The Coat of Many Colors—who doesn’t recognize the famous story of Yosef HaTzaddik and his delicate relationship with his 11 brothers? For many reasons, that story remains engraved in the minds of children, even way into adulthood. As adults, we must understand how intriguing this story actually is, and why children are fascinated with it.
There is the sweet, loving, unbreakable bond of the dedicated father to his son. There is the bond that a child feels to his parent when given love, support and loving gifts. Yosef grew up with good self-esteem, not afraid of what others might do to him, showing tremendous resilience while in the spiritual darkness of ancient Egypt. What thought came to Yosef’s mind, to save him in his darkest hour, when Potiphar, the wife of Pharoh, tried to bring him down? It was the image of his father Yaakov’s face: the face of the loving, peaceful and wise parent. This image of ourselves as parents is what we want our children to have engraved in their mind’s eye, to guide them with confidence through life’s trials.
Then there is the other side of the story. Every brother (or sister) feels awkward in the face of favoritism. Favoring one child over all the others bring children to feel jealousy towards their siblings, to the extent that they might even want to hurt their brothers (or sisters). All healthy children want to gain favor in their parents’ eyes.
Finding the good in every single child in our families, based on each child’s unique personality, talents and “middos”, gives each individual the support and love that s/he requires in order to grow up into a self-confident adult. A parent must do many things in order for all the children in a family to feel that each one of them is as special as the next. This breeds an entire dynasty of resilient, self-confident children, ready to approach the world supported by the backing of their parents.
THIS WEEK: Love each and every child as if they were your favorite. Every child should get compliments on the good things that they do or say through out the week. If one child needs shoes, see if perhaps the other children might need something as well—an eraser, a sweater, a book to read. Be careful not to flaunt the talents of one child in the face of another, for the danger in doing so, is great.