By Judy Elkin
I really didn’t think this text was going to resonate but I tried it anyway. The topic was risk-taking behavior – and the parents were getting more and more anxious with each passing minute, as they imagined their ‘tweens “doing what they did as teenagers,” testing the limits either with alcohol, drugs or sex. While no one was actively worried about these issues yet, each parent around that table knew it was just a matter of time. And they had no clue how they wanted to react. One parent even added a 4th risky behavior –when she swore (with a half grin) she wasn’t gong to allow her daughter to drive, ever! They all agreed that the world is a scarier place today than it was when they were kids (does every generation think that?). They felt anxious that they might not be able to protect their children – who still felt like children, even though they were on the cusp of adolescence.
So, I introduced the first text in our sourcebook, “Parenting Your ‘Tween Through a Jewish Lens” – a text by Reb Nachman that I truly wasn’t sure would resonate in this context: “The whole world is a very narrow bridge, and the most important thing is not to be afraid.”
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