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I Am Not Going to School Today!

Thursday, 19 January, 2023 - 6:57 pm

My son asked me to buy him a water bottle this week, and I was busy at the time, so I told him we’d take care of it another time. The next morning, he asked me again, and again I said, “I’m busy, I can’t do it right now.”

“Well, I’m not going to school until you get me a water bottle,” he countered.

At first I ignored him, but I soon realized he was actually serious.

Moreover, he was threatening me with something I care deeply about—his education. Not something I could easily shrug off. I want him to go to school!

How do I get out of this one? I thought to myself.

But I was stumped. How did he come up with such a winning strategy?

He chose something that he knows is deeply important to me. He knows I wouldn’t want him to miss a day or even an hour of his studies—Talmud, Chumash, etc. At the same time, I can’t force him.

I realized very quickly with my older set that kids are master negotiators. The professionals could learn a lot from children at bedtime. Or dessert time. Or in a candy or toy store. They are naturally gifted in the art of negotiation. In all these scenarios, when it’s child vs parent … the children pretty much always win.

In this instance, I tried every tactic I could think of, but my son was adamant: No water bottle? No school.

Ultimately, I gave in and bought the water bottle. (I also didn’t have another option for keeping him entertained for the day!)

But as I reflected on it, I realized we can all use some of those childhood negotiation tactics!

There’s one thing we want more than anything: Moshiach and the Final Redemption. When that happens, all war, poverty, and suffering will end. Our problems, big and small, will dissipate. Our health issues will vanish. We’ll live peacefully with our neighbors. It’s what we dream of and pray for every day.

So, we know what we want, but how do we get it? We need some of that childish stubbornness. We need to force our Father in Heaven to comply. How do we do that?

By increasing our Torah study and mitzvot, and specifically doing them with joy. Joy has the power to break down barriers, we are taught. So the more joy we can infuse into our observance, the faster we will break down the barriers and bring Moshiach.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s go!

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