Are You Insecure?
Dear Rabbi: My family very much enjoyed being at your Shabbat table, thanks again for the invite. I meant to ask you a question that has bothered me for years. It’s about prayer. Does G-d have such an ego problem that he demands his creations to pray to him 3 times a day, telling him how great he is?
We loved having your wonderful family over. You should be very proud of them all.
But one thing disturbed me. Your children behaved really well, but I am a little concerned about your wife.
Every time your wife gave your son anything, like a piece of chicken, a drink, or a toy to play with, she insisted that he say thank you to her.
Your son acquiesced, and each time she told him to, he said thank you. This went on throughout the meal, at least a dozen times.
This is a worry. Is your wife so insecure that she needs her son to constantly acknowledge her? Is it normal to almost force someone to thank you, for even basic needs like food and drink, just to build up your own ego?
I think you get my point…
Your wife was being an exemplary mother, teaching her children gratitude and humility. When you are given something, big or small, you must acknowledge the giver. Her request to be thanked was not for herself, it was for her children. She got nothing out of her son’s thanks, other than the pride in seeing her child developing his character. But your son was learning a precious lesson.
G-d trains us to thank Him, like a devoted parent who wants the best for His children. He doesn’t need our thanks as much as we need to thank Him. Because everything we have, including life itself, is a gift. The minute we forget that, the minute we take even the simplest pleasures for granted, we stop living a life of wonder.
Parents who do not impart the trait of appreciation to their children are not only making life difficult for themselves, they are robbing their children of a basic tool for life. Only when I see everything as a gift, can I be happy with what I have rather than miserable about what I don’t have.
So we should thank G-d for everything, even for asking us to thank Him. Gratitude is a gift too!
Adapted from Chabad.org with permission