Friday, June 18, 2010

The Rite Stuff

Sorry this is late… I have a good excuse! Really!

This morning I passed one of my comprehensive exams for the Ph.D. It was the most challenging because it was in a field that I had least prior knowledge.

I'd been preparing for this exam for about a year, most actively the past three months. It was an oral exam, no notes, in front of two professors.

You would guess that I'm relieved.

You would be right.

But I'm not as relieved as my patient wife, who has had to put up with my relative inattention. So if anyone deserves a mazal-tov at this juncture, it is surely she! (tikva at jsli dot org)

(Wait til I get in dissertation mode - she doesn't know what she's got coming...)

Sometimes it feels like "life is a test."

If you ever feel like you're being tested and you're not a registered student, you might enjoy this gem of a book:

Life is a Test book

She's a great story teller and teaches how to re-frame each and every challenge as a test.

But all these little tests don't feel complete until graduation. Until you graduate, you haven't reached the finish line.

In the old days, graduation meant finishing 12th grade, then college, etc.

Nowadays, schools are building graduation ceremonies into every grade.

Our 6-year-old Yoseph, for instance, had his graduation ceremony this week - from Kindergarten. You should have seen it - cap-n-gown, procession, the whole works. And the boys sang 2 medleys, the first to show off what they'd learned in the Jewish part of the curriculum, the second to show off their achievements in "general studies".

Here are a couple photos:

Rites and rituals are so important to a feeling of accomplishment. Have you passed any tests or challenges recently that you were never recognized for? Please let me know so that I can help you fill this void, with all due pomp and circumstance.

Now here's the big question try asking this at your dinner table: What about the life tests that you did NOT pass? What to do?

(The crib-sheet answer: Every challenge is a "test", and if you failed it, that means you'll get it again, sooner or later. But the next time you get it, the challenge is slightly different: It will be, did you learn anything from the previous time? No? Back to school for you!)

Shabbat Shalom

“The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.” - Churchill

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