.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Isn't it pretty?

Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Because of this post, Miriam has tagged me with the RAK bug, so here goes, in no particular order: 1. I am using this post as my starting point - it gave a great feeling to both involved. 2. I made brownies for Shabbos lunch to share with everyone (and most people consider my baked goods an act of kindness - yum!). 3. I helped my friend with her children's birthday party on Sunday. 4. I helped out with a barbecue yesterday. 5. I bought my friend ice cream. I want to add an additional piece to the tag - here is a list of 5 random acts of kindness that others did for me: 1. My friend went through my computer to try to make it run better. 2. I was invited to three barbecues this weekend. 3. A new friend let me cry on her shoulder and was incredibly understanding and caring - I didn't feel embarrassed at all. 4. A friend gave me this book as a graduation gift - perfect! 5. A friend went to the mall with me and helped me look for an outfit for the weddings I have to go to in the near future. I am annoying to shop with and she didn't get frustrated with me at all! I hate tagging other people, but Annabel Lee was complaining that no one tagged her for the last one - so she's it now!

Monday, May 30, 2005


There are some people that you meet that you feel an instant connection to. You feel completely comfortable in their presence, and even though you have only known them for a very short time, it seems like much longer. I sometimes have a hard time opening up to others, and revealing my emotional side, my weaknesses, the part of me that is not so strong and is a bit vulnerable. So, it was very unusual for me when I found myself at a Shabbos table this past week crying to a woman that I just met a little over a week ago. We were talking about different things, and discovering many commonalities between the two of us. We have gone through very similar situations in life, and through talking to her, I knew she completely understood what I was going through and how I was feeling. And before I knew it, tears were flowing from my eyes and I was crying. And I cry extremely rarely in front of other people. And the funny thing was, I wasn't embarrassed about it. She was so understanding, and caring, and was so supportive, that I wasn't ashamed about the fact that my emotions were flowing so strongly in front of this person that I barely knew. I even felt that it bonded us in a certain way. It's funny, because there are people that I have known for years, that I am extremely close with who have never seen me cry. I cry plenty, but not usually in front of other people. I can usually control myself when I in the company of others. But not on Shabbos, with this woman. And it was actually nice to feel that she wasn't judging me for it, that I could really be myself, even if that wasn't a happy, bubbly person every second. It was a good lesson for me, that I don't have to be the strongest person in the room all the time. That it's okay to show your feelings to others sometimes; that they won't necessarily think less of you for it - they might understand you better. It really felt good to cry.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Finally Feeling Like Summer

It is so beautiful out today, right in time for Lag B'Omer. I got off work early today, and indulged in a favorite pasttime of mine. I got in my car, put one of my favorite CD's in (since I haven't gotten to listen to it in a while), rolled down my windows, sang as loud as I could, and drove down the highway. It was so nice to enjoy the air, the breeze and the music. I hope this is just the beginning of a great summer! Have a good Shabbos!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Random Kindness

Almost every day during my lunch break, I take a walk down to the drugstore a few blocks behind my office. It gives me the opportunity to get out into the fresh air and get a break from my computer. I know it's completely ridiculous that I make up some kind of little something that I need from the drugstore, but it really refreshes me and gives me the energy to get through the last few hours of work. The clerk there knows me by now and we always exchange pleasantries. I also see some of the same customers there on occasion, though I haven't made any friends among them yet. It's about a ten minute walk each way to and from my office, so I usually shop fairly quickly so I can get back within my thirty-minute lunch break. Today I decided the necessity du jour was a little bit of chocolate (we all get those cravings from time to time). As I was browsing through the candy aisle, an older woman next to me was shaking her head and mumbling about how she couldn't find the candy she wanted. I asked her what she was looking for and tried to help her locate it. Unfortunately, what I located was the spot where her candy should have been - and was sold out. She was disappointed and said she was going to let the employees "have it" (though personally I think it wouldn't have been too harsh a scolding). After finding the chocolate that I wanted, I was wandering through the aisles on my way to get some water, when I noticed the candy the woman wanted in a special display. I went back to the candy aisle, found the woman still there, and guided her over to the special display, pointing out her desired candy. She was so delighted. She thanked me profusely and went on and on about how thoughtful I was. It is amazing how little a thing can make such an incredible difference in one's day. And I am talking about my day as well. It didn't take much to brighten up both of our spirits. A minute and a kind word. I hope I get the opportunity to many more such acts.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Graduation Post-Hoc - The Talk

