Having kids is wonderful, but also scary. From the moment when a parent brings a tiny infant into this world, the parent can begin to worry. "Does he have all his fingers and toes?" "Is he breathing alright?" "Why is he making that sound?" "Why is he crying so much?" The worries change their flavor as the child grows: "She isn't talking yet—is that normal?" "The teacher says he has trouble following directions—is there something wrong with him?" "She doesn't have very many friends." "His marks are low." "If she doesn't get into college what kind of career will she have?" "He's still not dating." There are endless things to worry about even for non-worriers and all the more for those who are inclined by nature to worry.

For this reason, we might look at parenting as the perfect breeding ground for the growth of emunah, faith. Our belief that G‑d runs the world. That everything – all those things that look and feel good and all those things that look and feel bad – come from one Source. G‑d makes everything happen. Our feeling that G‑d makes everything happen for our ultimate benefit, even when we don't understand it. Like children who trust their parents even though the parents take them to a doctor to be jabbed with a needle or to a dentist to have their teeth yanked out! We don't like it, we don't get it, but we still trust that our parents have acted in our best interest.

When faced with a worry about our child, we can learn to bring G‑d into the picture. For example, suppose that a child has not reached a developmental milestone. His parents begin to worry: "Is he okay? What if he's not okay? What will happen to him? How will we manage?" The parents may attribute the problem to bad luck or bad genes. If so, they suffer without comfort. However, if they can attribute the situation to G‑d, they will be on the road to spiritual growth and emotional healing. "G‑d has created this situation for our benefit and our child's benefit. All challenges are for our good. G‑d gives us a problem and then waits for us to turn to Him for a solution." The parents can then address G‑d directly: "Please help us through this. Please let the problem disappear. Please let the doctors be helpful and guide us properly to a total healing." Indeed, G‑d gives us challenges specifically so that we will turn to Him for help. He wants us to develop a real, live relationship with Him.

Developing faith is not easy. None of us is born with this trait in place, even if we are born into a religiously observant family. Each person has to work on his or her own to develop their relationship with G‑d. We can begin the task by asking G‑d to help us acquire deeper levels of faith, just as we can ask G‑d for anything else we desire. Then there are other steps we can take. For instance, we can help ourselves by making a daily ritual of reading a paragraph on the subject of faith (there are many books available on this subject). We can attach ourselves to the soul of the master of faith – King David – who wrote the book of Psalms. By saying one psalm each day, we will gradually develop our spiritual "muscles." Finally, we can keep a "faith" notebook: a record of our specific worries and how each one turned out. For instance, a parent might record: "Junior still hasn't cut his first tooth and I'm getting worried that something is wrong." This should be followed by a prayer to G‑d to help the child develop normally. A month later, the parent can record: "Junior cut his first tooth—thank You, G‑d!" By keeping such a record of the kindnesses that G‑d performs for us, our faith in his love and support will grow ever stronger. We can also note in the book how G‑d helped us get through a difficult time, so that we can see his love and support under all circumstances.

Turning to G‑d in times of stress and worry has always been the Jewish way. Developing this habit early in the parenting journey can help parents cope better with the trials and tribulations of parenting at the same time as it will help them develop their spiritual greatness.