It’s been a long spring and summer, hasn’t it? Many of us feel emotionally exhausted having spent so much time with our children in challenging circumstances. We are all trying, but we all have moments where we feel like we’re going to lose it.

Here at home, many of those moments are with one child in particular. He’s a handful, larger than life. He’s the kind of child that says no even before I make the request. Why can’t he just listen to what I ask?He loves to play and have a good time, but it’s not always in sync with what everyone else in our home is doing. He gets an idea and won’t let it go—no matter how dangerous, how unrealistic, how expensive. You say one thing, he hears another. Almost everything triggers an argument. You get the picture?

This morning was one of those mornings. I started to ask myself, “Why can’t he just listen to what I ask, be content and not get so upset?”

I wanted to change him. I started to argue with him, and then there came this inner voice that said, “Elana, just accept him. Just love him.”

I realize that my goal is to accept and to lovingly guide. To see him as a sweet, innocent child with a very large personality. To see the blessing, and his strengths and goodness. To see this first, and only then act and respond. To work with and not against who he is, and to channel his qualities in the right direction. It’s the goal of being a parent (or a person in a parenting role).

It’s a shift in how to approach my child and see this situation in a different light. When I can “just” accept and love (and, of course, children need structure and discipline), I feel less tension and am able to respond better.

On Tisha B’Av, the darkest day of the year, we read from the book of Eicha. The prophet composed Eicha corresponding to the aleph bet, the Hebrew alphabet. However, in chapters 2, 3 and 4, the order of the letters is changed, where ayin is reversed with the letter peh that is supposed to follow it. The letter ayin when said out loud sounds like the Hebrew word for “eye” and the letter peh like “mouth.”

Tisha B’Av is the tragic day in Jewish history when 12 spies were sent to survey the Land of Israel before entering to conquer it.

They came to the Valley of Eshkol and they cut a branch with a cluster of grapes. They carried it on a pole between two people and they also took some pomegranates and figs.1

Can you imagine such big grapes that more than one person had to carry them?

We are talking about some really big fruit.

Ten of these spies saw this fruit, took some and felt the heavy weight of it, and said, “This is way too much. We can’t do this.”

Two of the spies were able to take a step back and see the situation from a different perspective. They recognized blessing in those luscious juicy grapes without taking any. They saw the holiness of the land and the opportunity for greatness that it held.

But the voices of the 10 were stronger than those of the two, and the 10 spies set off panic and fear among the nation. They opened their mouths to complain. Even without seeing the land by themselves, the nation cried and wailed, and said that they couldn’t do it.

The mouth was before the eye. They were exhausted and weary and emotionally spent. They lost their privilege to enter the land.

This became a day of tragedy for our nation—aThe voices of the 10 were stronger than the two day when, years later, our Holy Temple was burned to the ground. It’s a day called churban, “destruction,” but if we rearrange the letters, we see the word chaver, which means “connection” or “friend.” The reparation of destruction and the way to prevent it is with connection.

I return to my goal as a parent in this month of Av, the month that means “father.” My goal is to put my eye before my mouth, my vision of greatness before my complaint, and to know that what I choose to see is going to make an impact on how I feel and on my behavior. It’s the month to connect—to accept one another with love—for the sake of “I’m his parent, and he’s my son.”

It’s the month when G‑d wants us to connect to Him and to each other, and instead of opening our mouths with complaints and negativity, or seeing our circumstances as a weight that is too heavy and tiring, let’s open our eyes to see the enormous potential good and blessing.