To end my graduation weekend, my mom was scheduled to leave at the crack of dawn on Sunday, with my dad following in the afternoon. This gave my father and I the rare opportunity to spend some time together without anyone else around. This is literally an occurrence that takes place once every year or so, if that often. Because of the frustration and hurt that had been building up in me for the past few months (and years), I wanted to take the opportunity to have a good, honest, mature and hopefully healing, talk. I felt a bit bad about doing this, because I knew my father had no idea that it was coming. But I figured that if I hadn't myself in a controlled, non-emotional (very important to my father) manner, then things should be okay. Sunday morning we went out to a bagel place for brunch and then when we left, I told my dad that I wanted to talk, seriously. We went to a gazebo behind my apartment and sat down, face to face. I calmly told my father about the hurt I have felt, about how I was upset about some issues that had come up, how I want to have a better relationship with him. I also told him how much it meant to me that he had come for the weekend and how I finally saw him being proud of me, which moved me greatly. I explained to him that I felt that he saw me as the volatile teenager I used to be, not the adult that I have become. I told him that it hurt me that in the five years since I moved away from Birmingham, this had been his first visit. He acknowledged that many of these things were true, but that he had no idea what I had been feeling (which I knew). He told me how proud of me he was, and how it was a new experience for him to see me as a mature adult with my friends. He said that the weekend had done a lot for him to see me for the person I am now, and he was impressed. He told me he wanted to have a better relationship with me as well, and thanked me for bringing it up. He asked me to help him listen to me more fully. He told me he is going to try to visit more often. It was such a huge step; I am not sure my father and I have ever had such an open talk wherein we both heard each other in the past. I am not sure I was capable of it in the past. The entire weekend did so much good, in so many ways. I am sure there will be things that come up in the future, but I think we have now laid the groundwork to having a better relationship, which is at least something. It is incredible how much has come from my decision almost two years ago to return to college. I simply thought it would mean a new career that I cared about. Instead, it has meant a greater self-confidence, an expanded field of knowledge, a renewed love of learning and exploration, a pride in my intellect, and maybe most importantly, a maturity that has allowed me to heal some really old wounds. It was hard, but it was sure worth it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Graduation Post-Hoc - Shabbos

