Thursday, May 30, 2013

Shelach -73 The Spies and Parenting

The children of Israel are about to enter the land of Israel. They then display a lack of faith in God by demanding that spies be sent to check out the land. The mission of the spies was a disaster. They spoke badly about the Promised Land causing a national crisis of faith. God then decreed that the people would spend the next 40 years in the desert until that  generation had  died out. The following generation would have the privilege to enter and conquer the ' promised land.'

 The Bible commentaries ask – what went wrong, what caused the greatest people of that generation to slander the Promised Land and undermine the people's will to enter the Promised Land?

 The Zohar explains that the spies went on their mission knowing that in the new order in the land of Israel, they would no longer live  spiritual lives in close proximity to Godliness, but would have to get involved in the physical world. This would require a new leadership. This was the beginning of their ' descent 'from leadership and greatness. 

So they set out on this ' national ' mission tainted with subconscious negative thoughts and feelings that distorted their ' view ' of the land of Israel. God made sure that the spies would go unnoticed by causing the ' evil nations ' living in the land to be busy attending many funerals. The spies interpreted this in a negative way.' It is a land that eats its inhabitants'. If they were wearing positive lenses, they would have seen the hand of God coming to their aid.

The lesson – how we view people or incidents has sometimes more to do with our state of mind, our feelings than the person or events themselves.

For parents having a ' rough parenting time' or having their buttons continually pushed, how they view our kids can have a big impact on their kids, the interventions they use and of course on their own emotional growth.

Negative feelings, helplessness and despair can easily lead parents to view their kids as ' oppositional, defiant, difficult, aggressive, coercive, lazy, rude, manipulative, attention-seeking, and irresponsible etc. And if you are getting professional help, this description will help your kid get the Oppositional, defiant disorder – O.D.D label. If a parent is feeling negative and down, it is easy to attribute kid's behavior to negative character traits.

If we are feeling positive about ourselves, and see ourselves as a source of help and joy for our kids, we are more likely not to say – my son is a difficult kid, but rather my son has difficulties and challenges. We will be able to view him with ' compassion' and say the CPS – collaborative problem solving – manta ' children do well if they can, and not children do well if they want to'. We will attribute his problems to lagging skills and not ' motivational 'issues. We will not try to make him ' wanna' behave but rather find out what is getting in his way.

Our view of our kids can impact on our own personal growth.  If we see our kids as defiant, coercive, manipulative etc we are more likely to use control, power, leverage, threats, bribes, rewards, punishments and consequences , ' doing to' your kids. If we see kids as having  lagging skills , we will ' work with them ' collaborating to solve problems , teaching skills and enhancing our  relationship with them. In this way, if we as parents become more aware of ourselves, our challenging kids can become the catalysts to tremendous emotional growth.

Positive feelings enable us to see our kids in a more compassionate way, and help us also connect to our inner beings and values. We can then, in the words of a leading business consultant Rabbi David Lapin, - Lead by Greatness.  CPS and its mantra ' children do well if they can allows us to ' lead by greatness' and help not only our kids but ourselves realize great potential

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