I watched my son gaze curiously at the wall of the synagogue; his eyes falling on a worn and tattered scroll behind a glass display.
We were visiting my parents’ synagogue during the first two two days of Passover, and my son wanted to learn more about the Torah, the hand-scribed scroll of the Old Testament, which hung on the wall. This particular Torah was desecrated by the Nazis during World War Two and was recovered by the Jewish people. This sacred object was very much a symbol of the resilience of my community and a source of pride for the synagogue.
My inquisitive four-year-old examined the tears and burnt markings and wanted to know what happened. He understood the Torah was usually kept in the Aron Kodesh, or holy cabinet, and is used during Jewish prayer service. He wanted to know why this particular Torah was behind glass.
My family spends much of our day outside, mostly to keep our two boys from climbing off the walls. On those days when the weather is too gross to be outdoors, I often turn to engaging experiments and projects to pass the time.
You don’t need much to spark the little scientist in your kid: just some objects you have around the house and some curiosity does the trick.
My family was journeying home for dinner one evening, when my husband complemented me on the ease in which I coaxed our son away from the local playground. Shortly before we had to leave, I informed my then two-year-old that he could choose one more activity and then it would be time to go. I even had a little ditty to express my point:
“It’s almost time to stop, so choose one more thing to do. That was fun, but now it’s done.”
Hearing that song prompted my son to pick his last activity (one more time on the slide, from what I can remember), and I successfully prevented the dreaded meltdown.
Where did I procure this genius gem of parenting know-how? From one of the dozens of books authored by experts with multiple degrees? Or perhaps from one of my trusted mom friends or family? Nope, this came straight from the tiger. “Daniel Tiger.”