This past weekend's Shabbos with my parents in town turned out really nice - even better than I could have hoped for. Friday night, I cooked the meal. Because I had the graduation ceremony on Friday, I spent the first part of the week in preparation - Monday was challah, Tuesday was dessert, Wednesday was fish, Thursday was main course and Friday morning was finishing up. My mother is allergic to my cat, so a friend of mine offered her apartment for the setting for Friday night. It was my parents, my cousins who live in Baltimore, my friend, myself and an additional guest. My father has never joined me for a Shabbos meal, I am not sure he had ever attended a traditional Shabbos meal in his life, so I was happy that I would have the opportunity to show him what it was like, though I was nervous that he wouldn't like it. The evening went off beautifully. Everyone was impressed by my cooking, especially my father who hadn't been the recipient of my culinary talents in a long time. The company was great, and we ended up talking until 11:30 and we were all about to drop from exhaustion. Shabbos day my dad opted out, so my mom and I went to a friend's house for lunch, and we were joined by my roommate. My mom had stayed at this friend's house when she visited in the past, though there was now a new addition to the family that my mom was delighted to meet. My friends surprised me with a beautiful bunch of roses, a couple balloons and graduation-themed plates to celebrate my accomplishment. We had a really enjoyable afternoon of eating and shmoozing and catching up. For shalosh seudah (the "third meal" on Shabbos), neighbors of mine hosted both my parents, a couple of my friends and some of the other families that I am friendly with. They put out a beautiful table and everyone enjoyed themselves very much. My father struck up conversation with my neighbor about working in the Jewish communal services field. What was so striking about the whole Shabbos, for myself and my parents, was that my parents (especially my dad who hadn't been to visit me before) finally got to see me in my element. They got to see me interacting with my friends on a mature, adult level. They saw me arranging and organizing a meal, playing (kind of) hostess. And the friends that my parents met made a point of taking the time out to tell my parents what my friendship meant to them, which moved both me and my parents. It is so easy for parents to see their children always as children. It was one of the first times my parents had seen me grown up, with adult friends who think highly of me. It was the first time they had seen how well-regarded I am by my peers, and how much those people I have made part of my life care about me, and I them. I think it truly was the first time my father saw me as a responsible, mature adult. It was a very important Shabbos, one that I think has laid the groundwork towards improving the quality of my relationship with my parents. One more part of the weekend to come - stay tuned!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Graduation Post-Hoc - The Ceremony

What a weekend! So much went on that I am not even sure where to start. My parents were here all weekend for my graduation and it was a roller-coaster of emotional experiences. I guess I will start with graduation itself. Friday was a rainy, yucky day, but luckily our ceremony was held indoors. I got there and could only find a few people that I knew. I sat down with a couple other psychology students and waited for everything to get organized. They began to line us up by calling our names alphabetically. When they called our names, they handed us cards with our names, majors and an indication of whether we graduated with honors. Long ago, I had read some policy about graduating with honors that I thought had said that because I was a part-time student, I was disqualified from honors status. Apparently, I was wrong. My card said that I graduated summa cum laude (with highest honors). I was stunned, and excited and honestly, really proud of myself. After they lined us up, we marched into the auditorium and took our seats. We then watched our professors and administrators march in. I was happy to see a couple of the professors that I had gotten to know marching in, but I was sad that one particular instructor of mine, whom I formerly had a big crush on, was not there. He had been a huge inspiration and motivation to me, and has become a good friend, and I was disappointed that I couldn't share my accomplishment with him. The ceremony was fairly short and sweet. Boring speakers, but at least they didn't talk for too long. I never realized how excited I would be to hear them mispronounce my name (and boy, did they butcher it!) and walk across that stage, shaking hands with the hardest professor I have ever had (and I had him every single semester), but have learned a lot from. I could feel the huge smile on my face and knew that I was really happy to be there. After the ceremony ended, and we were walking out, I ran up to my one good friend who was graduating with me and gave her a big hug (I didn't care that I had to break in line to do it - I wanted to walk out with her). What I thought was so cool about it was the fact that this particular friend of mine happens to be a religious Muslim also, and I am very happy about the fact that we have become such good friends, despite our religious differences (though we have also found many similarities). I pushed through the crowd as quickly as I could to find my parents. When I found them, they handed me a bunch of beautiful roses and gave me big hugs. My father was choked up, and could barely speak, he was so proud of me. I have never seen him like that before, at least not when it came to me. It really moved me a lot to see him proud of me. I was sad to be saying goodbye to my friends and the school, but in the end, I felt a sense of pride within myself that I am not sure I have ever felt before. I worked really hard for something and have accomplished it. It was a great feeling. More stories from the weekend to follow...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Updated Links

I have updated my sidebar links to include some people who have recently added me to their blog rolls. If I have missed someone, please let me know either in the comments, or e-mail me.

