My 6-Year-Old’s Wise Riddle

My 6-Year-Old’s Wise Riddle

A few days ago, my 6-year-old Yaakov asked me the following riddle: “Eema, imagine you are stuck in a deep pit with a grizzly bear. What should you do?”
I’m terrible at riddles, so I didn’t even try to figure this one out. “I don’t know, Yaakov, what should I do?”
“Stop imagining!”Yaakov rolled with giggles and looked very proud of himself.
And truth was, I realized, he had the right to be proud. That was one smart riddle. If I think of the many things I’ve worried about over the years, almost none of them have come to pass. And when difficult challenges did pop up in my life, it wasn’t easy, but I dealt with them and managed to get through them–one day at a time.
Don Joseph Loewey, the author of The End of Stress, explains that my personal experience regarding worry is widespread: “In one study, researchers looked into how many of our imagined calamities never materialize. In this study, subjects were asked to write down their worries over an extended period of time and then identify which of their imagined misfortunes did not actually happen. Lo and behold, it turns out that 85 percent of what subjects worried about never happened, and with the 15 percent that did happen, 79 percent of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning. This means that 97 percent of what you worry over is not much more than a fearful mind punishing you with exaggerations and misperceptions.”
So next time I’m stuck in a deep pit with a grizzly bear, or any other dark location my imagination leads me to, I will try to remember what I need to do. Stop imagining.


  1. LOVE IT!!

  2. So true. I also used to worry about things years in advance (signs of fertility issues, coping with head covering, etc) and Hashem really orchestrated things differently. Now when a worry about the future comes up I check if there is any way to prepare, then decide that I just don’t know what will happen, so I should let the worry go

  3. Ilana Solomon

    I literally laughed out loud. I can’t wait to repeat this one to my kids! See if they are as quick as Yaakov!

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