Happy Father’s Day

Fathers Day.jpeg

So it’s Shabbat and that’s one of the wonderful times to look at old photos in the albums and boxes. 


Yes, this was before digital photography!


I came across this art that my daughters had given to my father and mother when they were still alive–I think it was plastered on their refrigerator for a while. 


This photo seemed to bridge the past, present, and future for me. 


My parents are gone now to Hashem–already 2 and 3 years–and I still can’t believe it. 


At the annual Mother’s Day and Father’s Day–it’s just another time of year to remember how much I miss them all year long. 


For me now, it is also a chance to be grateful for my lovely children that G-d has so gracefully blessed me and Dossy with. 


Smiles, hugs and kisses, love and caring for one another–this is what life is all about.


Father’s Day to me is not about the gratefulness of my children to me, but rather of me to Hashem and them to be blessed to be a dad and have the chance to give back to such lovely children–to the next generation that greatly supersedes me and mine!


So I’m crunched in the middle in time between wonderful parents and beautiful children and as my dad would joke, it skipped a generation (hopefully, not really). 😉 


(Source Photo: My Girls)

Advertisements

Does Unwanted Justify Murder?

Right to choose 2.jpeg

This sign pasted all around Washington, DC states that:

“An unwanted fetus would support a woman’s right to choose”

This means that a baby who isn’t wanted potentially grows up to be abused and would rather not have been born.

However, can anyone really say this with a completely straight face?

Sure, some types of abuse can be so terrible that perhaps death is preferable.

But other times, unwanted children become loved or at least accepted children or otherwise make great things out of their lives!

And parents who didn’t think at the time that they could do handle a child, find that they adapt or mature, and are better parents than they even expected. 

Unwanted for an unborn baby shouldn’t necessarily mean an abortion anymore than any other unwanted person in your life should mean that you can just terminate them.

We aren’t G-d and we can’t just get rid of people we don’t like or want. 

If that was indeed the case, there probably wouldn’t be many of us left in the world. 

Of course, there should be exceptions for abortion in cases of rape, incest, severe birth defects, or a clear and present danger to the life of the mother or child. 

Otherwise, a life is a life, and a fetus is a person with a soul like any other from the Maker of heaven and earth. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Bonding and Independence

separation-jpeg

It’s an interesting phenomenon between parents and children. 


Parents (with G-d as the third partner) birth and raise their beautiful children. 


It is in a way a thankless job that we all savor and do with love, joy, and even gratitude just to have the opportunity. 


From sleepless nights to dirty diapers, homework to honing on how to be a mensch, family outings to school trips, braces to bar/bat- mitzvahs, birthdays to sleepover parties, shopping trips to college choices, as parents there is nothing we won’t do for our children. 


Yet, the role of children is to learn and grow to be independent. Children must spread their wings, so they can function as their own adults and parents one day (and hopefully before they are 33 and still living in mom and dad’s house)!


Yet to a parent, a child is always their child, no matter how big, smart, or successful they are (and even when, G-d willing, they surpass their parents in height, good looks, and achievements).


My father used to say, “Blood is thicker than water,” meaning that it’s a harsh world out there and the family always needs to stick together.


As children of Holocaust survivors, I learned that we can’t stray to far (or far at all) from either our religion or family, because otherwise, “We let Hitler win.”


We grew up living next to my grandparents (1 block away) and later in life, we always lived right near my parents as well. 


I watched TV and ate salami sandwiches with my grandmother and doted over my grandfather who sat on the bimah in his big chair as the president of our then struggling synagogue in Manhattan. 


Similarly, my parents were like surrogate parents to my own children and regularly babysat, picked the kids up from school/camp, made Sabbath meals, and happily spent time with them doing whatever. 


My parents were always there to advise, guide, lend a hand and support…no matter the cost to them, as my father used to say, “I would go through fire for my family” and this–his devotion and integrity–I knew was the utter truth. 


In turn, I tried to be a good son and although I disagreed and fought with my parents (mostly my dad) on many issues (often religious and sometimes politics as remember them), I knew they loved me dearly and I them.


As my dear parents are now gone, and I have become (slightly) a helicopter parent myself with forever worries about how my kids are doing, I know that they need to be independent–and that (more than) sometimes means making mistakes or falling down, and hopefully getting right back up again on their feet.


It is hard to learn that as parents, in many cases, we are just spectators–not that we know everything, we don’t, but the maternal and paternal instinct is to safeguard our children whom we love and adore. 


Kids need three things to individuate successfully: stability, consistency, and safety. Absent those, you run the risk of unhealthy knotted bonding and stunted separation anxiety. 


Everyone needs to lead their own lives–we really only have one life to live. Yet, as family, we are very much the foundation and part of their inner strength for everything that follows from their determination, hard work, and blessings from Above. 


For parents and children, it is critical to balance the need for healthy separation and independence with love and bonding that is timeless.


We have to “let go and let G-d” and let our Children. 


