As I type, my two “big” kids have lined up some miniature chairs in a row and are playing “trip.” For well over an hour, R has been fiddling with a grocery bag full of snacks, dolls and other essentials, while Y has been sitting in the front seat hollering, “We are goooiiing.”

As I try to work in spite of the noise, I have been wondering, Is that really what I sound like? Watching our children interact is an endless stream of feedback on how we ourselves interact. Hearing them speak politely to each other tells us that they observe us speaking politely and view that as the norm. When your kids snap and call each other names, you know it is time to rethink your own relationship with your spouse, how you express yourself.

Smack in middle of the “trip,” my son announced that they had arrived at a rest stop. “R, you make breakfast; I am going to daven,” he called as he removed his toy tallit-and-tefillin set out from the backseat-cum-trunk.

Now, I normally pray with the 7:00 minyan every morning, when they are hopefully still in bed. So, seeing me wear my tallit and tefillin is really quite rare, something they associate with trips, as the long trip from Montreal to the Midwest (my parents live in Chicago and my in-laws live in Detroit) necessitates hitting the road long before sunrise, the earliest time for morning prayers.

In any case, watching my son strap on the toy tefillin and drape himself in the tallit filled me with pride. It was nice to see that he associates his dad with prayer. I enjoyed watching him mimic my prayers as he clutched his prayerbook. However, I could not help but notice that he looked around an awful lot as he “prayed.” Now, it could be that he was just being him. But maybe it is a message to me that I need to do a better job at reading the words inside and concentrating while I pray.

Hang on there. Y decided that they arrived, and R is still settling the dollies into their seats. World War III is about to break out. I got to run now.