When I say “burden,” I mean it in the best possible way. One of the definitions of burden is “responsibility for achieving a specified aim or task.” As parents, we have taken upon ourselves the responsibility of providing our children with a happy, healthy and fulfilled life. We strive to raise them to be responsible people with integrity. And our aim is to provide them with every opportunity for future success.
It is a happy burden that we take on willingly. But it is a burden, nonetheless.
And my wife and I have taken on that burden seven times over. We thank God that He has provided us with a house large enough for such a brood in the peaceful Jerusalem-area village of Tzur Hadassah. But we are regularly reminded that no matter how peaceful our surroundings, life in a family of nine is inevitably hectic.
What really gets to you are the sudden, unexpected new demands on the family schedule. Our oldest son went into high school this year. And that opened the doors to really engage his passion for programming and all things cyber-related. He’s studying to take on a hi-tech role in the Israel Air Force and has joined a prestigious extracurricular “cybersecurity” program. When he asked to also sign up for a robotics competition league, we thought, “What’s one more thing?”
We might have spoke too soon.
Turns out the league is an international affair, and that with the mission all the different teams are to take on now announced, the students are entering an intense 7-week development schedule that promises to include many sleepless nights working together with their peers.
Given that, as noted above, we now live outside Jerusalem, that’s going to mean a lot of back-and-forth for us parents.
In no way has our desire to facilitate every opportunity for our child lessened, but he’s just started high school, and he’s only the first of seven!
The busyness of life for individual families like ours in Israel reflects the busyness of life for Israel as a nation.
The Jewish state is a tremendous success story. And while we firmly believe that that success is the direct result of God’s promised blessing, it also required a lot of hard work. Not for a minute of the past 72 years has Israel simply sat back in exception of what was “due” her. This nation has constantly strove and pushed itself toward bigger and better things.
In fact, Israel’s biblical history is much the same. God’s promises were ever-present. His intervention was regular. But the Chosen People were always required to work hard and do their part. Like our children with us, we rely on Him to guide and make straight our path (Proverbs 3:6). But we must actually walk it.
So, when life gets extra busy, and the children begin to feel a little more like burden than blessing, it is instructive to pause and consider what our loving Heavenly Father must constantly contend with to keep us all happy, healthy, fulfilled and on a path toward success.