Echoes of Elul Day 9: Memories

Monica Engel

My Mother became a widow when I was four years old. She always viewed my childhood as negative and felt I was cheated. I, on the other hand, remember and cherish my childhood memories. I lived on my grandparent’s farm every summer. I learned table manners and cooking from my grandmother. I learned how to milk a cow and tend a garden from my grandfather. My aunts and uncles who had no children doted on and spoiled me. And, this poor fatherless child was always the teacher’s pet.

These lessons I learned from others also helped to shape my life. It was valuable to experience peers and adults to expand my awareness outside my own home. I learned right from wrong, how to listen to elders, and saw the way other families lived. The nuances of body language and boundaries were learned. Although I could not articulate it at the time, the memories of these lessons were planted in me at an early age and took root.

Fast forward to our current lifestyle. What memories will our children have from the time they have been in confinement? Interacting with other children and extended family is an important learning experience. What effects will the absence of sleepovers, playdates and in room classes have on our children? Will the isolation impact their sense of place in the world?

I hope these limitations do not have lasting negative effects, and that all of us who come in contact with children can work to provide various experiences for them to stimulate healthy curiosity, connection, and a strong sense of self.

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