This article was previously published in 2017.
"Why are my children so wild?"
Have you ever spent any time with unruly children? I mean, really unruly children. I have. Now, don’t get me wrong – all children are beautiful, some are just shall we say… highly spirited? A friend of mine had a couple of kids like that. No matter what she and her husband seemed to do, they could not manage their children’s temperament. We’d be sitting there in the living room and they’d come barreling through, running and screaming, knocking over furniture like bulls in a china shop.
I’ll never forget the day she turned to me and asked: Why, Karen? Why are my children so wild?
I answered, “Well spiritually speaking, many of the behavioral patterns of a child are formed during conception. For example, if one is angry during the moment of conceiving, they might end up with an angry child.”
She didn’t much like that answer. But you know, it is true. We get a glimpse into this profound idea in this week’s portion of Naso. There is an entire passage in which an angel comes to a pregnant woman and tells her all that she must restrict in order for her child to be born a Nazarite. In fact, the angel tells her not to drink alcohol! Imagine, all those years ago the Bible already knew what doctors only started telling women in the 1970’s? What the Bible is really telling us here is that the formation of such a high holy soul does not begin at birth, but rather when the child is still in the womb and even at the moment of conception.
"Many of the behavioral patterns of a child are formed during conception."
The significance of this story is not reserved for pregnant women alone, as you may have guessed. It relates to every aspect of our human lives. We are constantly “conceiving,” are we not? We are always creating life of some kind. Whether we are forming new friendships, taking on new business ventures, baking a cake, or creating a child – what determines the result of how our lives will look are not just our actions, but also our thoughts as we perform them.
A mother’s home cooked meal always tastes better because it was made with love. A business that is created out of true passion and a desire to share is often more successful than the kind that are built as get-rich-quick schemes. And yes, children who are conceived in a moment of a genuine spiritual awareness and an exchange of true love are special souls indeed.
I’d like you to do something this week: Take a look at your own unruly children. I don’t mean that literally. (Unless, of course, you really do have unruly children.) What isn’t working in your life? What are the areas where things tend to go haywire? Now, trace it back to the beginning and ask yourself if your consciousness was in a state of sharing when the whole process began. And guess what? The good news is, we can always change it. We can always improve the future simply by being better in the here and now.
This week also happens to be when the holiday of Shavuot occurs, an intense injection of Light that can assist us in maintaining a more positive consciousness all year round.
You see, sometimes we don’t need to change our actions at all. We just need our intentions to be pure of heart. With a desire to share as the driving force behind all that we do, we are sure to create better destinations for ourselves and others.