July 21, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 21, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

What started off as two simple Sundays turned out to be two days when I learned a huge lesson from my daughter and her friends.

A few Sundays ago my 9-year-old daughter and a friend were playing together at the other girl’s house. After a while they wanted to start a lemonade stand but her block was quieter than ours so they moved to our house. When they got to my house, they teamed up with another friend on our block. Together they measured lemonade, made a sign, decided on prices, took cookies and brownies from the two houses and set up their stand. They stood outside getting customers to stop their cars and getting all of the neighbors to come and buy lemonade and snacks. I loved their excitement and watched as they had so much fun.

Then I realized that I could teach the girls a great lesson here—just as we all have to give a portion of what we earn to tzedakah, the girls too would have to give a portion away to whatever tzedakah they would choose. What a great way to bring in Chodesh Elul! Starting the new year with a lesson of tzedakah could only be good! I went outside and told the girls the plan. I was so surprised what came next. My daughter spoke as the others nodded their heads in agreement: “Mommy—we aren’t keeping any of the money. We all agreed to give the money to the people in Houston because of the hurricane.”

I was blown away. No adult gave them the idea. No grown-up told them what they had to do. They had been hearing their parents talk about the hurricane and decided to take matters into their own hands. They knew the right thing and were prepared to hand over their hard-earned money to help strangers. With collaboration from the neighbors who were purchasing items from the stand, they named it their “Lemon-Aid” stand (thank you Zombergs!) and raised $18.73. I know that compared to the other amounts that local hot dog stands and lemonade stands have brought in, that might not seem like a lot, but to them it was the world. And to me it was too.

I thought I had learned a lot from them that day but then the lesson continued.

This past Sunday, two weeks after the first lemonade stand, my daughter had a different friend over. Again, the table was brought outside, the lemonade was made and the sale began. The same block friend plus another girl joined and they girls raised an additional $20.11 to donate to the Hurricane Relief fund. This time I learned Lesson #2 from these wonderful fourth-grade girls. We often get stuck with who our kids play with, which friends they are put with in class each year, who is going to what camp, what carpool you are in for bar and bat mitzvahs, etc. The first time we had three girls from three different schools working together. This time, I watched as four girls from three different schools came together to make a difference in the greater Klal Yisrael. They weren’t told who to play with, they weren’t instructed on whom to include and they weren’t guided in any way. Each time they found their paths together, introducing the girls who didn’t know each other and sitting together b’yachad to make their impact on the world.

And that’s when I realized that the lessons weren’t for me to teach, but for me to learn.

By Tamar Sheffey

 Tamar Sheffey, LCSW, is the director of guidance at Yeshiva University High School for Boys. In addition she is a co-director at Camp 613. She lives with her husband and four wonderful daughters in Bergenfield.

 

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles