Leap of Faith: sometimes our kids are not fine

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Leap of Faith: sometimes our kids are not fine

Brokenness should not be denied

It can be hard to say out loud, or to write down, but we need to admit and to share with each other that sometimes our children, and indeed we, simply are not ok. It’s not a reflection on us or poor parenting or bad decisions… it just that our children, like everybody, sometimes need help and support.

Before the pandemic took hold, Jews were slightly more likely than the general population to report feeling anxious. Since then, those numbers have shot up. According to a study by Jewish Policy Research, almost two in three people in our community reported a deterioration in their mental wellbeing. The younger the respondents were, the more likely they were to report mental distress.

Covid was isolating for many, but not talking about what we and our families went through increased that isolation. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Let’s not do this on our own. Let’s share our stories and our concerns, raise each other up and support one another.

Children’s Mental Health Week 2023 takes place from 6-12 February. Liberal Judaism is proud to support this important moment in our calendar where, with the theme of Let’s Connect, people of all ages are tasked to consider how we can make meaningful connections that support mental health.

As I think about this, the Torah text that I find myself turning to over and over is the image of Moses coming down the mountain, seeing the people had strayed and smashing the tablets of the Commandments sending pieces everywhere. Anger, hurt and betrayal burned in him. But the Midrash tells us that, subsequently, Moses goes and picks up every piece and places them side by side with the second set.

There is holiness in brokenness, but even though Moses was broken that was not his whole story. We need to remind ourselves of this. We need to hold our children tight, however big they are, and tell them this story, tell them that brokenness is not something that should be denied or held at arm’s length. Rather it is part of what makes us human.

Our mental health issues should not be hidden away, but looked at as part of our wholeness and as we share our experiences, so we allow others to share theirs.



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