There I was, sitting in a home, with the
special aura of candle light, having a Melave Malka - the meal in
which we say good bye to the Shabbos and move into the new week.
Sitting with me was a crowd of young
people. Although all that was visible in the candle light were the
images and outlines of the people sitting around, the warmth and
love in the room were palpable.
The singing of songs - in English - of
unity and love and spirituality and peace, with each person putting
their hand over the shoulder of the person next to them, created a
sense of affection and belonging and being part of a greater whole.
The legacy of love and unity that was passed down through the
generations was felt by all the participants of this Saturday night
A hat was then passed around and
everyone placed one anonymous question for discussion. The
flickering lights covered the faces and made the voices a little
disembodied as the questions were voiced. "How do I express love?"
"What connection is there between human beings?" "Is it that
important, the details of serving G-d?" "If our ancestors did not
bring Moshiach (Messiah) how could we?" "Does G-d listen when we
Mrs. Y., the hostess of our little
party, had the right idea. If our kids are going to go out on a
Saturday night, we should be there to create the party in-house. A
party with controlled drinking and where we control the atmosphere
and the program, but the kids involved got to set the tone of the
evening by expressing their questions and needs.
The experience that Saturday night was a
beautiful one. And it left a deep impression on me. And also many
Why did these children have so many
unanswered questions - questions whose answers should have been so
fundamental to them? Where were the adults in their lives that
should have imparted the responses to these questions?
This highlighted a greater problem in
communication with our children today: If the parents and educators
of these children couldn't answer the questions that these kids had
where were the rest of the adults in their life?
Do we listen to our young people? Do we
talk to our youth?
The days of "children being seen but not
heard" are supposedly over. Yes, young people are more outspoken,
they are more verbal, but sometimes I wonder if that cliché is still
true - since many of our children and young adults still feel
There is a lack of depth in many
conversations between children and adults. How many parents know
their children's favorite color? Favorite activity? Favorite person?
People are overwhelmed with life's
responsibilities and many feel that they don't have time for their
children. But we have to make time.
We must let our children know we care.
We have to connect with our own offspring and with other children as
Yes, Mrs. Y. really did have the right
idea. The oldest form of entertainment - that people used to create
a feeling of warmth, security and continuity - is sitting around
telling stories and singing songs. If we really listen to our
children and try to communicate and connect that will let them know