The journey through the Wilderness of Life is filled with beauty and rife with obstacles.These are some of the lessons that I've learned on that journey. If you sometimes have difficulty seeing the beauty or traversing the obstacles then I wrote this for you.
One of the primary definitions of good mental health is what
the professionals call “affect tolerance”, simply, the ability to experience a
range of emotion without being compromised. The ability to feel a wide range of
emotions also ensures that we will feel emotions well. If I’ve never been sad
how happy could I possibly feel?
As most adults know we seldom experience only one emotion at
a time, rather we often experience a number of emotions at one time. And what
most adults also know is that one definition of maturity (as told to me by
Rabbi Noach Orlowek) is recognizing that the emotion I feel now is not the one
I will feel for the rest of my life.
Memorial Day is a great example of a day that ideally should
contain multiple emotions and it is a wonderful opportunity to both teach our
children the value of experiencing multiple emotions and at the same time teach
them about the value of the human lives that have been lost in the service of
the United States of America.
Photo Credit: U.S. Army
Since I was a child I cried at the National Anthem. For my
grandfather too this nation’s song was a trigger for tears. When I hear the
Anthem I think about how fortunate I am that my ancestors came to this country
and worked their fingers to the bone to make a life and that every day my
children and I benefit from that hard work. And then when the words “and the
rockets’ red glare” come forth I think about all of those men and women who,
throughout the generations, gave their lives for the ideals of our country
which I and my children benefit from every day.
On this Memorial Day my family is going for a hike, maybe we’ll
go watch airplanes at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, and we’ll have a BBQ
with my wife’s delicious hamburgers. We are also going to stand in silence for
one minute at 3:00pm and we are going to visit the military section of our
local cemetery. While there we will talk about the fact that the United States
is the Land of the Free because of the Brave.
My kids might see their
sentimental father cry a bit and while it’s not the most comfortable experience
for me it is important because they will see a model of someone who can
experience different emotions even at the same time in a healthy way.
I urge you to take this opportunity to both model good
mental health for your children and also teach them what Memorial Day is really