Giving in Love

I am almost finished reading the book "Beach Music" by Pat Conroy. It's the story of family, love, friendship, betrayal, anger and any number of additional emotions. It's not going to be added to my list of favorites, but one of the passages I was reading last night really struck me. One of the characters in the book, Lucy, is dying of cancer and her son, Jack, is taking care of her. Jack says to Lucy that he wished he had loved her more, and been able to express that love to her more easily. Lucy responds to Jack by saying the love is not words, it is action. Love is shown by taking care of another, by giving to them, not by saying any specific phrase. I completely agree with this. I have heard the word "love" thrown around over and over again, with little meaning attached to it. It's easy to say the word love but it is much harder to show it. Especially true love that causes you to put someone else before yourself. To give up, with a whole heart, those things that you desire in exchange for giving someone else their desires. That doesn't happen often, and isn't easy to show or receive. But what I think is more important about the action of love is tailoring those actions to the object of your love. Many times I have been given gifts by someone who "loves" me, but those gifts weren't what I wanted or would enjoy, it was what the person who gave them wanted or would enjoy. Many times financial support has been offered as a symbol of love, but money is easy - it doesn't show the emotional support that one often needs even more. I think a lot of people don't know how to show real love; they choose to take the easier routes because, well, it's easier. It doesn't take as much thought and doesn't make you as vulnerable if the love isn't returned. But it also doesn't bond you to another in the same way. It's not easy to show real love, and it is risky in many ways. But the rewards are priceless.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


I think most people enjoy their graduations, look forward to them, have a party and are filled with cheer. But for me, it is turning quite bittersweet and stressful. I kind of wish it could be a total non-event. I am very proud of myself that I have worked extremely hard to get to this point. I have an excellent GPA, more importantly I have learned a LOT, and while it was difficult working full-time while going to school, I did enjoy it. But I'm going to miss it. I'm going to miss my school and friends that I have become so comfortable with. The classes and professors that I have gotten to know well. I want to keep in touch with those I have met, but I am also realistic and feel like it's not going to last, which will be sad. And graduation itself is turning into such a pain. Making all the arrangements, scheduling everything, making phone calls, all the hassles that I feel I shouldn't have to worry about. I should just be enjoying my accomplishment. And it hurts a bit that I see my fellow graduates clamoring for extra tickets to graduation, and I was giving my extra tickets away, because who wants to sit through a boring graduation anyway? No one that I know. Sorry for the whine, just a bit stressed out. Hopefully next week, with degree in hand, robe retired, and parents back home, things will be better.

Monday, May 16, 2005

I'm It

Sorry about the hiatus, was out of town for the weekend with no Internet access (how can one function without e-mail?). LIFE-of-RUBIN tagged me with the following, and since I am too tired to write about any of the many things that happened over the weekend, he gave me a gift of a post for today. I apologize in advance because I refuse to pass these kind of things on. If anyone reading wants to consider themselves "tagged," go for it. I have to complete five of the following starters: If I could be a scientist...If I could be a farmer...If I could be a musician...If I could be a doctor...If I could be a painter...If I could be a gardener...If I could be a missionary...If I could be a chef...If I could be an architect...If I could be a linguist...If I could be a psychologist...If I could be a librarian...If I could be an athlete...If I could be a lawyer...If I could be an inn-keeper...If I could be a professor...If I could be a writer...If I could be a llama-rider...If I could be a bonnie pirate...If I could be an astronaut...If I could be a world famous blogger...If I could be a justice on any one court in the world...If I could be married to any current famous political figure...(added by Tamara) If I could be a rabbi...

If I could be a librarian...I would read all the books myself! I would try to imbue a love for literature and words in the people who came to the library. I would help the patrons find the perfect book and I would always take time out to read to the children.

If I could be an astronaut...I would go to the moon, the planets and beyond. When I was younger, I actually had dreams of being an astronaut and spending time amongst the planets and stars. I would love doing experiments and trying to figure out some of the mysteries of the universe. I am fascinated by the possibilities of inventing cures for cancer in the realm of anti-gravity. Alas, I was told just this past week that I can't be an astronaut. How mean is that?

