Weber Middle School, in Long Island, has banned football, baseball, and games of tag during recess to prevent students from getting hurt. When asked why, school officials responded that “too many students have gotten bumps, scrapes and head injuries.” What?! You might be thinking. What is this world coming to that kids aren't even allowed to get some bumps once in a while? This brings to mind the title of the book by Wendy Mogel The Blessing of a Skinned Knee. One concept she stresses in her book is the importance of exeperiencing failure for the growth of our children.
Why do many of our children fall apart when faced with difficulty? One reason is that they believe that life will always be easy and therefore are not prepared when life is hard, or when they hit some “bumps” or “bruises” along the road. Louis Brandeis once said, “If you would only recognize that life is hard, things would be so much easier for you.”
The parshiot we have been reading these past weeks describe the many bumps that Yaakov Avinu had in his life. Beginning with the need to run away from home and his fear of Eisav and culminating in his “loss” of Yosef, how much harder could his life get? Yaakov had this feeling as well, just wishing that life would be easier for him. The Midrash in Bereishit Rabbi 84:3 states