The parents are the past and the children are the future, but we mean everything to each other. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Help Find Missing Children

Missing Children.jpeg

Coming out of the mall into the parking lot, I saw this poster lying on the ground. 


It was a flyer to help find a missing child. 


Every time, I see something like this, I just have to take a big gulp and deep breath, as this seems like one of the scariest things that can happen to a child and their parents.


A child is dependent on it’s parents, and when they go missing G-d forbid, the fear of in whose hands they might fall and what may be done to them is unthinkable. 


The goal is to get the word and pictures out to find the child as quickly as possible. 


From 2002, statistics show about 800,000 children go missing every year (or about 2,000 per day)–that is unbelievable!


Of those, about 204,000 were family abductions, 58,000 were non-family abductions, a 115 were taken by a stranger, and the rest were mostly run-aways.


About 1 in 5 runaways are considered likely victims of child sex trafficking. 


A 1997 study showed only 5% of non-family abductions even get reported to police and entered in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC)–many may not enter a report when a child is gone just a few days or it may get filed under other categories like homicides or sexual assaults. 


In the 1972 and 1981, there were tragic cases of missing children Etan Patz and Adam Walsh, both killed at age 6, with Etan’s remains supposedly thrown in the garbage in Soho (he was never found) and Adam’s located in a drainage canal in Florida. 


Etan was the first missing child whose pictures were put on the back of milk carton. 


In 1983, the anniversary of Etan’s disappearance, May 25, was designated National Missing Children’s Day.


In 1984, the Walshes and other child advocates established the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) “to help find missing children and prevent child victimization”–shockingly before this there was no coordinated federal and state mechanism for search efforts.


– NCMEC tip hotline (1-800-The Lost) has received over 4.3 million calls in the last 32 years and they have facilitated the return of 227,000 missing children.


In 1996, America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) was set up as a a child abduction emergency alert system; it was named after Amber Hagerman, a 9-year old abducted and murdered in Texas. 


– AMBER Alerts, between 1997 and 2015, were credited with the safe recovery of 723 children. 


My heart goes out to these children and their families! 


Anything that each of us can do to help with the desperate situation of missing children and their safe recovery is worth not only our attention, but our utmost vigilance and helpful tips. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Technology Hope For The Future

Tech Expert In Training.jpeg

Ok, this gives me tremendous technology hope for the future. 

This 4-year old kid is working diligently on her smartphone, while her mom is shopping not far away in the clothing store at the mall. 

She didn’t seem to care about the clothes hanging all around her or the fun in the mall or really anything else at all…she was content with her tech!

And while I certainly believe in work-life balance and in kids being able to really jsut be kids, there was just something so amazing about the promise of technology, especially for those who are now growing up with it. 

After all, it was very cute how intent this kid was with all the technology power right in the palm of her hands, and I could easily see a budding CIO in the making here. 

And of course, with even better and more capable technology in the future. 

Through technology and belief, we can find hope in the impossible. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Poverty Is An Illness

End Poverty.jpeg

Poverty is not just a phenomenon of poor, homeless and hungry people. 

It is a social and economic epidemic, and here are some sobering statistics:

– “Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population–more than 3 billion people–live on less than $2.50 a day.”

– More than 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty–less than $1.25 a day.”

– “1 Billion children worldwide are living in poverty…and 165 million children under the age of 5 were stunted…due to malnutrition.”

– “1/4 of all humans live without electricity.”

– “80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day.”

Those empty stomachs, battered roofs, and tattered clothes are leaving indelible marks on so many impoverished people, yet many at the other end of the spectrum are living so high and mighty…it’s a crazy contrast that fails to make any sense. 

Passing by the stronghold buildings of the World Bank in Washington, D.C., I found these striking “End Poverty” t-shirts that they had in their storefront–although I couldn’t help think how far removed this place was from this sorry state of global poverty and chaotic and violent world affairs. 

We are living in an incredible bubble, and while I often hear how grateful people are to be here and have “all this,” somehow I just don’t think we fully get it what’s going on out there! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Aging Yet (Hopefully) Always Helping Each Other

Aging

I just love this drawing of the parents and child. 


My daughter found it on Instagram and sent it to me. 


As a little kid, my wife and I used to hold her hands and swing her between us when walking (like in the above illustration)–she loved that!


Now as we get older, we still try to be good, helpful parents (not too intrusive or helicopter-like–well maybe a little), but we can certainly see a day down the line when the cycle of life goes full circle. 


My daughter used to joke (I think) about putting me in an old age home–she knew that after seeing what my mom went through there with Parkinson’s, that is truly the last place I would want to end up. 


Of course, sometimes there really is no choice when a person just needs so much care that it is beyond what the family can do any longer. 


Frankly, what I have learned is that the most important and precious thing that parents and children can give each other is…time!


So is that child in the bottom illustration helping his aging parents along or is he dragging them off to the nursing home?  Perhaps, we’ll never know until it’s too late. 😉


(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal from Instagram Unlimited Knowledge)