When my daughter had a conflict with her religious school teacher, we were forced to decide between the easy status quo of sticking with what we had always done and everyone else did or thinking outside the box.
As a father, it is very important to me to raise my kids intentionally to help grow spirits that are confident, creative, curious and strong enough to follow their own soul rather than submit safely to what the majority does or an organization requires. I want to encourage them to question choices and forge their own journey that matches who they are. I also want my kids to know that they matter and they are important enough that we take their problems seriously and help them find a solution.
I was at a crossroads of whether to teach them that rules are made to be followed or we create our vision and life to match our dreams. This wasn’t college to learn knowledge or a skill for life. This wasn’t the law to understand and follow rules for a civilized society. This was our temple that I dreamed would blossom the spiritual nature and curiosity of my kids to provide a foundation for their religious identity.
We decided to move on. We searched for a new rabbi or cantor and involved our daughter in the process until she found someone she connected with. In the end, the entire year up until and including her Bat Mitzvah was one which we will never forget because we created an experience that matched who we were and what we needed. And my daughter saw that she mattered.