About 3 years ago, my family and I had just returned to Israel after being sent to South Africa to run the largest Jewish Zionist youth group in the country. Our return was met with many challenges, perhaps the most important was the readjustment to Israeli society and school for our children. We were blessed to have our eldest daughter accepted into a very unique school called Reshit. Reshit is special in so many ways but it truly stands out as one of the only schools in the world that combines students with special needs such as Downs Syndrome, Epilepsy, high level learning difficulties and many more issues in the same class and most importantly the same social group as high functioning students.
Although our daughter is thank G-d a high functioning, intelligent and socially wise child, our return met her with many difficulties in school.
As a teacher and a parent, I was pleasantly surprised when we received our invitation to our first parent teacher meeting when our daughter was invited along with my wife and I. Reshit manage to morph the usual parent teacher meeting into a powerful team meeting between the teacher parents and student. It was here that I heard one of the most powerful statements ever said to a child, let alone an adult. Our daughter was describing the difficulty she was experiencing due to where here table was situated in the class. To which her teacher so wisely responded, “It is not about seeing the board, its about seeing yourself.”! It is so easy to blame something or someone else for our difficulties, but what we truly need to do is look at ourselves and see where we are at fault or need to improve.
The Baal Shem tov, the founder of the Hasidik movement said that, another person is just a mirror image of one’s self. If we see a fault in another, it is because we recognise that issue in ourselves. One sees this in the most powerful way in our spouse as well as our children. I have sat with many parents who with tears in their eyes have told me that they can not understand why their children are so rude to them. Where did they learn to speak like that? It is at this point that I wish I could play back a recording of the conversations these parents have with each other, or the way they speak with such disrespect to their children. Their children are a mirror image of them.
I have myself been challenged by my children. “If you tell us that we are not allowed to shout, why are you shouting? Are you not going to live up to the same standards as you set for me. That famous saying “Do as I say and not as I do.” We as parents and spouses need to do some deep introspection before we blame our children, our spouses and the world around us for our own faults that we see reflected by them.