Friday, September 07, 2012

Can You Ever Go Home Again?

A couple days ago, I was showing someone in San Francisco JSL's newest (top secret) project. He liked the project, but out of the blue asked me the following question:

Why do you do what you do?

My answer is simple: I get to speak with (or communicate in writing with) highly intelligent people about interesting, meaningful things - greatest job in the world.

So here's one such topic for your Shabbat table that we discussed in San Francisco. It begins with a question:

Have you ever gone back to a town, maybe your hometown, after having been gone for a long time? What was it like?
Probably you were amazed by all the changes.

Similar question (for adults): Did you ever see someone as an adult that you'd last seen as a child? What was it like?

Why is it so amazing to see these changes after big gaps of time, but for the town we live in, or the children we see every day, the changes are not so amazing?

I'm sure you'll get various answers to this question and there is no need for me to add my 2-bits. But if you care to hear it, here's my take:

When we see a person or a place every day, the changes are so small and incremental that we hardly notice them, and then we grow accustomed to them and gradually forget how they used to be, how the town used to look.

One building built here, one facade changed there. Slowly, slowly.

But then there's the second question for your table:

Have you ever seen someone after 10 or 20 years or more, and they didn't seem to have changed at all? Same personality, same bad jokes, you know what I mean?

The purpose of this life is to grow and to change (for the better). The third and forth questions for your table are:

- Do you want to be the same person 20 years from now that you are today, or do you want to be greater? More caring, more patient, more disciplined, more honest....?
- If so, how are you going to get there?

Next week, the final email before Rosh Hashana, I'll send some thoughts about how to use the High Holidays to make an incremental but real change in your life (in yourself) so that 20 years from now people who haven't seen you every day will do a double take.

Shabbat Shalom

PS - http://bestjewishkidsbooks.com has great Rosh Hashana books and gifts.
The iPhone app: http://tinyurl.com/amazingcalendarlink
Android version: http://tinyurl.com/amazingandroidcalendar

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