Vitamins for the Spirit
Inspiration, Wisdom and the Tools to Use Them
By Avi Shulman
Shaar Press - Distributed by Mesorah Publications, New York: 2000
Where do you dock a boat? We might imagine that the easiest place would be to dock a boat on a pier directly alongside the ocean. The boat would thus have easy access both to and from the port.
In practice, however, thats not where boats are docked. They are docked in a safe harbor. A safe harbor is a protected inlet of water enclosed on three sides by natural barriers or by man-made sea walls. The narrow opening into the safe harbor allows boats to enter, but keeps out rough winds and waves. The safe harbor is a calm and tranquil area that protects the boat from harsh ocean waves.
A boat can travel for days or weeks with its crew on 24-hour alert. At any time it can be buffeted by high winds, gales, and storms that can damage or even sink it. But the minute the boat enters a safe harbor, all concerns of the captain and crew are over. Here the boat floats safely, out of harms way.
Thats a pretty accurate description of how a child should feel when he opens the door to his home. The teacher may have insinuated that his work is less than desirable, a grade on a test may seem a harsh indictment, his friends may have mocked something he feels strongly about -- but all of these less-than-thrilling experiences disappear the moment he opens the front door. Home is a safe harbor. Home is where he doesnt have to be afraid of criticism, sarcasm, or an attack on his self-esteem.
Most important, home should be a place where a child feels comfortable to bring his friends, knowing that he will never be reprimanded in front of them. Notwithstanding the good intentions of parents, the child who is embarrassed in front of his peers could be deeply hurt. The incident might be remembered for years; the damage may last for decades.