Loren Filson Lapidus is an associate rabbi at The Temple in Atlanta, GA. She is the mother of Hadara and wife of Micah Lapidus. She writes:
“After one year of motherhood, here are the lessons I hope to instill in my daughter (and pass along to the youth I work with, too)…all of them are lessons Hadara has taught me as well.
1. Be your authentic self: as the Dr. Seuss quote in Hadara’s bedroom says, ‘There is no one who is you-er than you!” I hope that you will always have confidence, and not arrogance, in yourself. Don’t let others convince you to be someone you’re not.
2. Be a mensch: No one really cares (after a time) what grades you’ve received or how many awards you’ve won. We want you to be successful, but always remember that it is most important to have a good soul. How you treat people, regardless of whether you know them, is the measure of your goodness. I was horrified to discover one day that Hadara stole a classmate’s pacifier! While I was relieved to discover that others do this more often, it reminded me that we as parents have a responsibility to help you discover this goodness and capacity to care for others—even before you’re a year old!
3. You are loved: Every day, hour, and minute! Even if we are not together all day, I think about you and love you. We are blessed with family and friends and a tremendously loving Jewish community. As you go through this world, you are never alone.
4. There is never enough—never enough time, never enough energy, never enough money, never enough! Therefore, enjoy what you have and try to live each day to its fullest. The measure of a day is whether you can go to sleep with few regrets. Live each day with meaning and integrity, and focus on the many blessings in your life.
5. Even if I can’t fix your problems, I love you and am here to listen: Right now, your problems are easy ones to address. With each year, there will be more things outside of my control (and often outside of your control, too). I already am sad to think of the times you will hurt and I cannot make it better. Know, though, that I am here. The love and support I offer you is the unconditional caring of a parent—no matter what life brings, your father and I are here to listen.”