents who are carrying an unbearable burden of pressure and guilt.  After that, they won’t need advice…

Here’s a common issue in many homes:  A child who constantly fights with his siblings and is always at odds with his parents, while in school he’s popular, considerate and cooperative.

It’s hard to believe that these descriptions are attributed to the same one child.  Which portrays the ‘real child’, and what’s a disguise?  Is it the behavior at home or the behavior in school?

Let’s talk about costumes.  Do costumes conceal or reveal?

Actually, costumes are multifaceted, they conceal but they can reveal as well.  Realizing that what I see is only a disguise will motivate me to reveal what’s hidden behind the costume.  I will look beyond to discover what is hidden from my direct sight.

Usually, our actions and reactions in most situations are determined by what we see.  But is ‘what you see’ really ‘what you get’? Or is there more to it than meets the eye?

Just a few weeks ago on Tu B’shvat we planted seeds deep in the frozen ground.  Planting at the height of winter doesn’t seem to be realistic or promising.  What meets the eye is seemingly not conducive to growth.  What can possibly become of these seeds?

Yet when the seeds sprout we’re not surprised.  We knew that it would only be a matter of time before the seeds become blossoms and fruits.  We totally believed that it would happen.

There’s a common theme that progresses from Tu B’shvat to Purim.  It’s about knowing that there’s more than meets the eye.  On Tu B’shvat, the outcome is initially hidden from sight.  Purim too is laden with concealment.  That’s the major theme that flows through the story of Purim as Queen Esther refrains from revealing her true identity.  It seems like all is lost and then miracles begin to unveil as the story unfolds.

Knowing that there is more than meets the eye and looking ‘beyond’ requires taking a step back, getting a new perspective.  It’s only then that we can reveal what wasn’t visible to us.

That simple seed hidden in the frozen ground will grow and blossom.  It’s just a question of time. Similarly, it’s just a question of time till we see the real child behind the costume, and that child is amazing.  We know that!

The Lubavicher Rebbe expounds on this as follows:

Not letting the disguise fool us / Lubavicher Rebbe

On Purim we see people disguised in different costumes.  One may be a clown, another- a monster, another- an animal or beast of some sort.

In our daily lives too, we meet people in ‘disguise’.  One is disguised as a miser, another as unmannerly and rude, and perhaps another as an uncaring, insensitive person.

Despite what appears to be, this is not what they really are; it’s only a disguise.  Deep in their hearts, these are all good Jews, full of beauty and purity.  There is no need to react and become annoyed from what they seem to be.  We must simply find the way to expose the beauty of their pure Jewish souls.

That is the true meaning of Ahavat Yisrael, loving our fellow Jews.

Our children are also often in ‘costume’.   Don’t be fooled by the costume, even if it seems real.  Simply seeing beyond the disguise is the gist of loving our children.  That’s the way to expose the beauty of their pure souls.

So take a step back and just observe.  The new outlook will lead to new insights.  That’s the core of it; an insight, as opposed to what appears in my direct line of sight.

Taking that step back is the biggest step forward that you can take in your relationship with your child.

About the Author
Chagit Zelcer is a counselor and consultant in the Shefer Approach. Upon training at the Shefer Institute in Jerusalem, she became deeply committed to helping parents discover the joy of confident parenting through workshops as well as private consults. Realizing that many parents aspire to learn the concepts of the approach conveniently and in a user-friendly format she created 'SHEFERCOURSE', the online parenting course in the Shefer Approach in English, which enables parents a comprehensive learning experience from anywhere and at any time.
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