Why Only Two, Daddy?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Why Only Two Daddy?”

The father goes on to explain that these are the commandments that G-d gave to the Jews (when they were redeemed from slavery in Egypt). He enumerates just two examples: keeping the Shabbat and honoring your mother and father. The son asks, ‘What are the other commandments?’ The father hesitates either not knowing any of the other commandments or simply unable to remember any more of them on the spot. And all of a sudden, the little boy starts wailing to his father: ‘Daddy, why do you know only two, why?’


Knowing the Torah and commandments is not only for ourselves to do what’s rights, but also to pass on the torch to the next generation. It’s not always easy to be good examples, but it’s the challenge we all face. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Take Off Those Shoes

So this was pretty funny. 


We have a sign in our house that people should take off their shoes when they come in. 


Heck, it’s part of being a neat freak and somewhat germaphobic.


But of course, the kids invariably don’t follow the house rules and we get the shoe dirt all over. 


And guess who has to always clean it up?  


Well the other day, my daughter was looking to purchase a condo, and when she found a place she liked, she was walking around the apartment and saying:

When I have my own place, everyone is going to take off their shoes.


Hmm, when the place is yours and you have to clean up the messes, all of a sudden the house rules are in effect and big time.  😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Struggling With Some Decisions

So I’ve been helping some family members with some really big decisions lately. 


As we all know, there are pros and cons to every alternative. 


I remember how you can diagram decisions out like the branches of a tree with probabilities for each branch to try and get to the highest value decision. 


The problem is we don’t know everything that may happen down the road or even know the probabilities for each possibility–or as they say:

We don’t know what we don’t know.  


So it’s hard to make a great decision and not second guess yourself.

Well, what if…


You can “what if” yourself to sleepless nights and death and never decide or do anything meaningful. 


We have to make the best decisions we can usually with limited information. 


Using gut or intuition is not a solution either–those can end up being very wrong especially when we let our raw emotions dictate. 


So I do not take decision-making for myself or helping others lightly, especially my family. 


I want to protect them and help them make good decisions that will bear fruit and joy down the road. 


I definitely don’t want to waste everyones time and efforts and lead them or myself down a dead end or worse off of a cliff.


In the end, we have to turn to G-d and whisper:

Oh G-d, please help us to make the right decisions, because only you know what the results will be from it. 


And so, I am definitely whispering!


At the same time, we need to move forward and not let fear and doubt get in our way of living. 


Yes, we have to be prudent and take calculated risks (everything worthwhile is a risk), but also, we have to look at the potential rewards and the costs for these (every decision is an investment of time and resources) and then just try our best. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

No One Cares How You Feel

So parenting is not always an easy job. 


But it is one full of love and helping your kids. 


Sometimes, I remember listening to my kids say that they feel this or that and seeing that it was holding them back from accomplishing their goals.  


Often, I would tell them that the only people that really care about how they feel is your mother and father–but generally-speaking, it a tough world out there, and: 

“No one [else] cares about how you feel.”


I tried to focus them–not on being cold and unfeeling–but rather on being strong inside and focusing on the tasks that need to get done. 


Sure, feelings are important, but if you are getting held back from doing what you need to do–then there are times when you need to put the feelings in abeyance and go forward. 


Overall, there is plenty of time to feel what you feel, but don’t let anger, fear, or anxiety get in the way of you accomplishing your dreams. 


In a book that I am reading by Amos Oz, “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” he writes: 

‘I want’ and ‘I don’t want’ aren’t reasons, they can only be defined as self-indulgence.


Yes, it’s a little tough love, but also it is out of true love to help the kids to be willing and determined to try their best and not get held back by anything in the pursuit of the destiny they choose to follow. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Best Baby Carrier Ever

This is just a great picture!


I have to call this out as the best baby carrier ever. 


What a combination between a kangaroo pouch and a cozy snugli.


Anyway, it’s comfortable, fun, and good-looking.


Can’t you just see your baby in this?  

(Thank you to my son-in-law for sharing this with me)

Alternatives Are More Valuable Than Criticism

So one lesson of life that I have learned is about criticism. 


It’s easy to criticize, but tough to come up with real solutions. 


Criticizing someone else, does not usually provoke a good response. 


UNLESS, you can provide a bona fide better alternative in a loving way. 


It’s important to solve problems and not just create new ones. 


Criticizing without an alternative just causes anxiety and frustration in the other person. 


But when you says something isn’t right and why, and provide a better alternative, now the other person can see concretely what you are talking about, and they know they have options and that you are trying to help. 


No one wants to be told they are no good or their choices are no good. 


But people don’t mind and perhaps may even embrace being told that there is even something better for them out there.


Don’t criticize, instead give alternatives that are good for the other person. 


That’s real love without being a jerk. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Dark Side

Thought this was a fascinating piece in the Wall Street Journal’s Review Section called, “The Dark Triad and The Evolution of Jerks.”


Antisocial Personality Disorder is where people exhibit three primary symptoms:


1) Narcissism – Excessive focus on oneself.

2) Machiavellianism – Manipulating others for one’s own gain.

3) Psychopathy – Overall disregard for others, including impaired empathy and remorse


Together, these 3 traits make up “The Dark Triad” or perhaps they  come across as being from the dark side, because of how badly they can treat others. 


Studies have shown that these three traits are positively correlated with one another, and that more than 10% of the population has these. 


In reading a little more online at WebMD, I learned that the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath is that while they share similar traits, a psychopath typically acts as if they have no conscience, while a sociopath acts with a weak conscience. 


“At worst, they’re cold, calculating killers,” while at the less extreme, they may be okay with hurting others to get what they want. 


– Moreover, while psychopaths are more cold-hearted and calculating,” sociopaths are “hot-headed” and “act without thinking how others will be affected.”


Another study found that people with these traits often “experienced low-quality or irregular parental care.” Thus a harsh or unstable childhood may cause these symptoms. 


Whether these people come from the dark side, are going to the dark side, or just are scary and hurtful, it is important to be able to recognize who you may be dealing with.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)