Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Out of the mouths of babes

My nephews, ages 4 and 6, take karate lessons twice a week near their northern California home. In addition to their regular class, they also take a "leadership" course that combines cool-looking martial-arts moves with discussions about "life skills" like generosity, self-esteem, perseverance, etc.

Rivka tells me that yesterday, Mr. E, the instructor, suggested to the children that every morning they give themselves a "pep talk" to make themselves feel good and start off the day on a positive, high-energy note.

"I tell myself I'm a genius!" piped one little boy.

"I thank God every day that I'm alive" added a little girl.

"Every morning in school, I daven to Hashem!" said Ilan.

There was a beat.

"What was that, Ilan?" asked Mr. E.

"I daven to Hashem," Ilan repeated.

"Uh, what does that mean?" Mr. E asked.

Ilan thought for a second. "It means I pray to God," he explained.

"Well that's nice," Mr E responded. "So that's a way of saying that you thank God, too."

"Yes," Ilan said. "That's exactly what davening is. Only, the long way."

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