Dear Bracha,

I love my children. But every once in a while, I just feel that motherhood is an endless string of tedious, monotonous and un-intellectual activity, which ends at the end of an exhausting day—both emotionally and physically—only to begin once again the very next morning. Is this what it is all about?

Answer:

I am amazed that you feel this tedium, monotony and lack of intellectual stimulation only "now and again." Well done! Your statement provides as many answers as it does questions. Perhaps it is exactly what we parents need to hear and be reminded of.…love.

What am I here for? What is my purpose in life? Why is there suffering in the world?

I think therefore I am.

If I am not for myself who is? If I am only for myself what am I? If not now, when?

You hit the nail right on the head. What is this all about? It's about embracing life fully, by having children. It's about improving the world and all of mankind by raising your children well and not just for themselves, but truly in the service of all mankind. When you raise a child to think and do for others and be aware that every action—indeed, every word—affects others and can hurt or heal.

Did you bring this innocence, your child, into the world only for yourself? Perhaps in a way we all did. But very quickly the tables were turned and we parents found that we are in the world to protect and care for these innocent children. This second statement is by far the more accurate. As we grow in experience we find that some things are not as they seem. To be a parent, in its truest sense, is to be insightful and courageous.*

Insightful: To understand that reward and punishment, or positive attention and consequences, are two faces of the same coin—love.

Courageous: To be willing to cause discomfort to your children and withstand their negative feelings of anger and rejection in order to help them learn and bring out the best in them.

The importance of having a clear vision of your goals cannot be overstated. As you guide your children to adulthood, every time you create a successful intervention or reach a positive milestone—celebrate! Small things create big things. Children must learn to stand before they can walk and walk before they can run! Every effort you make with your children has its effect and is extremely important. Keep your eyes on the goal of what you want your children to be like and take note of your success. Kind, honest, responsible, thoughtful, modest and hardworking people don't just happen. A loving hand guided them along the way.

Keep your goals in mind, find something that truly inspires you and you can do as a family. We are beings of the spirit far more than that of the flesh. Find ways to let your spirit soar, and bring those so loved children with you. Parenting is just the same as breathing, just as monotonous and just as essential. Without it, nothing of beauty can exists.

Wishing you and your family all the best!

*These comments were given to me by a counselor in Jerusalem after one of my workshops, he did not give me his name—with thanks, Bracha.