Recently our rabbi and rebbetzin came from the US for a visit, and there was a get together on Saturday evening for former members of their shul to connect with them. I really, really, really wanted to be there. But there’s no way to get there from the northern part of the country via public transportation in time, so we (once again – they’ve done this every year) had to pass. Yes, I felt disappointed and even deprived of something important to me.
But! My oldest three kids who are in the country all independently decided they wanted to go. Ds14 spent Shabbos with dd17 so they’d be able to go together, and ds20 met them after Shabbos was over. I was so happy when I was sent a picture of the three of them with our rabbi.
Then the following day I got a lovely email from someone we haven’t seen since she and her family made aliyah six years ago. She wrote:
“Your children are AMAZING ambassadors for Mishpachat Werner.
I like them all — EACH — so much. I chatted briefly but substantively with each of them, and remembered why “Werner” means the same thing as “excellent midot.”
I had the pleasure of spending quality time with (one of them). What a remarkable young man! He has the ability to converse candidly and openly with “old wrinklies,” without coming off in any way as if he doing us a favor. He is truly interested in other people, and able to engage completely with whomever he is speaking. If he had any complaints about walking “miles and miles” to his accommodations, he surely doesn’t share them his hosts or us. And THEY also passed on that they were grateful I sent them such a lovely neshama.
Whatever I say isn’t enough. You should just be validated in the knowledge that (we) — who raised good boys — are impressed by the remarkable young people you raised.
Please tell them, when you think it appropriate: “Yalla! The Jewish nation needs leaders like you — so keep working toward your tafkid in Klal Yisrael, for the sake of Hashem’s holy project.” I am certain they have a very important role in leading our people — whatever that looks like for each of them.”
I’ve been told many nice things about my kids over the years. They’re genuinely wonderful human beings and I am very blessed to be their mother. But as nice as those things I’ve been told have been, I remember very few of the specifics of the majority of the comments as time has gone by. And so I was especially appreciative not just of the comments but that this lovely woman took the time to put them into writing, giving me an opportunity to look back on them in the future and be reminded of exactly what she said.
That same Shabbos that these kids were in Jerusalem so they could attend the Saturday night gathering, we hosted three seminary girls. One of them was one of my older girls first friends in the city in which we lived at the time – we met her when she was seven. It was so beautiful to see the young lady she’s grown up to be. I was planning to call her mother to share these thoughts with her, and then got the above email. Since I appreciated something in writing so much, I decided to write to her instead. It takes about one minute to tell someone verbally something nice and hopefully they’ll remember it but the conversation moves on and you don’t dwell on it. But you can read and reread a written message as much as you want.
So the moral of the story is, if you have something nice to tell someone, tell them! And if you can share your special compliments in a way that they can save them to savor for another time, it’s an additional gift.