Friday, February 02, 2007

BEWARE: Don't scratch!

Al Gore and his environmentalist colleagues could take a page out of our book. Judaism has got to be the only religion that dedicates a day as “Rosh Hashanah” for trees.

Tu Bishvat is not only a day to recall the value of trees in society. It is a day to reflect on the lessons that trees teach us about life. “For man is the tree of the field,” says the Torah. Chassidic teaching highlights various similarities between trees and people- each needs good roots, and should ultimately produce fruit.

Perhaps one of the most valuable lessons from a tree relates to bringing up children.

You often see people’s names etched on tree barks. “John was here”, “Suzy loves Mark”, it’s gross disrespect to the tree, but the tree will survive.

But, if you had to make a tiny scratch on a seed, the whole tree would grow scarred.

This is the difference between children and adults. As an adult, negative exposure or habits may not ruin you. A child, though, is highly impressionable. A small “scratch” on a child’s fertile mind can affect their life’s outlook.

Tu Bishvat reminds us to nurture our little saplings with care. We parents need to weed out the words our children should never hear. We must guide them in proper behaviour, etiquette and respect- mainly by setting a good example. We need to think carefully about the images we allow them to see and the role models (real or fictional) that we encourage them to emulate.

If we tend out little gardens with care, vigilance and lots of healthy spiritual supplements, we will enjoy beautiful trees in years to come.

1 comment:

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