He’s a fiftysomething father of a son, 29, and a daughter, 26, lives in the Northeast with his wife of 30 years, and runs a highly respected professional services firm.
Am I grateful for you? Yes. I’m grateful that you’re both, like me, interested in politics, history, movies and sports. I’m also grateful that, like me, you root for the Mets and the Jets, however pathetic those teams may be. More important, I’m grateful that we all wear our love of Israel and Judaism on your sleeves. And I’m especially grateful that you have both grown up to be kind, intelligent, hard-working adults.
But I am also ungrateful. Ungrateful that time has moved so quickly. I feel bad that you both live so far away. I’ve always lived within 15 minutes of my boyhood home.
Still, let me say this. I’ve always felt grateful for the ideals my parents tried to instill in me. And when it was my turn to have children, I wanted to share the values that I learned with you. And I believe it was beneficial for you both to witness the relationship your mother and I had with our parents.
Let me confess something you both already know: I am hardly what you would call an effusive person. I am no John Boehner, Ed Muskie or Jack Paar, crying at every opportunity. In fact, I doubt my tear ducts function. If you ever heard me gush, you would probably be uncomfortable. But when it comes to being grateful for my children or anything else, this I believe. Actions speak louder than words.
I’m grateful that like me, you both adhere to the philosophy known as L’dor v’dor. That Hebrew phrase, used in both prayer and friendly conversation, translates to “from generation to generation.” It also means we’re responsible for more than ourselves. We’re also responsible for others, especially for those younger.
As you know, my father joins us every Friday night for a Shabbos meal. Most of those dinners, in between eating challah and drinking wine, feature classic debates about politics, history and sports. I know my father is grateful that I respect his values, that I’ve tried to live those values every day, and that I’ve tried to pass those values on to you. My hope is you will follow our lead, joyfully, when you have children of your own.