If I could be a psychologist...I would be a neuropsychologist and study the brain and all of its intricacies. I think the brain is probably the most interesting, complicated, wonderful thing on this planet and I could spend eight of my lifetimes studying it and never be bored.

If I could be a painter...I would paint walls and furniture and houses with murals to brighten up the mundane streets and houses that we live in. I would grab children to help me splash colors along the landscape of cities. I would love coloring the expanses of concrete.

If I could be a gardener...I would spend days outside planting vegetables and flowers and trees. Forget neat, organized rows, I would throw everything in together and anticipate the minute when they break through the soil and dot my landscape with color. I have actually been wanting a garden for a while now - anyone want to donate a piece of earth to me? Thanks, Rubin, that was fun!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

In Need of a Force Field

A friend has been promising to build me a force field for quite some time now. There are moments in my life when I really could use it. Not because of any kind of physical abuse I take, but because of those people who can utter just a few words and cause tears to start falling from my eyes. And they don't even realize they do it. And I think that may be the most frustrating part. I end a conversation in tears, and this person goes on his merry way, with no clue how hurt his actions and indifference make me feel. I have tried in the past to do one of two things. The first thing I have tried is to not let it bother me. Why should someone else have control over my emotions? Why should someone else be able to spoil my day so easily and make me feel so bad? No one should have that power, but as hard as I try to not let it bother me, it does. The other thing I have tried in the past, and it is about time for it to happen again, is talking about it. The problem with this strategy is that the other person isn't frustrated so has no motivation to change the situation. And he doesn't deal with problems like this well - his solution is usually for me to get over it. Which brings me back to my first strategy, which doesn't work. I wish I had my force field, and I could put it on every time I talked to him. I wish I could have a relationship where he didn't affect me and the way I feel. But I don't know how, and my friend hasn't built me my force field yet. I sometimes wish I could cut this person out of my life, so he couldn't hurt me anymore, but I can't. Because he's my father. I don't know what to do.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Don't Diss Alabama

When I tell people that I went to an excellent high school that gave me an incredible education, they often question what kind of education I could have received in Alabama. Well, Newsweek agrees with me. My high school was just named the #1 public high school in America. Granted, this ranking is based purely on students taking a high number of college-preparatory classes. But if you read the article, you will see at the end that is also discusses the dedication of the teachers, the exploratory nature of the learning and the committment of the students to actually increase their knowledge. So for all those people who question if anything is taught in Alabama besides how to cow-tip, my high school stands as a shining example for what you can teach in public school.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Apartment Help Needed

I am in need of help - if anyone knows of anything, please e-mail me or post in the comments: 1) 1 female in need of a shomer shabbos/kashrut apartment on the Upper West Side, available as of June 1. 2) 1 female in need of apartment in Passaic, available as of August 1. Thanks for your help!

What's does a degree mean?

