Friday, December 17, 2010


Happy Birthday to our daughter Devorah who turned 5 this week (on the Hebrew calendar).

Two questions for your table:

1. What's the single most effective way to motivate yourself, to get yourself to focus?
2. What's the single most effective way to motivate children?

I'll answer the second one first, with a story.

As you probably know, we got a bit of snow yesterday here in Bal-more.

Newly and proudly five-year-old Devorah is always the first child home from school.

She races in yesterday and blurts out, "Where's the snow shovel?" After a somewhat lengthy process of getting her fitted with boots, gloves and pink snow pants, she saunters outside and begins shoveling the walkway. No one asked her to do this. Her orange kiddy snow shovel is about 1/4 the size of a regular shovel. Try to picture this. After she finishes the walk, she lays down in the one inch of fresh powder to make an angel (takes one to make one?).

Where did she get this from?

Now, for question #1...

Sit down and write out - don't just think it or say it, actually write it out - what you hope they will say at your funeral.

Dream big. Pretend you were living at your fullest potential, and give yourself a long life (120 years, let's say).

Try presenting this challenge at your dinner table. People who are living for a meaningful life purpose are happier and more successful than everyone else around them.

If you find that exercise too morbid for the dinner table, try asking everyone to comment on these two quotes:

"If I have a why, I can suffer almost any how." - Nietzsche
"Better to go to a house of mourning than a house of feasting." - King Solomon

True or false?

Shabbat Shalom

PS - did you know that the JSL website has a list of recommended books for all types of readers? Click here:

PPS - I'm sure I mentioned my new iphone/ipod/ipad app, right? Now you can get it for a friend, even if you don't have an iphone/ipod/ipad...Here's the link:

The goal of this blog is to give you a conversation-starter for your Friday night dinner table. Please print and share.

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