First day of school? New sibling? Any inaugural occasion of some sort? Judaism has a tip for you:
Look for the good and celebrate it!
I know that a grateful heart is a critical ingredient to a happy and meaningful life, and Jewish text and tradition offers many paths towards that goal.
Shehechiyanu is a favorite bracha (blessing) of mine that plays a prominent role in my life as a single mom of three very tiny humans who are constantly celebrating new and different milestones.
Songleading with kids
The shehechiyanu blessing can be said liberally- upon the experience of something new- with one important caveat.
Blessed are you, God, creator of the universe…
who has granted us life and sustained us, and allowed/let us [to] arrive at this Time/Season.
We say it when a baby is born, when we see a friend who we haven’t seen for a long time, on holidays (it is that 3rd blessing you’ve heard folks say on the first night of chanukah), when something happens that is new or in a new context as long as it is something from which we draw pleasure. We don’t say it when something terrible happens, we don’t recite it at a bris (circumcision ceremony) or doing a task that inspires sadness.
Looking for a quick upgrade to your experience of nurturing young children?
The custom of recognizing and celebrating new things, milestones and achievements builds joy exponentially. I’ve found that this practice of noticing and describing what is new in precise language is an incredible opportunity to teach about developmentally appropriate expectations. This can encourage grown-ups to recognize that their children are constantly displaying new skills- often, I’m able to point out ‘milestones’ that the caregivers don’t realize are evidence of growth.
Songleading with adults
This song has built SO many amazing moments, and has been key to me being able to build relationships with children and families. Before singing, ask the community what is new, special and exciting. You will have to remember everything that people say so that you can “zip” it into the song. I HIGHLY suggest that after you sing this song, you make notes to include what the children and families share that is new and exciting, then you will be able to reflect on the growth each child has made i.e. “When we first started singing together, David was learning how to track movement with his eyes- in the past few months, he learned how to grasp an object, how to smiles, and how to roll over! Wow!” Or “Our friend Sarah was just beginning to identify object by pointing to pictures and sharing gestures when we first began jamming. We have watched her develop cognitive, social, verbal and motor skills- now she can communicate through pointing, gesturing, signing and speaking! Today, she identified a dog by name in our story book and used a phrase to communicate her needs by saying “up, mama” !”
[G]Hey hey, hey hey hey- [C9] We’ve got some[D] thing to say
[G] Hey hey, hey hey hey- [C9] Thank You God [C9] for this day
[G]Hey hey, hey hey hey- [C9] We’ve got some[D]thing to say
[G]Hey hey, hey hey hey- [C9] Thank You God [D] for this day [G]
[C9] Thank you for bringing us [D] to this season
[C9] It won’t be the last time, it’s the [D] first time for this reason _________________ (say what is happening, elicit reasons to say bracha from community……”so in Hebrew we will say….)
[G]Shehechiyanu [C9] v’kiy’manu [G] V’higiyanu [D] laz’man hazeh[G] (x2) Back to beginning