Last week I discussed with a couple people whether I would date someone who does not have a college degree. First, a little background about myself. I will have my Bachelor's degree in a little less than two weeks. Those who know I am 27 years old and can do simple math will realize that it has taken me longer than the average student to attain that degree. There were several reasons for this, mainly the fact that I took about five years off in the middle of my ten years since high school to work while not going to school. My mother has a Bachelor's, my father has two Masters degrees. I grew up in a college-bound household, I didn't ever have much of a choice about what to do after high school, besides college. The big question was where would I go and what would I major in. I attended an excellent college-prep high school and received several scholarship offers to attend college. But after three years of it, I was burnt out from school, I wanted to make drastic changes in my life, and attending college was not a priority to me anymore. That's my background. I have now returned to college, and wish that I had never wasted three years before I was ready to be there. I returned with a renewed enthusiasm for learning and have managed to learn more and do better than I did in the past, all while enjoying it more than I ever imagined. And I did it while working full-time. I know many people who won't date those who don't have their degrees for a myriad of reasons. They claim that people who don't have a degree and less intelligent, less ambitious than those who go to college. They might claim that those who don't attend college are insular, uninterested in the world, cloistered and without worldly knowledge. Not well-read, intellectually curious and others are among the reasons for not dating the expensively educated. What will change about me next week when I receive my BA? Was there a time when I was less intelligent that I am now? Was there a time when I wasn't curious about the world and did not strive to gain knowledge the way I will after I have a degree? The answer, the only thing that will have changed is that I will have a piece of paper with my name on it, and I have gained a bit of knowledge about the field of psychology. Prospective employers may look at me a little differently now, but I don't think that many prospective dates should look at me any differently. I always read and thought and sought. I had stumbling blocks in the road to getting my degree, but I am so glad that was the case, because I got so much more out from choosing to be in school my last two years going part-time than I ever did going full-time as a teenager who was forced to be there. There are many reasons people don't go to college, many don't have the opportunity to do so, or they are just not interesting in gaining the knowledge that they are spoon-fed; they want to do it themselves. I won't date someone who isn't intellectually curious, who doesn't like attaining knowledge. But I don't think that a degree says that about me, and I don't think a degree says it about anyone I date. I think a degree is an external like kippa color that is very easy information to obtain, but says little about who a person really is. So even though it really does mean a lot to me that I will have that degree next week, I don't think it has changed me to any extensive degree. And someone who won't date me this week, shouldn't bother trying to date me next week either.

Friday, May 06, 2005


Sorry I haven't been posting so much lately, but I have been swamped at work and am preparing for finals, so I haven't had a moment to blog, or even read other blogs. I wanted to post further about about the importance of questioning things. I have a real problem when people say that you shouldn't question. And I have heard it a lot, which concerns me greatly. I think those who say you shouldn't question things, say it because they don't know the answers. But just because they don't know the answer, doesn't mean that there isn't an answer and it doesn't mean that it is not worthwhile to seek it. Someone told me recently that they were told that yeshivas were telling their students that those who question the Torah will go off the derech, and so you shouldn't question at all. That really bothers me. To me, using that kind of excuse as a reason to not question limits the power of the Torah. Whoever was saying that is sending the message that Torah can stand up to being questioned, it is not a strong enough force to withstand the questions, and that there are no answers. The problem with that is that Torah is something you base your entire being around. And to base your entire being around something that can't withstand being questioned is to say that it is not worth revolving your life around it. This is the same problem I have with the whole Slifkin issue - if Torah can't stand up to scientific evidence, and the suggestion is that you not look at the evidence, but to go back several hundred years and block out what is happening in the world is to say that there is no answer, that Torah can't go be held up to current research. And why would I want to live my life based on something that can't possibly stand up to modern science? If Hashem really is all-powerful, then He is also giving us these modern breakthroughs in technology, and His Torah will endure. I have had people in the past tell me to stop questioning things I don't understand about Torah and focus on more immediate concerns, things that effect me on a day to day basis, rather than more intellectual questions that may not come into play every day. And to me, that is sweeping aside the fact that the person I am asking just doesn't know the answer right then. I think every question I have about Torah is important, because the concept in general is what I base my every day approach to life on. And maybe I won't ever be able to completely understand everything, but I think it is important to try. I recently was corresponding with someone and the question came up about whether he was shomer shabbos. His reply was that he wasn't sure whether he was shomer shabbos or not. Because he doesn't know enough to know whether he is. I was blown away at such an honest approach to it. Because I have seen many who take for granted that they are shomer shabbos do things that are against halacha, because they didn't know the law. They didn't ever bother to really ask, what is keeping shabbos? The questions are so important, and to imply that any shouldn't be asked is scary. I hope that I never accept that I shouldn't question things as an answer.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Who Is Different From You?

