Our Secret Weatherman
Our children do not appreciate when we point out to how many things we do for them. But our spouses can do it for us!
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January 22, 2012
“Did you check the weather yet?”
One thing the Jewish people did not do as they prepared for their hasty exodus from Egypt was check the local forecast. To a slave nation on the cusp of freedom, it was irrelevant if it was hot or cold or rainy – freedom was the only thing on their minds.
It is rather curious, then, that Moshe, on the evening before their anticipated departure, deemed it necessary to report on the weather conditions outside: “Look!” he declared, “today you are leaving, in the month of springtime” (Exodus 13:4).
“Uh, thanks Moshe,” the people must have thought as they hurriedly packed up their belongings. “But we really don’t care what it’s like outside. And besides, who doesn’t already know that its springtime. Why don’t you save your speeches for teaching us new and important topics – we hear there will be quite a few of those in our near future.”
Rashi explains that Moshe was not your ordinary weatherman. “I am teaching you something new and important,” Moshe responded. “In fact, this might be one of the most important lessons you will ever hear from me.”
“You might not care right now,” he pleaded with the people, “but please stop for a moment and look at the weather. It’s magnificent! It’s not too hot — you don’t have to worry that the kids will be complaining the whole time. It’s not too cold — you don’t have to worry that you can’t figure out how to get the baby strapped into the snap n’ go while wearing a snowsuit. It’s not raining — you don’t have to worry that one of the kids can’t find the other rain boot as the caravan is pulling out. It’s just perfect. Don’t you see how much Hashem loves you? I know, I know, you’re so excited to get out of here you wouldn’t have even noticed, but I want you to recognize and appreciate the kindness He is bestowing upon you. He wants it to be the most comfortable trip possible. And that’s because He loves you!”
Caring for our children
As parents, we spend a great deal of our lives doing things for our children. From the moment we bring them home from the hospital until we walk them down the aisle (and beyond), we bestow kindness upon kindness upon them. Sleepless nights, thousands of diaper changes, endless carpool runs, and the profound emotional investment — we do it all and we do it out of love.
Our kids, of course, do not fully recognize or appreciate what we do; they’re oblivious when they’re younger and selfish as they get older. (That’s normal – we did it to our parents, too.) We often yearn for them to recognize our efforts, not for the acknowledgment (though that certainly would be nice), but just so that they could see how much we love them. We just want them to know that the efforts we invest in them are an expression of how much we care. Wouldn’t it be great for them to see that?
But we don’t feel right saying it. We don’t want to be the type of parents who follow their kids around pointing out all the wonderful things we are doing.
We don’t have to. We have a secret weatherman: Our Spouse!
Just as Moshe pointed out the kindness Hashem bestowed upon the Jewish people, a husband or a wife can point out what his or her spouse is doing for their kids.
“Hey, looks like Mommy made your favorite dish again,” Daddy can say at the table. “I bet it’s because she likes making you happy!”
“Who here noticed how many times Daddy drove back and forth between the house and school today?” Mommy can ask. “I think he really loves you guys.”
When spouses openly compliment each other on the things each other does for their children, the kids become acutely aware of how much they are cared for. They begin to see it themselves, without having a parent point it out, because they have been trained to see things that way. (This is exactly what Moshe wanted from the Jewish people as well.)They also become aware of how much their parents love and appreciate each other as they constantly hear their parents complimenting each other. And that is a fantastic environment to grow up in.
Make it a point, at least once a week, to point out to your children the nice things that your spouse is doing for them. Remind your kids that he or she is doing it out of love and care for them. And let your children see how much each of you appreciates what the other is doing for the kids.
More often than not, it’s a beautiful day outside. We just don’t take the time to notice.