The Principal’s Son

The Principal’s Son

My 4-year-old, Yaakov, attends gan with the sons of 2 of my older children’s principals.

It has been pretty fascinating for me to see these women who generally inspire respect bordering on awe in hundreds of girls and their parents, interacting as mothers like you and me with their 4-year-old sons.

This morning when I dropped off Yaakov at 8:30, one of the principals was kneeling down on the ground, negotiating with her 4-year-old.

“But, sweety, why don’t you want to stay at gan today? I know Ganenet Dorit is out sick today, but today will still be really fun, soon Miri the music teacher will be here…You’ll see” her voice half-encouraging, half-pleading.

On my way out, as I opened my umbrella and headed home in the pouring rain, I thought of my parenting class from last night. There are just 4 of us in the class, so we have gotten to know each other and our individual parenting challenges extremely well.

The three other participants are all accomplished career women, one spends her days setting up multi-million-shekel deals, another on the cutting edge of the biotech industry, another helping other mothers navigate their children’s struggles and challenges.

And behind each woman, behind closed doors, lies a struggle with a child or children which leaves these bright, successful, caring women feeling frustration, anger, humbled at best, powerless at worst.

And that is, I thought, how Hashem meant motherhood to be. Facing children who provide personally-crafted tests and challenges, to press exactly our specific personal buttons and triggers…

Because if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.


  1. Chana Jenny,

    I thought I read in one of your articles, that as children grow and become different ages, their challenges are designed to also help the parent mature.
    So if they are stubborn, perhaps the parent needs to be less rigid, etc.

    I found that particular article, whichever it was, very helpful because child raising is not one-sided. We raise them, but they raise us too.

    Thanks for each day of inspiration you provide for us all.
    And Shabbat Shalom to you and your readers.

    • thank for your remembering! i remember talked about that in a peptalk a made a few weeks ago, motherhood 101 (or something similar)

  2. I love the way you find a growing point wherever you go!
    Just today, a friend told me a nice D’var Torah. In the Haggada it says ואת עמלינו- אלו הבנים “and our toil: this refers to the children.”
    This could be taken to mean that raising children is meant to be hard work; don’t expect them to grow like dandelions! Taking the point further- it says “our toil” perhaps implying the hard work of our own character improvement through dealing with our children.

  3. This is so true! Thank you for the reminder!

  4. I read the proverbs of Solomon every day, and I think that the words you just put together in your last line of this article, should be there! Well-said! “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

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