I came back from the park yesterday with the start of a suntan. I’m starting to get some color and I like that. I even noticed that I’m starting to get a watch mark. I always loved those. I could move my watch away and show off just how much color I’m getting. When I was a lifeguard in high school together with my sister, we would always compare our watch marks to see who got a better suntan.
This all made me think…about things that impact us and how they make an impression…and a strong one.
How does the Torah impact your life? How much of a mark does it make on your soul? When you hear a dvar torah, do you take it to heart? Do you see if there is something you can take from it?
I think of Torah as the sun…with it’s warmth and the good feelings I get when I hear something that touches me, that clicks, that answers my questions and makes things sound so right. I want it to impact me in the deepest ways possible. I want to get that mark on my soul…and I want it to stay there for a long time.
My daughter, Chaya Gitty, with her light skin, got a sunburn. Her cheeks were all red this morning yet she’s too young to know that too much exposure to the sun is not good for her and she needs suntan lotion. It was my job as her mother to take care of her, to load her up with the protective sunscreen so she wouldn’t get burned.
I think about how I have to teach my children the right way. I do not want them to get burned, to have a bad taste for Yiddishkeit. I want them to sit in the warmth of the sun, of our Torah and love every bit of the mesorah I am to give over to them. I need to do this by setting boundaries…by giving limitations…and also by knowing when to give in. it’s a tough balance. But I’m learning.
I need to know that each child is an individual. And just because I don’t get burned by spending a day out in the sun…because my skin is so much darker than my kids, that doesn’t mean the same sun will be okay for my kids, leaving them with a beautiful suntan instead of a sunburn.
And…it’s not just my kids. Everyone is on a different level. What works for me may not work for someone else who is not at the same place as me. Not everyone has the same skin tone.
Torah, like the sun, is full of warmth. You need to know that when it comes to spiritual growth, it must be done slowly. Just like too much exposure to the sun can cause one to get burned, trying to take on too much too fast can end up hurting.
Who would ever think there are so many lessons to take from a trip to the park and my suntan? :-)