I read a really interesting article in the Baltimore Jewish Times over Pesach. It was from a few weeks ago, and unfortunately I couldn't find the link, but I will try to summarize it because it told such a poignant story. The author of the article set the stage by describing a night a few weeks ago when two side-by-side shuls, one Orthodox, one Reform, had events on the same night. The event at the Reform shul was for high school students, I don't remember exactly what the topic was. However, at some point during the evening, the question was asked to the students, "Who are you different from? What groups of people are NOT like you?" The first answer from the high school students was "Orthodox Jews." Other answers followed, including "Arabs," "homosexuals," "goths," and others. How sad. These Jewish teenagers, who live in the same neighborhoods, shop at the same stores, and pass by each other on a daily basis, to the point of worshipping next door to one another, see themselves as different from each other as Jews and Arabs. It is so sad to me because I don't think it has to be that way. I have to admit that I didn't have the same challenges growing up; the Jewish communities I lived in were so small that everyone was close. Heck, most of everyone was related. Our youth groups weren't separated by synagogue, because there weren't enough members to go around. There was only one day school, because even one could barely sustain enough enrollment to stay open. So all the Jews mingles, whether Reform, Conservative, or Orthodox. Really, we mingled quite well with non-Jews also, because only a few went to the all-Jewish school, and there was no Jewish high school anyway. Which is why I find it tragic that a community that could be so strong and vibrant if everyone worked together, finds itself fragmented by different factions within the Jewish community. I think it is so sad that Reform Jewish teenagers see Orthodox Jewish teenagers as so different from themselves. And I have a feeling if the question had been asked of Orthodox teenagers, the answer would have been quite similar. I think we need to work harder on bringing all Jews together, on teaching our children to love ALL Jews, no matter what they wear or eat. I think activities where all Jews work together to benefit the community, as a whole, should be emphasized. I think we could learn so much from each other, and we are greatly missing out. A community is always stronger as a whole than in parts - I think it is time to work towards making that happen.

Monday, May 02, 2005


I have been thinking a lot lately about parenting. Obviously, this is not something that I have any kind of first-hand experience with, but I do hope to someday, and it is something that I think should be taken very seriously. For a while, I was having a hard time with the idea of ever having children. The thought of it was just overwhelming. I kept telling myself that the thought was overwhelming because I am not currently in the position to be able to support children - I work full-time and go to school, support myself completely. It would be incredibly difficult to work taking care of a child into that mix, especially without the help of a spouse. Because I am not in a situation that fosters having children, I was having a hard time even imagining being in one. And it made me scared to even think about having children, in contrast to many of my friends who can't wait to have babies. But over the past couple months, a few of my friends have had new babies that I have just fallen in love with. And then I spent a lot of Pesach playing with the grandchildren of a family I am close with, and absolutely enjoyed every minute of it. Suddenly, I could once again see myself as a mother, could see myself nurturing a child. And suddenly I was looking forward to someday having children (obviously when other circumstances work themselves out). But then I keep getting incredibly frustrated with my parents, who don't even realize what damage they do a lot of the time. And I was listening to someone else talk about some of their problems with their parents. And I realized, there are a lot of BAD parents out there. Now, I know they didn't realize they would be bad parents when they had children, or maybe they weren't thinking that much about it at all. But a lot of people really do a lot of harm to their children - for many different reasons. So why should everyone have the opportunity to screw up their offspring? I wonder about the commandment for every man to have children - should they really? If a person is selfish, or immature, or completely irresponsible - should they really have kids who will then bear the brunt of their parent's shortcomings? And how does one know if they will be a good parent or not? It is such a complicated subject, I certainly don't have many answers. But I wonder about it a lot, why people have to have a license to go fishing but can bring a new human life into the world without any kind of permission from anyone (not that I have any idea who should do the granting of permission, that seems a scary topic that I wouldn't even want to start into). I will say that I have witnessed many wonderful families, who I really believe are teaching their children to be good people, and to care about those around them, so not all parenting goes awry. So, now I am stuck between knowing how to balance all the harm you can do to your children, and the good you can do to them. And how do you know beforehand which way it will go? It is a scary prospect.