Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Giving children something to hold onto

One of the nicest things about having children in seminary/yeshiva is that they share with me the Torah and life lessons they have learned there. It is such a bracha to listen to them give over all the precious jewels of truth that they have discovered. This is one of the treasures my daughter most recently shared with me. During a class the teacher spoke of the saying, "holding on to (or hiding) behind their mother's skirt." The teacher pointed out that as time has gone by and fashions changed there was less and less for the children to hold on to or hide behind.
We all realize that fashions have changed. Hemlines on ladies skirts and dresses have been down to the floor and back up again. Depending of the whims of designers and what society deems acceptable the skirts have gone from maxi to micromini. But have we ever thought about how this has affected our children?
I am reminded of shopping with my three little ones. There we were in any given store traipsing up and down the aisles looking for this or that, children cling to my skirt. This is how I trained them to shop with me. Sometimes I even had all three connected to my skirt, depending on whether or not there was a shopping cart for the youngest to ride in. The shopping had to be done and I could not always hold their hands. I did not allow them to walk away from me so holding on to my skirt was our only option.
There were also times when we would go somewhere new and unfamiliar. Although my children for the most part were very outgoing, I remember occasionally feeling a gentle tug at my skirt. I would look down into one of my children's wondering eyes peeking from behind their security blanket, my skirt. I would stroke their hair and smile at them, assuring them we were all just fine.
Rebbe Nachman teaches that, "The clothing a person wears is indicative of his character." (Alef Bet book pg.40) What I wear as queen of my home and a daughter of the King, shows who I am. It also gives my children something to hold on to. A tradition of faith and stability. A tradition of loving and respecting myself. I teach my daughters and my son how a lady looks. Now, I realize that it doesn't end there. Modesty goes far beyond keeping myself lovely, respectable and covered. It all starts in my heart and if that is the case than all the more so I need to strive for this modesty.
It truly is up to us, dear ladies. We are the ones who are the hearts of our homes. We are the ones who give the love of Judaism to our children and we are the ones who must give our beloved children something to hold on to, so they can be secure in this world.
I miss feeling that slight drag on my skirt knowing they were right there with me. B'ezrat Hashem, I have given them more. Something stronger than my skirt, and more stable than fluctuating hemlines. I pray the something that I have given them to always hold on to is Hashem and his Holy Torah.

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