It's truly incredible how fast time flies. Today we celebrated my 5 year old son's birthday. It was an incredible day, mostly because of my oldest, 11 year old daughter. She happened to be home this week, attending her classes on zoom. She really cares about her brothers and tries to make their birthdays special. Today was no different. She decorated a blank t-shirt for him as well as baked a cake in the shape of his favorite Numberblock character (it's a fantastic math show). She was incredible. I didn't mind her taking off class today, she made her brother so happy, doing fun things with him all day - especially since he's been home sick all week.
Aside from the creativity she showed - what I saw was my oldest, growing up - and doing something that unfortunately many adults cannot do... celebrating without jealousy with another person. She focused herself completely on the task of making her little brother happy, doing things he wanted to do - and she was incredibly successful. He had a wonderful day, and I am so grateful.
There are at least two lessons to be learned here. First, I think is that empathy is something that must be taught if a child isn't naturally inclined to be empathetic. It's not simple. My daughter comes to it naturally, but it needs to be nurtured in every child. Second, to enjoy without jealousy someone else's life successes, life events, career successes - anything positive going on in someone else's life. I think that many times, it's easy to say - how come that amazing thing happened for them, but not for me? That may be a natural response in some ways, but we have to remember that we aren't in charge, and that perhaps what G-d gave to another person isn't appropriate for us, and that we don't generally have the bigger picture available to us. Also not simple.
So heading into the new year, while I'm not a fan of resolutions - I will try my best to be genuinely happy for my family and friends who are successful in whatever they are doing. Even small gestures mean a lot. A small chocolate bar with a drawn heart - goes a long way in showing your encouragement and happiness for them.
I wish you all a year ahead full of good health and happiness.