Foresight is the ability to look ahead and make wise decisions that will affect your future. In the Torah portion for this week and last week, our ancestor Joseph uses his foresight to help Pharaoh and the Egyptians store up enough food to survive a great famine. We can use our foresight as a tool to save ourselves from a lot of problems.
In our story, a couple of kids discover how looking ahead can keep them ahead of the game.
THWOP ... THWOP ... THWOP ... Scott barely managed to control the bike he was riding as the air rushed out of his nail-punctured tire.
"Oh, rats!" he yelled out, "A flat tire in the middle of nowhere!"
He and his buddy Jay had set out that morning on an all-day bike trip around Crystal Lake and now a fun day had just turned into a disaster.
Scott kneeled down to check out the damage. It looked pretty bad.
"Hey, are you okay?" asked Jay, who had been a little ahead of him and had doubled back when he heard his friend's tire pop.
"I'm okay, but the tire's totally flat and I didn't bring a repair kit and pump," he said, shaking his head sadly. "Now our trip's ruined and it's going to take me forever to walk the bike back home!"
"Why walk it?" Jay smiled. He turned to his bike-pack and pulled out a pump, inner-tube and flat-repair kit. "Here's everything you need to be back on the road in no time."
After fixing the tire the guys decided to break for lunch, since they'd stopped anyway and there was a pretty clearing nearby.
Jay took out his sandwich and started eating as Scott stared into his lunch bag and frowned.
"What's the matter?" Jay asked.
"I brought a roll and a can of tuna for lunch."
"Unfortunately I didn't bring a can opener." He'd hardly gotten the words out of his mouth, when Jay dipped into his lunch kit and pulled out a shiny, compact can opener.
"Here," he said, handing it to his friend.
"Thanks! But what are you doing with one of these? You don't even have any cans with your lunch."
"Yeah, well you never know. I figured we might stop at a store and buy canned stuff or whatever."
They soon got going again and were really enjoying the beautiful lakeside scenery when it started to rain. Jay stayed dry beneath the plastic rain poncho he had packed, while Scott got soaked until they rode out of range of the downpour.
A couple more hours passed. Jay looked up at the sky and said, "It'll be dark real soon. We should pack out of here and head home, huh?"
"Yeah," Scott agreed. "But can I just ask you something first?"
"I just don't get it. All day whenever things came up we didn't expect, like that rain storm, my flat tire or needing a can opener, you seemed to always be on top of things and ready for it, and I wasn't. How come?"
Jay laughed, "It's because I learned to put my 'mind-headlights' on."
"What headlights do," Jay explained as he flipped his bike headlights on to get ready to ride, "is they light up the way in front of you so you can see where you're going, right?"
"So, I just try to use my mind that way and think about what might be coming up and what I'm going to need to deal with it. My dad calls it foresight. Get it?"
"I think so," Scott said. "Like on a bike trip a tire might go flat or it might rain, so you use your 'headlights' to prepare in advance, right?"
"You got it. Now let's get going. You want to ride in front for now?"
Scott shook his head, "I think you'd better ride in front the whole way home."
"Well," Scott smiled weakly "I really like your idea about 'mind-headlights' and from now on I plan to think that way and use 'mind-headlights' too. But this time I didn't, and I forgot to change the broken bulb in my bike headlight, so unless you go first, I won't be able to see the road!"
Q. How did Scott feel when he didn't have what he needed?
A. He felt upset and frustrated.
Q. How did he feel once Jay explained to him about 'mind-headlights'?
A. He felt it was a good idea to look ahead and wanted to do it too.
Q. What life-lesson do you think Scott learned that day?
A. After seeing how a little foresight could make his life much more pleasant, he realized it was worth taking the time and effort to look ahead.
Q. Do you think it's possible for a person to figure out every future possibility?
A. Life is so complex that no matter how well we try to anticipate things there are bound to be surprises. However, by using our 'headlights' and opening our eyes, we can anticipate and be prepared for many things.
Ages 10 and Up
Q. Our sages teach that foresight is a sign of wisdom. Why do you think that might be so?
A. A wise person is one who can see and live with the 'big picture' while still paying attention to details. Foresight is a powerful way to do both.
Q. What is the difference between foresight and hindsight?
A. Foresight is the ability to think of future possibilities and be prepared. Hindsight is the ability to learn from the past. Both are powerful tools of effective living.