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In the 1990s film classic, Austin Powers, Dr. Evil has a clone who he calls “Mini-me.” The mini-me looks just like Dr. Evil except he is one eighth his size. When my first son was younger I had a secret hope that he would be my mini-me. He would love playing soccer and studying Torah. He would be active politically in his elementary school and of course be an avid reader. If I let myself indulge this fantasy, I wanted him to be exactly like I was as a young person! A Mini-me.
Of course, our children are not mini-me’s. But really accepting this fact is harder than it seems. My son is a fun, wonderful, delicious boy . He is a late reader and likes baseball instead of soccer. He likes science and math and is a kinesthetic learner. He is not particularly fond of learning Torah. These differences cause me more pain than I like to admit.
In our Arlington Parenting Through a Jewish Lens class we just studied the great Reb Zusia story. The Hassidic master Reb Zusia is lying on his deathbed crying. His students ask him why he is crying since he has been such a faithful Jew his whole life. He responds, “when I get to heaven they won’t ask me why weren’t you more like Moses. They will ask me, why weren’t you more like Zusia. Then what will I say?”
This brief, powerful story cuts right to one of life’s central tasks – to be our true selves.
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