I hope you all had a wonderful and uplifting Shavuot.
Over Shavuot we celebrated the giving of the 10 commandments. I started to think about what my 10 commandments of parenting would look like. This was a pretty tricky task, but one commandment did materialize with ease. It is a mantra that I say to myself, a type of mission statement:
“We are raising children, not flowers.”
This mantra of mine comes from a story found in the book “A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul.” David is in the garden with his two kids. He is watching his seven year old son pushing the lawnmower and showing him how to use it. His wife calls to him with a question and he turns to answer her. Meanwhilst his son continues pushing the lawnmower to the edge of the lawn and through the flower bed. David turns around, sees the damage and begins to lose control, after all these flower beds were the envy of the neighborhood. As he starts to shout, his wife Jan walks over, places a hand on his shoulder and says, “David, please remember we are raising children not flowers.”
I use some variation of this, muttering it to myself as all sorts of situations arise that challenge me e.g. a child smashes a dinner plate. “Okay,” I tell myself. “Breathe and remember, we are raising children not plates.” It reminds me to prioritize what is important in life and to value relationships over all else.
Flowers is one of the beautiful minhagim of Shavuot. Shuls and homes were decorated with greenery and flowers for Shavuot, just like we do for weddings. These flowers reminded us of the greenery and flowers that miraculously grew at the base of Har Sinai to commemorate the giving of the Torah. Shavuot was our wedding with Hashem, a reminder of the positive and loving relationship we want with Him.
Let’s take our inspiration from Shavuot and infuse our relationships this week with some flowers.
“Remember we are raising children, not flowers.”
Wishing you a good week