THE CHILD I PRAYED FOR
Parashat ShlachÂ Josh,Â
a yeshiva student I was coaching, whose parents gotten divorced, feared getting married and staying married. The high rate of divorce of children whose parents got divorced frightened him. Throughout the coaching process, he made a graph of percentages, to depict the chance he had for entering into a happy, lasting marriage. Â As a result of the coaching session we had, he realized that the figures citing high divorce rates for children from broken marriages were in no way conclusive; the study focused on children from broken homes, but did not include those who were committed to being persistent on self improvement and working on their own marriages. It did not address those marriages in which the husband was dedicated to improving on what it takes to be the best possible partner. Communication. Responsibility. Trust. And to be a supportive, caring and loving husband. Josh and I discussed the fact that it is self development, not age, which decides when a person is ready for marriage. If Josh was committed, he could overcome his “ratings”, and make it work. Still, I told him, it does not depend solely on self development. I told him the following story.
A certain father that I was coaching told me about his oldest son, who stopped being observant , while his other children all remained religious. â€œMy oldest aced every class. He was the type of kid that did everything right. He was responsible, successful. He was such a star that I didn’t even think of praying for his success. The others were â€œregular kidsâ€. Therefore, I poured out my heart to G-d, praying that they be committed to their religion and successful in life. And then, due to the strangest circumstances, my son found himself kicked out of yeshiva. Not long after, I found him, without a yarmulke.â€
Before sending the spies, Moshe prayed thatÂ Yehoshua, his faithful student, not fall in the plot the spies schemed. He added the letter Yud to his original name, altering the name from Hoshea to Yehushua. This extra letter, was a prayer, May Hashem save you from the plot of the spies.
Moshe did not pray for any of the other spies. Why, then, did he pray for Yehushua? The answer is because Yehoshua was from the tribe of Efraim, who were descendents of Yosef. Yosef had a habit of bringing bad reports of his brothers to his father, Yaakov. Moshe was afraid that Yehoshua, specifically, would be the spy to return with the negative report, due to his inborn trait from his ancestor. As he was Mosheâ€™s faithful student, his words would carry much weight. Therefore, Moshe prayed for Yehoshua, not for the rest.
There are three secrets to successful parenting. Pray, Pray and Pray. Of course, there are parenting techniques, and they are important. However, when things get out of hand, beyond their control, all parents can do is pray to G-d to watch over their child. Raising stable children is much more difficult today than it was even 15 years ago. Ask parents who have large families, and they will tell you of staggering tests and trials that faced the younger children, but were non-existent in the days of the older ones.Â Our future and the future of our children is in G-dâ€™s hands.Â We need Him. We need Him to watch over us, so we need to pray.
If we pray for a successful marriage, we have a better chance at having one. Just by being aware of our shortcomings, we can work on them; but we need G-dâ€™s help to overcome our negative habits and weaknesses. If we are committed, and if we pray, then the chance of divorce will decrease significantly.