July 14, 2015, Israel
Train them young, develop good habits and good values.
Keeping a promise is a virtue, a time honored value. In all societies, during all ages this has not changed. A promise is a promise. Your word is your honor.
Sadly these days I have heard of retreats and "seminars" where new age thinkers teach that promises are only to be kept as long as they serve your needs. When the promise no longer benefits you, it is off, you are absolved. Modern hogwash.
My dad, of blessed memory, would often comment on such situations. You made a mistake and sometimes, in order to keep your promise, your word, it is going to cost you. "Ribe gelt" he would say in Yiddish, roughly this means learning money, the money you lost to learn a valuable lesson.
We want to make promises, we want to protect our loved ones. We want to reassure our young that we shall always be there for them, that we shall always protect them.
But can we?
The sad bitter truth is we cannot. And we must never make this promise, for it is a lie.
Shortly after my father passed away I was in Los Angeles visiting my brother and my nieces. The girls were watching the Lion King. I joined them for a few minutes. The young cub was in trouble with his dad, the Lion King, he had messed up. Soon all was straightened out and the relieved young lion said to his dad, "So Dad, we are OK?" and the father answered, "Yes, we are OK."
The exchange that followed next hit me hard. The cub continues, "And you will always be with me Dad?"
And my heart pounded. What could a father answer? The truth is a father cannot respond with a 'yes'. The father will die before the son. My father, my role model, my hero, had just died. If he could die, any father could die. So how could a father say, Yes, I will always be there for you?
But this is only a children's film, and yet, we cannot lie to children. What would the Lion King say?
My heart beat fast, all this happened in a split second. And then the brilliant line, "No son, I will not always be here for you, but I will always watch over you.
Truer words have never been spoken.
The truth is we cannot always be there for the next generation but we can do our utmost to protect them.
I recall a horrible scene. A young Israeli girl had been killed by an Arab terrorist. She was so young, so sweet, so innocent. She had not trained in Krav Maga, she was enjoying life and partying, not practicing to defend against knife attacks. What kind of world do we live in where a teenage girl must worry about knife attacks? But we do.
I watched on the news, her poor mother was sobbing over her daughters' fresh grave, "Forgive me daughter, I have failed you, forgive me for not protecting you."
A parent cannot always be there to shield their child. And no teenager wants their parent to serve as a constant bodyguard. But what we can do, what we must do, is train them.
Just as a child must learn to read and write they must learn to survive in the real world. Today that means Krav Maga. It is our obligation to train the next generation. Better to train them now then to apologize later.
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