> Family > Heart of Matter


May 8, 2009 | by Emuna Braverman

I had a house, and then I had children. Preserve your sanity and let go of your attachment of the physical world.

A pen, a pen, my kingdom for a pen.

With apologies to Shakespeare, a pen would be much more useful to me right
now than a horse. And why is it that however many pens I buy, I can never find
one. And how often have I been left on hold for what seems like an interminable
amount of time after a friend says: "Let me just find a pen."

Where are they all? And on top of that where is my tape, my stapler and my
pillow? Where are my tights (mothers of teenage daughters unite!) and my new
blouse? Where is that book I was just reading and that soda I was just drinking?
What happened to that beautiful bowl that used to sit on my dining room table?
And why is the house such a mess?!!

Kids. I believe that the Almighty gave us children to help us let go of our
attachment to the physical world. It's either that or go out of your mind.

How many fastidious people do I know (both male and female) who wasted hours
and energy on shining floors and perfectly arranged rooms, only to trip over
their "cozy coupe" on the way to the antique table now that children
have come into their lives.

Children's toys and paraphernalia dominate what was once a pristine living
room. And those white couches have long changed color.

Is it really worth damaging a child for the sake of a bowl?

There is a price to pay for having children, but we recognize how small it is
in comparison to the pleasure; not to mention that in focusing on our children
and our goals for them, we are lifted above the constraints and demands of the
material world.

If your children break something you are forced to confront your priorities.
Is it really worth damaging a child for the sake of a bowl? Of course not.
Children help take the distortion out of our values.

Not that I'm advocating living like a slob. That's not a healthy environment
for clear thought and directed action. I'm just suggesting that we stop
envisioning those "magazine" homes. They're not for real people with
vibrant families.

There used to be a television show called "Lifestyles of the Rich and
Famous" where, I believe, they showed you around the homes of the
well-known and wealthy. My husband wanted to create an alternative show titled
"Lifestyles of the Wise and Happy" -- the furniture has nicks in it,
the house could use a paint job, the dresser is broken from someone climbing up
the drawers one too many times, but it is a home full of joy and life.

Should I get aggravated about the tights or spend a pleasant afternoon with my daughter?

You usually can't have both except at great emotional cost to our children.
We know that if, God forbid, one of our children were to become ill and we
needed money for treatment, we'd sell everything we own to raise it. We pray
we're not put to such a test. But in our day-to-day living we're constantly
forced to choose: Should I get aggravated about the tights or ignore the issue
and spend a pleasant afternoon with my daughter? Should we spend all our spare
time cleaning or involved in family activities? Children teach us to rise above
our self-absorption on many levels.

It is a gift that our children help us weaken our material drives and
obsessions and lift up to the realm of what really counts. We should thank our
children and the Almighty for such a blessing.

Hey, has anybody seen my pen?

Related Posts

🤯 ⇐ That's you after reading our weekly email.

Our weekly email is chock full of interesting and relevant insights into Jewish history, food, philosophy, current events, holidays and more.
Sign up now. Impress your friends with how much you know.
We will never share your email address and you can unsubscribe in a single click.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram