Big Kids, Big Problems

Big Kids, Big Problems

My oldest child is 21, my youngest is 4. That means I’m a pro at little kid problems. This one’s got lice, that one’s having trouble with her multiplication tables. This one’s handwriting is illegible, that one’s got a friend I wish he didn’t. After two decades of little kid JewishMOMmying, I could write a book (or at least some strongly-worded blog posts) on dealing quickly and fairly easily with all that.

What I know much less about is big-kid problems, which my big girls, who are quickly turning into young women, are initiating me in to. National service or army? This university or that one? This profession or something else? To date or not to date? This guy or that one? To be honest, it can be nerve-wracking as I watch from the sidelines. Watching big girls make big decisions that could impact the rest of their lives.

Last week, I read something in the book Tnufat HaOmer by Rabbi Meir Gueta which I found encouraging for facing my current (actually ongoing) parenting ups and downs and surprises, some welcome and some much less so.

Rabbi Gueta writes, “There is a farmer who plants seeds in the ground and fertilizes them. He gives them water, makes sure they get sun, and takes care of all their needs. But two days after planting them, that farmer gets curious and wants to see what’s going on with his seeds. So he digs into the dirt and sees that nothing is growing at all. On the contrary, the seeds he planted have all rotted! Right away that disappointed farmer decides to give up farming and look for a different job.

“What that farmer doesn’t understand is that in order to grow anything meaningful–whether we are talking about seeds and trees or great things like families and children–it requires patience and netsach, long-term vision as we work towards our goal. Births of all kinds require that long-term vision and patience, as well as consistency and determination. Nothing meaningful can develop or grow without blood, sweat, and tears which is what will ultimately enable, in the words of King David, ‘Those that sow in tears to reap in joy.'”


  1. I love this. Thank you for this post!

  2. Thanks for your encouragement!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • JewishMom

      my pleasure (as you can tell, I’m also encouraging myself!!)

  3. I think also the message is – sometimes you can put in all that work, but there comes a time where you have to actively not do anything and let the process grow for itself. That’s what I’ve taken from that. I know with my semi big kid with what seem like big problems, sometimes there isn’t anything I can do except wait for the process to run its course. And daven of course that that for course will end up in the right place.

  4. Thank you Chana-Jenny, your observations are so well-balanced; practical and honest, yet positive and inspiring.
    I heard a of a wonderful way to look at the difficulties inherent in bringing up kids.
    When kids fight with each other, or come home from school crying due to yet another friendship fallout, or defy their parents, these are all part of the learning curve by which a thinking and caring adult is created. They are working out how to deal with future relationships, and future challenges.
    Our job as parents is to model good behaviour, intervene only if there is danger to people or property and at times when everyone is calm and receptive,discuss those difficult issues and get the children to come up with better ways of handling them.

    • JewishMom

      thank you mina, it’s good to have such an experienced mother and grandmother at who can provide us with perspective and hard-won wisdom!

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