Lech Lecha(Genesis 12-17)
Family members should stand up for and help each other out. In this week's Torah portion (Gen. 14:14) we learn how Abraham went out of his way to help his nephew, Lot, when he was in trouble. A family feels safer and happier when we help each other out.
In our story, a kid sees what a difference family help and cooperation can make.
"Janet, I don't know what to do!" her sister, Cindy, said to her with pleading eyes, as a cute toddler with bushy blonde curls followed her around like a puppy. "I just got a call from Mrs. Larson, the swim-team coach. She said the final round of tryouts has been switched from tomorrow afternoon to right now and anyone who wants to make the team has to show up!"
"So?" Janet said, chewing on a wad of bubblegum.
"So ... as you can see ... Mrs. Klein just dropped off little Teddy for me to babysit for the next three hours, which means unless I can find someone to sub for me, I won't be able to make the tryout or the team."
"Don't look at me," Janet said, snapping her gum as if to reinforce her words.
"But you're the only one who's home now and I know Mrs. Klein wouldn't mind if you took over since she hires you to baby-sit, yourself, sometimes."
"Forget about it! I was just on my way out to go see if Amy's free to play."
"But Janet, you know how much swim team means to me. Can't you help me out? You're my sister!"
"What does the fact we happened to be born into the same family have to do with anything?" she shrugged. "Sorry," she said coldly, and was out the door.
* * *
"Hey, Janet - great to see you," Amy, wearing an apron and holding a small towel said behind her smiling eyes. "To what do I owe the honor of your 'official visit'?'"
Janet giggled at her friend's usual quirky humor. "Can I come over for a while?" she asked.
"Great idea! But - I'm afraid not. As you can see from my 'elegant uniform' I am in the middle of my dishwashing duties."
"You mean your family makes you do the dishes?" Janet asked, appalled. She'd never do that.
"It's not like that," Amy smiled "We all take turns at chores and pitch in - just part of being a family. But like I said, it's my turn at the sink now, so than means no socializing..."
"No it doesn't..."
Janet heard a voice from further in the room. Then Amy's brother's face appeared.
"I'll take your turn tonight, Amy, and you can make it up to me on Thursday. If you've get a friend here why should you lose out?"
He took the towel from her hand.
"Hey thanks, Mike."
"No problem. Besides, you've helped me out plenty of times. Like we always say around here..."
"...that's what family's for!" they both said in unison and laughed.
We never say anything like that in our house, Janet thought to herself. It sure was nice how her friend and her brother helped each other out ... not like me and Cindy ... who was desperate for help...
Mike marched off to the kitchen and Amy led Janet up to her room but instead of following her in, Janet looked at her watch and said, "Oops, I forgot! My sister's got a really important appointment and needs me to help her out."
Amy smiled and threw up her hands. "Well, I guess it's dishes for me tonight after all! But it's right that you should go help her, because..." The two friends looked at each other and giggled, "That's what family's for!"
Q. How did Janet feel at first about helping her sister?
A. She didn't want to or feel like it was important.
Q. How did she feel in the end?
A. She felt people in a family should help each other.
Q. What life-lesson do you think Janet learned?
A. She hadn't felt she owed her family members any help but when she saw how happy and supportive her friend's family was, it made her reconsider.
Q. Why do you think Janet's friend, Amy, didn't mind doing chores?
A. She was part of a family that realized how much everyone gains when they pull together and cooperate, so she was willing to carry her share of the load.
Ages 10 and Up
Q. Do you think it is a coincidence who our family members are?
A. It's not at all. A family is a spiritual unit. God has specifically chosen who should share a family and we accomplish a big part of our life's task when we interact with our family members in a positive and supporting way.
Q. To whom do you think a person owes more allegiance, their family or their friends?
A. We should try to be good to everyone, but when it comes to family, we have to walk the extra mile. Friends, while important, come and go, but family is ours for life.