Have You Kissed Your Children Today?…asks Rabbi Laibl Wolf

May 29, 2014 by Rabbi Laibl Wolf
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I read a very cute response on my Facebook profile directed to an angry spiteful blogger. “I see you have a child.  Just go and kiss it goodnight.” I thought of that good advice again after watching the cold, calculating, self-titillating, ‘video-selfie’ by the deranged Elliot Roger who murdered six and wounded many others, on the Santa Barbara campus in USA.

 

Rabbi Laibl Wolf

Rabbi Laibl Wolf

The media has described Roger as being unloved. I think they hit on a real home-truth – but not the way they euphemistically used the term ‘unloved’ – meaning, the rejection he experienced from his failed his sexual advances.  I interpret ‘unloved’ quite literally and deeply, and strongly believe that many of the world’s ills, geo-political or interpersonal, arise from not being truly loved.

What is the singularly most important catalyst for maturity, balance and readiness to contribute to others and society?  What allows a child or adult to experience a sense of purpose and to envision a positive future in an evolving world? What imbues a child or adult with self-esteem and self worth? What is the panacea to the savagery and hate that infects politics, relationships, and communities?

We are taught in the Kabbala that the primary ‘energy’ of the world is Hessed – kindness, compassion, sharing, and contribution. When a human being exhibits these traits he/she is emulating the paradigm of creation, as well as successfully surfing the wave of future. When, however, the motivation is fear and insecurity, the inverted response causes others pain, dislocation and adoption of a posture of defensiveness.

Hessed is not however a default human trait. It needs early life modeling and repeated practice. Who provides that training and modeling if not parents, and to a lesser extent the extended family and those teachers who are looked up to?

The goal is to allow the emergent human life to recognize its significance and worthiness of the gift of life. There is no more powerful a factor imbuing a child with self-esteem, than making it feel loved. Because to be loved means to feel worthy of being loved.  It feels special, unique and is endowed with a giftedness it can then share with others.

To kiss your child at least once a day is the best recipe for your child happiness and the future of the world.  The resulting positive self-definition translates into all inter-personal relations, including romance, business, family and society.

When Elliot Roger coolly but caustically described his failure in ‘love’ and gave vent to his silent rage and jealousy of those who experience ‘love’, I thought of that insightful advice on Facebook – go and kiss your child goodnight. I suspect that the angry blogger father is very likely producing angry blogger children!

The revered Lubavitcher Rebbe once observed that a scratch on a sapling would become a major defect as a fully-grown tree. Your child is a sapling. Give it love and affection and it will grow into a mature loving adult.

The macro-ills of society would be remarkably diminished if, at a micro-level, all of us extended profound deep love to each other. Elliot Roger was not just a virgin – he was not truly loved.  Therefore he didn’t know anything about loving others.  All he knew was that it involved sex and he had been rejected and deprived. He interpreted this as being ‘unloved’. In truth, he probably was.

Have you kissed your children today?

Rabbi Laibl Wolf is the Dean of  Spiritgrow – The Josef Kryss Center, Australia

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