The Seasons of Life
By Nachum Mohl
There is nothing as natural as the seasons of the year: summer, fall winter, and spring. We accept that although it is hot in the summer, we know that in the winter it will be cold and conversely, in the winter when it is cold we know that the next coming summer will bring warm weather. We are aware of the fall when the leaves begin to fall off from the trees and the spring when the leaves and flowers begin to grow. We know that they come and that they will pass.
Life is like the seasons: there is a spring, a summer a fall and a winter of life. And the cycle repeats and repeats.
First we are children and we eventually grow up and mature. We marry and enjoy the beginning of a new life, a life of intimacy and sharing. Then we produce our fruits, we have children. Like a garden, we raise them to grow up good and strong, to be in good health and in good spirits. Then finally after going through various stages, we watch our children eventually grow up, mature, and like us before them, they, too, go out a find their mates and leave us, just as we, too, left our parents. They have their new married life together and have begun having children and we begin to grow old and wither with old age, like our parents did. Such is the natural cycle of life.
It takes time to realize that this is natural, that this is normal. This is the cycle of life; this is the way G-d planned it for us. The smart ones amongst us know it and enjoy our time when we have the merit to raise the children and see them grow into a viable person. Those with less vision will eventually and unfortunately learn this lesson when it is too late.
There is nothing as exciting as getting married. Getting married means coming into your own; it means leaving the parents' nest and building your own. Getting married is possibly the most joyous time for a couple; it is at this time that they begin to enjoy life together. It is the time of bonding, the time of being 'one'. Before the family expands; before children come, there is that glorious time of being together and simply enjoying life together with your mate. Just the two alone and together, sharing in the activities and exploring in depth each other's separate personality and bringing it into the intimate relationship that forges and bond of love and harmonious living that give strength to the relationship when the difficult and hard time come.
Soon there is a child, and perhaps and second and a third. Each child brings new joy and new depth to the family; each new child blends in to the family changing the makeup like a new ingredient adds to the mixture. Each child is a gift from G-d to the parents; each child brings a unique personality and happiness to the family.
G-d has given you the ability to go with nature, to be one with life, to find your mate and live and happy life together. He has given you the distinct honor of raising a new generation of people who will carry on the traditions of family, of love and of intimacy.
There is nothing that equals the joy of watching your new child begin to walk, of hearing his first words. What pleasure compares to taking your child to the playground and to the park and enjoying the day with him? This is a pleasure that G-d gave to you for being so kind as to continuing the tradition of having a family. Can any television program give the same enjoyment as reading a story to a young child? If you were to take all the Hollywood films on one scale and your own child on the other, is there any doubt that raising this child will provide more pleasure, more enjoyment, and more lasting love than anything that Hollywood can produce?
What could give more of a thrill than taking your child to his first school class? Watching him develop intellectually, giving him help to overcome his obstacles. We grow old silently and before we know it, our child is a person, self dependent, able to earn money, able to live a life with another person. He finds his mate and moves on.
It comes to soon our inability to reproduce. It comes when our children mature and form their own families. Like seeds falling off the trees to reproduce their own kind, so it is with us. As our children marry and begin to procreate, we enter into our last phase. We are grandparents. It comes too soon, too early. We are not ready to give up being parents but we must; it is the way of nature that the new generation should continue in our way.
Too late we realize that it would have been so much better if we just had more children. Perhaps we worried if we could afford more children. Maybe we thought it was better to have a few children and give them quality time. When we look back, we realize that we could have had another and we are saddened by the thought that we didn't.
Children are beautiful; they are the spice of life that makes it all worth while. Life is with children, life is family. Families that grow together are happy people, loving people, they are the lucky ones; the unfortunate ones are those without family, the unfortunate ones are on their own.
While we are young is the natural time for having children; it is the spring of our life. When autumn comes it is too late for fruit, the season is over. Life goes with nature. It is natural to have children; children are fun, children are G-d's gift to us. He allows us to participate in creation and to participate in its enjoyment.
Those people who choose to leave a life devoid of families are not just foolish, but they deprive themselves of a basic pleasure. In a world of plastic pleasures, of passing entertainment of little value, having a family, especially a large family is a return to nature and to the real pleasures of life. In a world where a soft drink company who peddles its artificially flavored, sugar sweetened beverage as 'the real thing' know that the real thing is having a family. The real pleasure is seeing your children develop into parents and having their own little toddlers running around, exploring their 'new' world.
If I could give one world of advice to you, it would be to have another and another again. Children are G-d's gift of pleasure for us to enjoy while we can.
from the October-November 2009 Edition of the Jewish Magazine