Thursday, December 18, 2014

Keeping Up with Ourselves- A Chanukah Lesson

My son recently received a sweatshirt as a gift from my mom. He thought it was the absolute coolest sweatshirt ever. It has a hood, lots of shades of green (his favorite color) and it zips all the way up with some mesh pieces over his face which is just super cool.

Being that we live in the tropics, he doesn't get to wear his new favorite sweatshirt that often but the second it is remotely chilly he has it on with a smile from ear to ear. He really loves his new sweatshirt!

Every Wednesday he takes an art class at the local elementary school down the road. A few weeks ago it was raining really hard and strangely chilly, so he was super excited to be able to wear his awesome sweatshirt to his art class.

As he got there, I noticed a bunch of boys standing around him and commenting on how cool his sweatshirt was. Apparently its a cool sweatshirt among boys his age (9) and he was just made aware of this as being homeschooled, he really has no clue what clothes are considered 'cool'. He just knows what HE likes. And he likes this sweatshirt because of the colors and the hood and the cool way it zips up. Not because it is considered cool.

We have a young lady who comes over once a week to play, she just turned 12 and loves coming over. She does these amazing projects with my kids, makes music videos with them, directs plays, make up dances, she is so creative and my kids are her perfect little actors and performers whom she can direct and bring out her talent. She loves it, they love it, I love it, its a win win.

A few nights ago we had a Chanukah party and she asked if she could bring a friend from school. I told her of course and that night there were a bunch of kids at the party. After we lit the Menorah, we put on music and brought all the kids to the grass to dance.

We made a huge circle holding hands and started dancing around. the next thing I know, her friend started running really fast, dragging the kid next to her, which was a ripple effect and suddenly the kids were running really fast in this circle and all the kids came toppling on top of each other. Some little ones were really not happy about it. We all got back up and made a circle again and I noticed this young lady who is always so respectful and so wonderful when she comes over started acting a little too wild and between her and her friend the circle just fell apart. I was really disappointed but then I realized this is very normal middle school behavior. Peer pressure.

Both these experiences made me see the Miracle of Chanukah on a very personal level.

We live in a huge world where everyone is trying to keep up with every one else.

The Greeks wanted the Jews to do just that. To be like them.

When we homeschool, we give our kids the gift of making decisions based on their own opinion, not the opinion of others. They do not have the issue of peer pressure on a daily basis.

My daughter has her own fashion sense. She wears things that she likes, colors that she likes. She plays with toys that she loves, not toys that are cool or in style.

My sisters gifted her with an American Girl Doll. She had no idea what this was, she figured its just a pretty doll. Needless to say, she was not too impressed as she doesn't love playing with dolls, she prefers miniatures. So she gave it to her younger sister.

The beauty of knowing yourself, and knowing what YOU like and enjoy, is such a special gift. The Jews had to be so strong during that time that the Greeks were trying to change them. Its just like that today except we just don't realize it.

So take this Chanukah and appreciate being who YOU are. The foods YOU like, the clothes YOU choose. The things that make YOU happy. Its NOT about what you SHOULD do. Don't compare yourself to other moms, don't compare your kids to other kids. Be you, because that is who Hashem created you to be. Embrace it.

Have a wonderful Shabbos and may the rest of Chanukah be filled with lots of light and many many miracles!

Chanukah Sameach!

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