As has been our wont for 231 summers now, the Rice family joins the many millions who celebrate the anniversary of American independence by watching fireworks explode in the sky (okay, we haven't been doing it for quite that long, but it sure feels that way). We hear the whistling of the rockets, we wait in suspense for the glorious patterns and colors to burst open on the celestial canvas. The only problem is that they are extremely temporal. A second or two and they're gone.

This year, however, I had a very special treat. The fireworks lasted. In fact they're still there, bright and colorful, turning summersaults in the sky. Let me explain how that happened.

We watched the display just like we do each year. We then made our way through the throngs of spectators, and reached our distant (to avoid traffic snarls) parking space. We got in the car. All of a sudden an unexpected firework went off in the back seat, through the voice of my ten year old son, Yehudah.

"Ya know, we should really learn a lesson from the fireworks," he earnestly suggested. Kaboom! Now that was a brilliant and colorful outburst. We do play this game from time to time in the car. It is based on the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov:

From everything that we see and hear, we should take a lesson in the service of G‑d.

But I was tired and quite frankly, not in the mood. But when my son chimed in with the suggestion, the sparks went flying in my heart. He was suggesting it. We all shared various ideas and thoughts. And then another unexpected firework came from my daughter, Mushky.

"Maybe it's like doing a mitzvah," she offered. "We learn Torah and do good deeds in this world, but we don't see the light that we make. Then, when our actions reach the heavens, they go off like the fireworks. You can see the wonderful colors and designs. It is so beautiful."

Kaboom! Another set of sparks go off in my heart. I am about to ask her who she heard this amazing insight from, when I realize that she came up with it all on her own, right then and there in the back seat of our car.

So, what lessons have we learned?

Number one: Talk with your kids about relevant moral lessons in life. They do listen. And it shows them what you think is important. This is the best investment that you can make with the greatest returns. These are fireworks that last.

Number two: Remember that life is a fireworks show. We invest much time and effort into creating the rocket. In fact, our whole life is dedicated to this endeavor. We don't always see the fireworks; as the chassidic masters explain, if we were to experience the tremendous light generated by a single positive action, we would no longer have free choice. It would be obvious and compelling that there is only one path. And it is the fact that we do choose it, even though we don't see it, that makes our choice so cosmically valuable. But know that each positive act that we do creates the most wonderful cosmic illumination.

And number three: Keep your eyes open to the many lessons that G‑d may be teaching you. It is a wonderful opportunity to find light in places you never thought possible. It elevates your life.

Share your lessons with your children, and have them share their lessons with you. And we invite you to share your lessons with all of us via "Post a Comment" below.