“Every day at 12:30 pm I freeze...
It doesn’t matter whether I am in an important negotiation, if I am with a client, or if I am alone. I freeze because I know that it is recess at my son’s school. I wonder if he is sitting alone on a bench, feeling miserable. I worry that kids may be teasing or bullying him. I dream that he has perhaps found someone who will play with him, accept him for who he is, and see in him what I love so much about him. This is what I do, every single day.”*
In this week’s parsha, Toldot, we learn that there was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Avraham. Like his father, Yitzhak intended to go down to Egypt, but G-d appeared to him and said: “Do not got down to Egypt for you are like an unblemished sacrifice, and leaving the land is not appropriate for you.”
As the story goes, when I was born, my father talked about my ear and how perfectly small it was, and how perfectly shaped it was, because what else would he talk about? He didn't know me, and all the little quirks about me.
This week the Sulam team met on Monday for a professional day in which we discussed the task of helping our students develop grit - the power to stick to a task and to persevere through failure, struggle, feeling overwhelmed - and not give up. There are techniques to help children develop this important skill, such as using the correct type of praise.
Parshat Bo is one of my favorite parshiot in relationship to school and education.
After suffering through the drama of repeated disappointments, the Jews finally broke free from slavery. They made a harrowing escape through a miraculously parting sea. Once on dry and safe ground, with the wilderness ahead of them, few possessions to maintain comfort, and nothing but un-risen bread to sustain them, Moshe had the challenging task of motivating them to continue the arduous physical and spiritual journey to become a nation.
This week’s parsha, Parshat Vayeshev contains the famous story of the brothers throwing Joseph into a pit to be sold to slaves. So begins the story of the enslavement of the Jews in Egypt. There are very many aspects to this story that are intriguing, but one particularly meaningful aspect is that of Reuven’s role in saving Josephs’ life.
At Sulam, we teach our students that their journey is not an all or nothing event. Like the Chinese proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”, we at Sulam celebrate each rung a student climbs. We revel in gradual, yet consistent achievement.