It’s Not About You
By: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
Yesterday’s column, "Recalculating," discussed the importance of helping our children correct their errors in a calm tone and mindset. However, as we all know, it is much easier said than done, as it is often difficult to maintain our equilibrium when our children make mistakes – all the more so if they ignored our advice, or are disrespectful in the process.
Please permit me to share a train of thought with you, that might be helpful in helping us guide our children effectively.
Some thirty years ago, when Rabbi Aron Fink, Dean of Ateres Bais Yakov of Monsey, informed Rabbi Yakov Weinberg zt”l that he planned on entering the field of chinuch (education), his rebbi told him the following, “Always keep in mind that it’s not about you.” And while that particular comment was in the context of a conversation they were having, I found that to be a deeply insightful thought, one we would all do well to internalize.
When your teenage child loses his or her temper and speaks to you disrespectfully, he or she has an anger management problem – one that you can be helpful in correcting. But it is not about you. It so happens that as a close family member, who also is responsible for setting limits, you were the recipient of the anger. But it is not about you. To be sure, it is your responsibility as a parent to explore what provoked the anger, and what you might have done differently during that conversation to deescalate things (in that case, part of it really is about you).
One thing is certain though. Should you choose to take it personally; you are much more likely to strike back in anger instead of providing guidance and assistance.
So; repeat this several times in front of a mirror: It’s not about me. It’s not about me. It’s not about me.
© 2009 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved
For the second year, we are running a concert to benefit the work of Project YES; a program I started 13 years ago to assist teens at risk with the help of Rabbi Moshe Sherer zt”l and with the backing and encouragement of the members of the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah Shlit”a. The concert will be held this Sunday evening, November 15th, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. in the Merkin Concert Hall, featuring Avrohom Fried and Cantor Yitzchok Meir Helfgot.
As you can well imagine, the stress of today’s precarious environment is directly affecting the tranquility of many homes in our communities. As a direct result, the phone lines at Project YES have been ringing more than ever as parents seek assistance.
Despite the challenges of increased requests for help, reductions in government funding, and diminished financial support from donors, we are deeply committed to providing life-saving support for the children and families who turn to us for help.
In fact, we will soon be rolling out an exciting new initiative that will generate an exponential increase in the number of children being served by our Teen Mentoring program.
We are partnering with Bnos Agudath Israel, to train Bnos leaders in cities across North America, in partnership with their local schools, to become “big sisters” to the children in their communities.
Please help us help our children by becoming a Concert Sponsor or by contributing to Project YES.
We need your support to continue our life-saving work. It is just that simple.
Now more than ever.
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
Founder and Director of Project YES
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