Excerpt from Kosher Parenting

Love lessons

At some time in your child's life, he or she will experience a broken heart. It undoubtedly will be devastating. As we can all recall, the emotional pain can actually manifest itself physically with a feeling of being sick in the pit of the stomach. A wave of emotions comes to the surface: pain, humiliation, betrayal, anger, confusion, helplessness -- the list can go on. Ultimately, the experience can be a lesson learned, or result in permanent scars that forever impact future relationships.

The Talmud tells us that one is required to make a blessing over bad things as well as over the good, the assumption being that whatever happens to us in life is in some way ordained by God, who can only do good. We human beings who have finite vision often can't see the long-term good in a short-term problem. But, from a theological perspective, whatever God does is, from the aspect of eternity, good. There is a popular country song sung by Garth Brooks called "Unanswered Prayer," which suggests that God sometimes does not answer our supplications because He knows, from His vantage point, it is at times better for us if our desires are not always met.

Your support, compassion, and guidance can help your child through heartache and on to a greater wisdom.

Allow me to relate a personal story...

In ninth grade I dated a wonderful girl named Linda Sue from the Bronx. Living in Mt. Vernon, I regularly traveled the subway to visit her. Frankly, I thought I would marry her, for even at 14 years old, I dated seriously.

Understand, of course, that this was in the 1950s, and dating then was not what it is now. There was an innocence to our relationship, which predated the morally chaotic and promiscuous teenage world of today.

After a number of months, I thought I would surprise Linda Sue by visiting her unannounced on a Sunday afternoon. After an hour train ride, I bounded up the street to her apartment building, knocked on her door, anticipating a welcome smile. To my surprise and profound disappointment, she was with another guy. She told me that she enjoyed our friendship, but that now she was involved with someone else.

I remember that I was so overcome with emotion that I couldn't say much. I simply turned around and walked slowly to the subway. It was the longest subway ride of my life. Tears welled up in my eyes, for I saw the future crumbling before me. It took me weeks to recover my emotional equilibrium.

Looking at this episode of teenage angst and heartbreak forty years later, I understand how God is kind to us, even though we often do not know it. I managed to overcome this sad time in my life, and over the years defined myself as a person quite differently from the fourteen-year-old who cried after his breakup with Linda Sue. I married, had a family, and pursued a career of teaching and learning that I never even thought about as a teenager.

Recently, I had an opportunity to counsel a young man, whose girlfriend had recently rejected him. The young man was devastated, and I told him my story of Linda Sue. Be patient, be strong, and be resilient, I told him. These qualities will enable you to triumph over temporary adversities, and enable you to see life from the aspect of eternity, not from the moment.

Tell your kids that whenever we suffer pain of any kind, we should look at the big picture of life and find the message in the misery.