Being in a compromised state after a catastrophic accident, one might wonder how will young children react and adapt to their new reality of having a father whose appearance is radically different than before?
For example, I no longer can give them bear hugs or pick them up and swing them through the air.
Should we expect them to be in a state of confusion? Might they be angry? Perhaps they would be withdrawn or even alienated from their father?
Well, in our case, our nine children, even the youngest ones have shown remarkable resilience and a quick normalization process.
I would like to share with you a few examples which illustrate this.
A few days ago, my seven -year-old daughter was asked by her teacher to choose among a range of professions and to describe and illustrate the characteristics that they possess.
She immediately chose a nurse and drew things that she sees every day.
We took the fact that she proceeded to do this so naturally as a sign that she has found comfort with her situation.
The amazing thing is that she had to explain what the items were to the teacher.
I shall now show you the picture that she drew.
She then proceeded to inform her teacher,” I think when I grow up I will be a nurse. I already know most of it, and then I can help Abba!”
Now that’s what I call being comfortable with her situation!
I have a four year old child, who, when he was three, friends came by with an invitation to a Bat Mitzvah. He asked “is there an elevator? My Abba can come if there is one!”
Even three year old watches over his beloved pop.
My ten year old daughter went over to her teacher and mentioned that a girl in her class was not feeling well, could the teacher help her?
The teacher asked how she knew that the girl was sick, did she tell her?
“No, I can just tell.” She replied.
The teacher went over and asked if she was O.K., the girl started crying, she was too shy to tell the teacher that she was unwell, and wanted to go home.
The teacher was amazed! How did my daughter know?
This happened more than once; she was able to pick up nuances in her environment!
This could only be because my young daughter has become super sensitized to those around her. I think this is caused by her ever watchful eye over her dear dad.
One of my eldest daughters had an interview for acceptance at a women’s seminary in Israel.
Apparently, the interviewer had heard about our story and she was curious about how it affected my daughter.
So the interviewer asked why she had neglected to mention anything about the accident in her essay? Her response was, “You asked me to write about myself, not about my father!”.
Clearly, she has a healthy sense that her identity is worthy in its own right, and its totally separate from the accident that so deeply affected her.
The lesson is obvious. Although some adults act like children in all the wrong ways, there is one behavior that we should all mimic.
And that’s the behavior of flexibility, and adaptability.
Because getting stuck in one’s ways can be dangerous when things “happen” to change in life.