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The kids will be fine

Parents are always concerned for their children. We care for their physical needs as well as their spiritual needs. While their physical needs are something we can generally provide, to one degree or another, spiritual needs often depend on a whole host of conditions, including external elements.

And that’s where the real concern is: Sure, at home we can control the environment in which the kids are raised; we can teach them all that we as parents feel is necessary for them to be good Jews and upstanding members of society. But then they go out into the world, whether it’s school or spending time with friends, and suddenly everything we’ve tried to mold them into is on shaky grounds. There is no telling how the conditions and elements surrounding them will affect them and how they will turn out as a result.

Of course, we can attempt to restrict who they interact with and what situations they get involved in, and that might work for a few years, when the kids are younger; but it isn’t realistic to expect that from older children, and it is definitely not a permanent solution to this legitimate concern.

This concern is certainly not new; Jewish parents have been concerned about their children’s future since the dawn of our people. As far back as the exodus from Egypt, when we were saved from the threat of Egyptian culture permeating and taking over Jewish life, this has been on the conscience of parents. Their children were born in Egypt and only knew a life of bondage, so when they were finally released inevitably there was concern of how these children would turn out.

But it turns out that although this is a warranted concern, at that time the children demonstrated their resilience. Because their rearing at home was focused on being proud Jews despite the many challenges surrounding them, and despite the intense efforts of society to assimilate them, they had the tools to stand firm in the future. This was put on display at the splitting of the sea, when G-d’s presence was unprecedentedly revealed to the entire Jewish nation, and the children were the first to pick up on it and make their parents aware of it.

These same children, whose parents were worried about their spiritual future, were not only going to be okay, but they were the reason everyone else was able to make it through challenging times. Because they recognized G-d, and because they excitedly pointed it out to others, they proved to their parents that the kids will be fine, and by extension everyone else will be too.

This is similar to the main event at the sea — the raging waters standing still and splitting, allowing the Jewish people to pass through to the other side safely. The raging waters that moments before were a source of serious concern, suddenly became the source of their protection. With the waters themselves forming firm walls on their right and left side, symbolically protecting them from outside elements coming from both the right and left elements of society, the threat of being washed away itself turned into their source of resilience.

That’s also what happens with the children. Parents have legitimate concerns, but because of the values that the children are exposed to at home and providing them with a proper Jewish education, when it comes time to face the raging waters from all sides of society, the children serve as the linchpin for all that is right. Despite there being so much wrong with the world today, our children will be sure to provide us with a bright future. We just need to allow them to.

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