I was sitting on a park bench talking with another mother as we watched our toddlers play. The two boys were enjoying each other's company, and so were we. The other mother turned to me and said, "My son is so difficult. I have a really difficult child." I know this mother and I know her son. I don't see her everyday and we share no living spaces together, but I've spoken with her frequently.

"The situation is difficult, the age is difficult. Your child isn't difficult.""Hmmmm," I sighed. "You really think that?" My heart weighed heavy in my chest. I'm sure every mother, at one time or another, has these thoughts. What is so sad is that we do this over healthy, "normal" children who do what healthy, normal children do - cry and throw tantrums and act defiantly. I wanted to empathize with her, I wanted to be tactful, but I also wanted to express my disagreement with her. "I know it's difficult, but the situation is difficult, the age is difficult. Your child isn't difficult." I held my breath, not knowing how she would respond.

"You mean your son throws tantrums too?"

"Almost every day," I smiled.

I've recently started attending a parenting class, and in the past three weeks, I've noticed incredible differences in my son's behavior and in our relationship. While I give much credit to the strategies I'm learning, the one point I've learned most is that I'm not alone! Everyone has difficult moments. I'm not a failure as a mother if my son misbehaves, and he's also not a failure when he misbehaves. He's just a child and I'm just a parent. With this in mind, my whole attitude has changed. I find myself more patient and able to take things in stride. He mirrors my behavior and cooperates with joy. Instead of feeling relief when he falls asleep at night, I feel fulfillment for the beautiful day we spent together.

A great man in history, Noah, lived in a generation where the population rebelled against G‑d. He was given a task to influence the people to change their ways, but couldn't. Noah prophesized the flood, warning the people of their doom. No one listened.

One explanation given is that the reason behind his failure was in his tactic. He told the people that they were doomed, and the people fulfilled these words, living up to his expectations. Perhaps, if instead of telling the people of their wickedness, he would have told them of their great potential, his words would have brought about a positive change, instead of their self-destruction. I was once told, "Never tell your children that they are going to fall, because they will. Instead tell them, 'Careful, you could fall.'" Our words, just as much as our actions, have the power to make things happen.

When the High Priest would light the menorah, he had to place the fire by the wick until it was alight on its own. He didn't just light it and step back to see if the flame would catch, but made sure it would light. During Chanukah, we do the same. We stay with the wick until we see that it ignites and then we step back holding the candle that lit the flame. Not only that, but on Chanukah, we're required to provide enough oil or wax for the candle to burn for at least a half an hour. The flames have to be in a straight line, and no two flames can touch.

We imagine ourselves lighting our child's soulIn Jewish literature, the soul is often referred to as a candle. When my husband and I light the menorah, we imagine ourselves lighting our child's soul. The measurements are difficult. First there needs to be sufficient oil or wax to feed the flame. If we don't encourage our children, and give them enough physical and spiritual nourishment, even if lit, their wicks will quickly burn out. Secondly, we need to stay with the wick, making sure it catches, but once it does catch, we need to stand back. This is comparable to giving our children space to stand on their own and illuminate the world with their light, not ours. Lastly, too much fire is dangerous. If we pour oil on the actual flame with our negative prophesies, the fire will rage and burn uncontrollably.

Every night after we light the menorah, we stay with the flickering flames for at least a half hour and sing and dance by its light. I whisper petitions to G‑d by the menorah's glowing light, praying for my family, asking Him to guide me as a mother and illuminate me with the wisdom I so need to be a good mommy.

It's hard to be a parent. It's more than a profession or occupation; it's all-encompassing and never-ending. But it's easier to find the goodness when you see it through joyous eyes. You also have more chance for positive results when you predict positive outcomes. The foundation of the self-esteem and self-confidence of our children lies in our hands. If we perceive them as good and beautiful beings, then we are giving them the basis to not only believe in themselves, but to fulfill these constructive prophesies of goodness.