Who here has seen that video of Mr. Rogers making a speech to congress back in the '60s? If you haven't, you should.
If you aren't going to, here's a highlight of the lyrics he quotes from one of his songs:
It’s great to be able to stop, when you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong, and be able to do something else instead, and think this song:
"I can stop when I want to, can stop when I wish. I can stop, stop, stop any time. And what a good feeling to feel like this, and know that the feeling is really mine."
As I sat in Kol Nidre, the service on the evening that kicks off the Jewish Holiday Yom Kippur, I was thinking about this quote. Probably because I just watched the documentary about him, but also it was very fitting. The concept of Yom Kippur is all about atonement. It's about apologizing and asking for forgiveness for the past year, and beginning the new year with a clean slate.
With a 3.5 year old in the family, we're dealing with some big feelings in our house. Exerting control. Pushing boundaries. Testing. And often when the day has started off on the wrong foot - with a lot of whining or fighting - we try to pause and give ourselves a chance to start over. We're quite lucky that when Ari gets angry and overwhelmed, he warns us "I'm going to hit you!" instead of actually hitting us, and it gives us a chance to use words and try to help him calm down and think.
Wouldn't it be great if we could always just pause and think before we acted in a way that could be harmful to others or ourselves. If our moods never took control of our minds, and it was easy to distinguish between what's wrong and what's right. But our lives are not so black and white. Something may be right for you and wrong for someone else. We don't always know something is wrong before we do it. We don't always have control over our feelings and don't always behave in a way that makes us proud.
But whether it's Yom Kippur, the start of a new year, a new day, or just deciding to start over, we do always have the ability to change our minds. And "what a good feeling to feel like this, and know that the feeling is really mine."