Library: Parenting
Parenting Articles by Chana Weisberg

First Snow

In the Canadian winter, it snows. And snows. And snows.

Yet, no matter how much snow we get, for my children, the initial snowfall is always the most enthralling. Almost magical.

This morning was our first snow storm of the season. We woke up engulfed in layers upon layers of white stuff. Snow covered the roads; it coated our porch; and it blanketed our front steps. It left a thick film of fluffy whiteness over the street lamps, the rooftops of neighboring houses and the naked trees.

My children, as if on cue, woke up eagerly to greet this new winter wonderland. Gazing out our front window, they were impatient to get outside.

"It's really too cold out there. Maybe, later," I responded to their repeated pleas.

"We'll bundle up," they stubbornly insisted. And even the youngest, who usually requires some assistance, dressed himself instantly, adorned in a scarf, hat, gloves and boots according to my exact specifications.

I glanced at the snow and I wanted to crawl back under my warm covers. My children saw it, and were enchanted by its allure.

To me, the snow was cold and frigid. To them, it was exhilarating.

To me it signaled winter's arrival and, of necessity, would have to be dealt with. To them, it was a new and invigorating environment filled with vast potential for fun and vivacity.

To me, the snow was burdensome, cumbersome. To them, it was something to experience, to feel, touch, handle and manipulate.

To me, it implied the chores of shoveling, the urgency of finding the right partner for each boot and glove. To them, it meant the opportunity to create new forms, to mold new shapes. It presented a whole world of innovation.

I tried hard to remember back to the time when I, too, looked at snow with the ardent anticipation that my children did. I tried to rejuvenate my own perspective by reflecting on their attitude to snow, and by extension, to life, in general.

I thought of how our soul wakes up every morning, at the crack of dawn, refreshed and enthusiastic to begin its new day. It, like my children, passionately waits to get its hands involved with the work of our world. Zealously, it anticipates getting busy molding creation, touching and experiencing the many facets and aspects of our world to make it a better place.

It is ablaze with impatience to pray fervently, to study Torah intensely, to extend itself in doing a favor or sharing a smile of encouragement.

Our experienced and jaded self, though, complains to the soul: It's too cold, it's too cumbersome. Maybe we'll pray or study or do an act of kindness later. We'd rather get back under our covers.

Gradually, we deal with what needs to be taken care of, but out of necessity. Do we merely shovel it away? Have we forgotten the magic, the childlike joy and excitement in the process?

After some time outdoors, my children came back inside. Seated around the kitchen table, they warmed their frozen fingers and defrosted their bright, red cheeks while nibbling on snacks and sipping hot chocolate. Each one enthusiastically described all the shapes and forms he or she created.

We sat like that not more than fifteen minutes, resting and enjoying the warmth of each other's company, when, to my chagrin, my youngest child unexpectedly asked: "Can we go back outside again, now?"

Chana_Weisberg is the author of three_books on the lives of Biblical women and on the feminine soul. She is the dean of the JRCC Institute of Torah Study in Toronto and lectures worldwide on issues relating to women, relationships and mysticism.