To be Amazed by our Children, What a gift!

Day after day, week after week, month after month we take care of our children, give to them, love them, do homework with them, and give of our time and money for them. We don't ask for much in return, but that they grow to be great solid people who will be happy, joyous and contribute to the world in their own way. 

And there are times we they truly amaze us and we wonder "Did we bring this person up?" "Who is she?" "Where did she get so wise?" 

Following is the story of such a time.

This past December, our daughter had her Bat Mitzvah, an intimate affair at sunset with family and friends, a great meal and dancing. The evening sunset glowed over her like an angel as she read out loud her interpretation of the Torah portion she chose to read. (Being a private ceremony she decided to choose the Torah portion about Adam and Eve.  Following is an excerpt from her speech which we heard for the first time that evening. 

"My torah portion comes from the book of Genesis and takes place in the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden is a perfect place, filled with beauty, honesty and joy. Animals, Adam and Eve are the only beings present. You might remember that God ordained rules for Eve and Adam. God told Adam “You can eat from any tree in the garden except the tree of All Knowledge.”

That's when things start to get interesting. A serpent slithers along and starts up a conversation with Eve. He broaches the subject of the tree of All Knowledge. Eve tells him that “God said you can’t even touch the tree of All Knowledge because you will die.” The serpent disagrees and states that God knew that if they ate of the tree they would be like gods, knowing all things. Eve sees how good to eat the fruit would be, that it was alluring to the eye and how desirable the insight from the tree. She ate and then gave some to Adam and he ate. They achieved knowledge at a great price (being kicked out of the Garden of Eden for one).

Christopher L.C.E Witcombe, an art historian with a P.H.D and studies ranging from Leonardo de Vinci to Prehistoric Art states the traditional view of Eve as “By nature disobedient, guileless, weak-willed, prone to temptation and evil , disloyal, untrustworthy, deceitful and seductive.” Her story was supposed to show to men what women were really like. In many past contexts her actions were interpreted as proving woman’s temptation for evil.

This is one way of reading the story. However, in my personal view, Eve is ambitious and desires more than living in ignorance. She isn’t content with living without knowledge. She craves learning and despises ignorance which we know because conscious of the consequences of disobeying god she still ate the fruit.

Do you think Hillary Clinton, Anne d’Autriche; Elizabeth the 1st, Catherine the Great, Susan B. Anthony, J.K Rowling or even Oprah weren’t ambitiously seeking power through knowledge? Knowledge and ambition can change the world. Knowledge can be stored or traded just like a valuable commodity. Ambition is what drives our leaders to be great. An ignorant but ambitious person can get far in life .A knowledgeable but unambitious person can only teach so many. However if you have both of these qualities you could transform humanity. By having these qualities you can govern a country, start a philanthropic foundation or invent Facebook. You can cure disease, discover an end to world hunger and create world peace. And what did Eve start? Just the human race........"

Stay tuned for the second half.

I bring this up now as I think sometimes we overlook what we have built, created, helped, assisted in and only focus on what we haven't done, what we have neglected, what we have lost or forgotten. 

Take this beautiful first day of spring and stop and count the amazing things in your life and the gratitude that we have the these amazing kids in our lives who will indeed make the world a great place to live.